Recommendation Letter For Employee From A Manager (With Examples)

By Kristin Kizer - Jun. 9, 2022

Find a Job You Really Want In

Writing a recommendation letter for an employee can be a pretty big deal. This person trusts you enough to write good things to help them advance in their professional life.

As a manager or supervisor, you are able to give insight to their skills and talents. In this article, we will tell you how to write a perfect recommendation letter and provide examples.

Recommendation letter for employee from a manager with examples.

What is a Recommendation Letter?

A recommendation letter is a written message from someone that’s willing to say you’re a good employee, and can vouch for your skills and qualities as an employee. These letters can come from just about anyone, even sometimes people you don’t work with.

The terms reference letter and recommendation letter used interchangeably and that’s because they’re the same thing.

Some people who can write a recommendation letter an be former employers, professors, colleagues or mentors. If you want the letter to have more value though, it’s best to ask a manager or your boss for a recommendation letter.

How to Write a Recommendation for an Employee

If you’ve been asked to write a recommendation letter, it’s important to note that this is an official business letter. That means there is a standard, professional format that you’ll want to use. Follow this guide to see how to write a reference letter for an employee.

  1. Header. The top of the letter should be structured like any formal business letter. Add your contact information at the top, follow this with the date, then conclude the header with the recipient’s name, title, company name, and any contact information you have.

  2. Salutation. The easiest salutation is Dear followed by the recipient’s name. For example – Dear Jon Smith, and make sure there’s a comma after their name. If you don’t have a recipient’s name, then addressing it To Whom It May Concern, is fine also.

  3. Introductory Paragraph. Start the letter by explaining who you are and how you’re connected to the applicant. It’s also a good idea to state the intent of the letter, let them know right away that this letter is a recommendation letter.

  4. Specifics and the Recommendation in the Body. The body of the letter will be where you state why you’re recommending the applicant, list some of their good qualities, give examples, demonstrate how the employee did their job well.

  5. Closing. Finish the letter by volunteering to be available to answer any questions. Then, simply end with “Sincerely,” and give yourself room to sign your name, followed by your name typed out.

Recommendation Letter Example for an Employee

It’s a great idea to familiarize yourself with what a sample recommendation letter looks like so you know what yours might look like. This will help you determine what you think needs to be said to paint you in the best light. The following sample reference letter will help you get an idea of what you want.

Jane Doe, Floor Manager
Factory ABC
11 South 22nd St.
Cincinnati, OH 45208
(555) 123-4567

December 31, 2020

Jim Cast, Hiring Manager
Factory XYZ
22 South 11th Street
Cincinnati, OH 45208

Dear Jim Cast,

I am writing on behalf of Kelly Kid, who worked for me for five years at Factory ABC. As you may know, our factory recently closed and will be moving operations overseas. As we no longer have a position for Kelly, she is looking to work with your company.

I highly recommend Kelly for the management opening Factory XYZ has. Throughout her time at our company, Kelly always held herself in a professional manner and performed to the best of her ability. She was in line to become a manager at our company and I fully believe in her capability to do this position with success.

We’ve watched Kelly grow as an employee over the last several years, taking on added responsibilities when asked and eventually instigating them herself. She was an enthusiastic worker who inspired her teammates. Her success was demonstrated by consistently making production goals and extending safety records.

If you have any questions or you’d like to discuss Kelly’s qualifications and her duties while working with Factory ABC, I’d be happy to be available.


Jane Doe

Things to Consider When Writing a Recommendation Letter for Your Employee

As an ex-employer, about to write a recommendation letter, there are some tips to make it easier. These are not necessarily the easiest letters, so it’s good to keep the following in mind.

  1. Talk to the Employee Before Writing the Letter

    Don’t worry about trying to figure out what to say when you’re asked to write a recommendation letter. You can actually get most of the information from the employee and then use our samples below to fill in the letter.

    We’ll give you some starter questions to ask, but you will probably come up with some on your own. Don’t be surprised if your conversation sparks some new or different questions.

    • When do you need the letter?

    • Who are you applying to and for what position?

    • Do you have the name of the hiring manager or do you want a more generic letter?

    • What skills do you think are most important to the job you’re applying for?

    • What do you think is your strongest skill?

    • Were there any instances where you used that skill working for our company?

    • What do you think were your greatest accomplishments with our company?

    • What most interests you about the new job?

    • Why do you think you’ll be a good fit for this job?

    • Are there other traits you’d like to highlight?

  2. Look at Their Job Record

    You might also find that it’s helpful to reread your employee’s record with your company. There might be notations in there that you forgot, both good and bad. Similarly, if you weren’t their direct supervisor or didn’t work with them regularly, maybe you’d like to ask another co-worker if they can tell you more about the applicant’s work habits and successes.

  3. Tell the Truth

    It might be tempting to lie or exaggerate on a recommendation letter. Many people want to be helpful and stretch the truth a little in the process. Don’t do it. It’s best to be honest when writing a recommendation letter.

