Short Recommendation Letter Sample: Free & Effective

Drawing from experience in writing concise recommendation letters, I’ve discovered that brevity can be as impactful as detailed endorsements in supporting a candidate. This guide offers insights and a structured template to help craft effective, short recommendation letters

Key Takeaways:

  • Brief and Impactful: Short recommendation letters should be concise yet impactful.
  • Personal Experience: Share specific examples to personalize the letter.
  • Structure is Key: Follow a clear structure: introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Free Template: Customize the letter to reflect the candidate’s unique strengths.
  • Professional Tone: Maintain a formal, respectful tone throughout the letter.
  • Proofreading: Ensure the letter is error-free for a professional impression.

Understanding the Purpose of a Short Recommendation Letter

A short recommendation letter is a brief endorsement of a candidate’s skills, character, and achievements. It’s often used in scenarios where space or time is limited, such as for awards, specific job roles, or academic applications.

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Short Recommendation Letter

  1. Begin with a Strong Introduction
    • Identify yourself and your relationship with the candidate.
    • State the purpose of the letter.
  2. Highlight the Candidate’s Key Strengths
    • Focus on 2-3 key qualities or achievements.
    • Use specific examples to illustrate these qualities.
  3. Conclude with a Strong Endorsement
    • Reaffirm your recommendation of the candidate.
    • Provide your contact information for follow-up.

Real-Life Example

In a letter I wrote for a former intern applying for a scholarship, I highlighted her exceptional analytical skills and her initiative in leading a successful project. This concise yet powerful anecdote helped the committee quickly understand her capabilities.

Writing Tips for Maximum Impact

  • Be Specific: Generic praises are less impactful than specific examples.
  • Tailor the Letter: Customize your letter to align with the candidate’s desired position or award.
  • Keep it Professional: Use a formal tone and avoid overly casual language.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

  • Being Too Vague: Lack of specifics can make the letter seem insincere.
  • Overwhelming with Information: Stick to relevant details to keep the letter concise.

Short Recommendation Letter Template

[Your Name]
[Your Position]
[Your Contact Information]

[Recipient’s Name]
[Recipient’s Position]
[Recipient’s Address]

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

Trending Now: Find Out Why!

I am writing to wholeheartedly recommend [Candidate’s Name] for [Purpose of the Recommendation]. As [Your Relationship with the Candidate], I have witnessed their remarkable [Key Strengths or Qualities].

[Provide a Specific Example or Anecdote].

In conclusion, [Candidate’s Name] is exceptionally well-suited for [Purpose of the Recommendation]. I am confident that they will exceed your expectations in this role.

Please feel free to contact me at [Your Contact Information] for any further information.


[Your Name]


Writing a short recommendation letter is an art of balancing brevity with informativeness. By following these guidelines and using the provided template, you can craft a compelling and concise letter that effectively endorses the candidate.

Do you have any specific scenarios or challenges you face when writing recommendation letters? Feel free to leave a comment and I’ll be happy to provide tailored advice!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A professional and inviting office setting with a person sitting at a desk, writing a letter

Q: How do I ensure my short recommendation letter is impactful?

Answer: In my experience, the key to an impactful short recommendation letter lies in being specific and focused. I always start by identifying the most compelling quality of the person I’m recommending. 

Then, I illustrate this trait with a concise, vivid example from our time working together. This approach ensures the letter packs a punch, even with limited words.

Q: What is the ideal length for a short recommendation letter?

Answer: From my perspective, a short recommendation letter should ideally be one page or less. I aim for about 250 to 300 words. 

This length is sufficient to express key points while maintaining the reader’s attention. I ensure every word contributes value and avoids unnecessary filler.

Q: Can I use a standard template for all my short recommendation letters?

Answer: While templates can be a good starting point, I believe in personalizing each letter. 

In my practice, I use a basic structure as a template but tailor the content to each individual. This personal touch makes each letter unique and more meaningful.

Q: How do I choose which qualities to highlight in a short recommendation letter?

Answer: Choosing qualities to highlight can be challenging, but I focus on those most relevant to the opportunity or position the candidate is pursuing. 

My approach is to reflect on our interactions and select one or two qualities where the individual truly excelled or made a noticeable impact.

Q: Is it appropriate to mention a candidate’s weakness in a short recommendation letter?

Answer: In my approach, I avoid mentioning weaknesses in a short recommendation letter. Given the limited space, I prioritize showcasing my strengths and positive experiences. 

If I feel compelled to address areas of improvement, I do so subtly by framing them as opportunities for growth.

Q: How do I start and end a short recommendation letter effectively?

Answer: I begin with a strong, attention-grabbing introduction that establishes my connection to the candidate and my authority to recommend them. 

To conclude, I reiterate my strong endorsement strongly and offer to provide additional information if needed. This full-circle approach ensures a strong opening and a compelling close.

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