Writing recommendations

Readers of reference letters look for the following:

  • the relationship between the referee and the candidate
  • specific knowledge of the candidate's subject matter background
  • the candidate's duties in his/her current position
  • how well the candidate performs(ed) his/her duties
  • interpersonal relationship abilities
  • the candidate's initiative
  • specific instances of excellent performance documented
  • concerns about the candidate's skills, abilities, knowledge or judgment
  • positive remarks similar to those written by other referees for the candidate
  • personality traits described
  • student-professor or superior-subordinate relations