    A tricky situation can occur if you think the employee was actually not good at their job. Maybe you even think they were doing things to harm the company. You can refuse to write the letter, and in this situation it’s probably best that you do.

    Saying something bad about someone in a recommendation letter is a sticky legal situation. You do have qualified privilege, which does allow you to state facts that you can back up with evidence. But why even risk a defamation lawsuit. It’s best to tactfully and professionally refuse to write the letter.

  4. Be Professional

    If the ex-employee or even their prospective new employer is a great friend and you have beers every Friday after work, this letter still needs to be professional. Often, these letters of reference will go into an employee file and you don’t want future hiring managers to see you being unprofessional. It’s best to handle this letter like all business documents and use proper work etiquette.

  5. Use Examples

    One of the best ways to illustrate an employee’s strengths is to show how they benefited your company. Don’t be overly descriptive or too long-winded but use some examples that show how employee handled themselves on the job.

    Using all of these tips, and after a discussion with the employee, you should be able to write that letter of recommendation. The following three samples may help you do that. The first one is a generic letter that the employee could use for any position. The other two are specific and designed to get them a targeted position.

Generic Reference Letter Example

Jane Doe, Parent
11 South 22nd St.
Cincinnati, OH 45208
(555) 123-4567

December 31, 2020

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Jane Doe and I am writing to refer Susie Smith as a babysitter for your family. I have known Susie for five years and she has babysat for all three of our children during that timeframe. Susie has proven that she’s a very honest and reliable person. We trust her implicitly with our children and she has never given us a reason not to.

Our children love Susie and would get very excited about her next visit. At this point, our oldest is a sophomore in high school and our youngest is 12, so we no longer need her services. We wholeheartedly recommend her to work with your children. We think you’ll be very excited by her ability to connect with children on their level and her desire to actively participate in their homework and playtimes with them. She’s definitely not one of those babysitters who watches TV and ignores the kids.

If you have any questions about Susie and would like to speak with me about her, I’d be happy to talk with you.


Jane Doe

Professional Recommendation Letter Example

Jane Doe, Library Manager
Cincinnati Library
11 South 22nd St.
Cincinnati, OH 45208
(555) 123-4567

December 31, 2020

Jim Cast, Hiring Manager
South City Library
22 South 11th Street
Cincinnati, OH 45208

Dear Jim Cast,

I am writing on behalf of Mike Gentle regarding the position of Library Assistant. Mike worked as a student intern at our library while he was in high school and did an excellent job. His love of books, literature, and helping people was evident from day one. We were thrilled when Mike told us he had decided to pursue a degree in Library Sciences, and we think he will one day be a phenomenal Librarian.

Mike would be an excellent addition to your library, and we were happy to hear that he found a position that will allow him to continue his studies at the university in the fall while working part-time. I think you will see that Mike’s ability to adapt to new customers and answer their requests or questions is outstanding. He is always professional and has an ability to speak on a level that relates to our customers – whether they’re professors looking for specific research or retired people trying to figure out how to check their emails.

In fact, in Mike’s sophomore year of high school, he realized that we have a quite a large elderly population and they often need help with basic computer skills. He took the initiative to begin a monthly computer class to teach some of these skills and answer questions. This class was free to the public and Mike volunteered his own time to help our patrons. We will sincerely miss him but wish him well in his future endeavors.

If you have any further questions or would like to discuss Mike’s qualifications, please feel free to contact me.


Jane Doe

Professional Reference Letter Example

Jane Doe, Principal
Cincinnati School
11 South 22nd St.
Cincinnati, OH 45208
(555) 123-4567

December 31, 2020

Jim Cast, Superintendent of Schools
Madison School District
1 CESA Drive
Madison, WI 53719

Dear Jim Cast,

I am enthusiastically writing on behalf of Frances St. Clare, who we have had the pleasure of having in our school district for the past five years. Frances taught English in our high school throughout her tenure at Cincinnati School, seeing more than 1500 students come through her classroom.

During her time with us, I did quarterly classroom evaluations and was always thrilled with how well she engaged with students and how they responded. Not many teachers can get their students as involved in literature and diagramming sentences as Frances can. She has a way with students that makes them feel valued, and she truly listens to them in a way that shows compassion.

She is quite passionate about her profession and especially about creative writing. Frances established a creative writing publication at our school, the Cincinnati Journal, which is published monthly. Students are encouraged to submit short stories, poems, scripts, cartoons, and other creative writing pieces to be selected for publication. A group of students, guided by Frances, then reviews and selects their favorites for the Journal. This has become a very popular publication for the teachers and students, and we thank Frances for this initiative.

I know that we were quite sad to see Frances leave our school district and our students were equally disappointed. I think she’ll make a fantastic addition to your school and I’m available to answer any questions you may have about her time with us.


Jane Doe

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Kristin Kizer

Kristin Kizer is an award-winning writer, television and documentary producer, and content specialist who has worked on a wide variety of written, broadcast, and electronic publications. A former writer/producer for The Discovery Channel, she is now a freelance writer and delighted to be sharing her talents and time with the wonderful Zippia audience.

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