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Marina Kuimova (Tomsk, Russia)


A “good job” can be both practically attractive

while still not good enough to devote your entire life to

Alain de Botton


        It is a well-known fact that writing is an essential part of doing business and good writing skills are incredibly important. There are a lot of different kinds of business letters: letter of application, letter of recommendation, letter of resignation, letter of complaint, thanks you letter, etc. All of them are written according to a certain format using standard phrases and for a particular reason.

        Thus in this paper we are going to give some practical advice how to write a letter of recommendation which can be used at English as a foreign language classes (EFL).

        Undoubtedly, the best place for the interview and employment will be given to a candidate whose letter is written in accordance with a strict format, general structure, genre and vocabulary.

        Is general, it is wise to keep to the following rules. A business letter should be:

·         short (avoid needless, not relevant personal information like race, marital status, political views, etc.);

·         simple (proper vocabulary, short sentences, clear paragraphs. However, slang, jokes, casual language should be avoided);

·         strong (precise subject matter, concrete words, vivid and well-grounded examples);

·         sincere (friendly and frank) [2, 3, 4].

        A business letter should have:

·         introduction (the reason for writing);

·         details (what you would like to accomplish);

·         conclusion / next steps (what you would like to happen in the future) [1, 2, 4, 5].

        On the whole, writing a reference letter we can use the following format:


        1) salutation:

·         Dear Name of Employer (if written to a specific employer);

·         “To Whom It May Concern” (if written to an unknown person).

        2) confirm dates, the person’s job title, performance:

·      It is my pleasure to recommend Clark Butler for employment with your organization;

·      I highly recommend Name Surname as a candidate for employment;

·      I confirm that I have known (name) for (number) years;

·      Clark was employed by Company Name as a / an … from year – year;

·      In his position as …, Clarke was employed in our company from year – year;

·      I have been consistently impressed with Clark’s attitude and productivity during … .

        3) person’s responsibilities, qualification, skills; single out any exceptional qualities that the candidate has:

·         Clark did an excellent job in the position of …;

·         Clark has excellent communication skills. In addition, he is extremely organized, reliable and …;

·         Clark can work independently and is able to …;

·         Clark is flexible and willing to work on any project that is assigned to him;

·         Clark is highly charismatic and has a terrific on air presence. More importantly, he thinks critically, …;

·         Clark is dependable, trustworthy …;

·         Clark is not only good humored and friendly, but also is good at …;

·         Clark has also been effective in his efforts to …;

·         I feel confident in saying that he is capable of …;

·         All in all, I think Clark Butler has a very bright future, and I am sure that he would benefit from ...;

·         Clark would be an asset to any employer and I recommend him for any endeavor he chooses to pursue;

·         I am confident that he will devote himself to a position with your organization with a high degree of diligence;

·         I highly recommend him to any future employer.

        4) offer to provide more information:

·         I am happy to provide further information if required;

·         Please let me know if you have need for additional information;

·         If you have any further questions with regard to his background or qualifications, please do not hesitate to call me;

·         If you have any further questions about Clark, please feel free to call me.

        5) appropriate end:

        Yours sincerely (when you are writing to a named recipient);

        Yours faithfully (when you do not know who will receive the letter).





           Contract information (phone, e-mail).

        Broadly speaking, a business letter first communicates with its reader. Thus writing this letter is a very responsible and serious step. While teaching how to write a recommendation letter at EFL classes, a lecturer should pay a special attention to its objective, format and proper style.


1)     Beare K. Guide to Basic Business Letters. The Basics http://esl.about.com/cs/onthejobenglish/a/a_basbletter.htm (accessed March 13, 2013).

2)     Bond A. 300+ Successful Business Letters for All Occasions. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2005. 361 p.

3)     Business letter writing guide. http://word-mart.com/html/business_letter_writing_guide.html (accessed March 13, 2013).

4)     Geffner A.B. How to Write Better Business Letters. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2007. 192 p.

5)     Poe R.W. The McGraw-Hill Handbook of Business Letters. New York: McGraw Hill, 2005. 224 p.