The Best Letter of Recommendation Is the One You Write for Yourself

Once you’re entrenched in a job search it may be difficult to see the other side. You’re constantly looking for opportunities to apply for that match your desired criteria for a new job but you may not be spending enough time forming an argument for why you are the best candidate for that role. A great way to combat that is to start writing a letter of recommendation for yourself before your next interview!

No, we’re not suggesting you send a letter to an employer recommending yourself for the position. Instead, break down the functions of a letter of recommendation to form a great argument for why you’re the best candidate for the position.

What makes a good recommendation letter? It’s not just about detailing what you’ve been responsible for or what you’ve achieved, it’s about setting you apart from the rest of the applicants. Your unique achievements and skillsets are far more interesting to employers than the tasks you’re expected to have done in your specific position. When writing a letter of recommendation for yourself, focus more on the unique skills and achievements and leave the generic ones as abbreviated bullet points on your resume.

Similarly side projects also reflect well on you in letters of recommendation. A lot of employers have started to look at side projects as a sign of ambition and the constant drive to learn. These are positive traits that you can communicate by simply mentioning your technical side projects.

Finally, a great letter of recommendation has a lot to do with your impression on other people. When you’re writing one for yourself, really try to reflect on your relationships with your boss, coworkers, and other technical professionals to see what others might say about you. Then, evaluate what personality traits you think you possess that are missing from the list that others might see in you. This will give you an idea of what aspects of your personality are not being fully utilized at your current position and it will let you see areas where you can improve in future professional relationships.

For self-reflection and establishing a winning argument for why you’re the best candidate for each position you apply for, there is no better letter of recommendation than the one you write yourself. Before your next interview take the time to write yourself a great letter of recommendation for the role. You won’t ever send it but the benefits of writing it will be clear when you feel prepared and confident in your interview. Give it a try and tell us how it works for you!