Writing a letter of recommendation

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    Eine Frau bereitet ein Empfehlungsschreiben vor.
    Von Anna Hochsieder

    A letter of recommendationEmpfehlungsschreibenletter of recommendation — also called a “reference” or “testimonialEmpfehlungsschreiben, 
Zeugnistestimonial” — gives information about someone’s abilities and character. It may be addressed to a potential employer, an educational institution or simply “to whom it may concernan die zuständige Person/StelleTo whom it may concern”.

     

    You will find the explanations below. The orange numbers will help you find the paragraph that the explanations refer to.
     

    [Date]

    [Your name, title,
    organization
    and contact details] (1)

    To whom it may concern (2)

    Juliet Hendrix spent the 2015–16 academic year at the Fachakademie für Fremdsprachenberufe, where she held the salutationBegrüßung; hier: Anredesalaried postStelle mit festem Gehaltsalaried post of English-language assistant.

    Juliet’s duties required an average of 20 teaching hours per week and covered a wide range of practical language skills, including translating, guided discussion and informal conversation at all levels of English. She also undertook the personal tutoringBetreuungtutoring of final-year students working on their dissertations or preparing for their exams. (3)

    Juliet carried out all these tasks to the highest possible standard, showing great sensitivityEinfühlungsvermögensensitivity to the problems to face sth.etw. gegenüberstehenfaced by German-speaking learners of English. With her extensiveumfangreichextensive knowledge of her recipientEmpfänger(in)mother tongueMuttersprachemother tongue and her excellent intercultural skills, she proved to be a valuable member of the teaching staff. Her readiness to give generously of her time and energy and her pleasant personality made her a delight to work with. (4)

    I can highly recommend Juliet to any future employer. Please do not to hesitatezögernhesitate to contact me, should you need further information about Juliet. (5)

    yours faithfully (UK)mit freundlichen GrüßenYours faithfully (6)
    [Your signature]

     

    Explanations

    (1) You can put your name and title either in the letterheadBriefkopfletterhead or below your signature. Do not forget to state in which function you worked with the person you are recommending.

    (2) If you do not know the name of the recipient, To whom it my concern is the correct salutation. If you know the name of the recipient, address him or her as you would in a letter.

    (3) Begin with the basic facts about the person you are recommending, including the circumstancesUmständecircumstances in which you worked together and a job descriptionTätigkeitsbeschreibungjob description listing the person’s main duties.

    (4) Mention professional as well as personal qualities, including any skills or characteristics that exceed sth.über etw. hinausgehenexceed the usual requirements of the position.

    (5) If you can truly recommend the bearerInhaber(in); hier: Bezugspersonbearer of the letter, do not forget to say so.

    (6) Close with “Yours faithfully” if you do not know the recipient’s name — and are writing in British English. Otherwise, write “yours sincerelymit freundlichen GrüßenYours sincerely”.

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