Wednesday, 19 October 2016

How To Write A Letter For Recommendation

If you've never written a letter of recommendation before, the process can seem a bit intimidating. Fortunately, all letters of recommendation involve common elements that you can master easily. To write a letter of recommendation, you'll need to construct a formal letter full of honest praise, information about the individual's qualifications, and details about your relationship to that person. You'll also need to make sure you target the recommendation to the exact purpose for which it's intended. This process is the same regardless of whether you're writing for a job, an academic acceptance, or something else entirely.

PART 1. Writing The Letter

Use standard formal letter writing conventions to begin. A letter of recommendation is like any other professional communication, and follows the same general rules and guidelines.
Place your address on the top right, followed by the date—spelled out.
Below that, on the left, place the recipient's name (if known) and address.
Open the letter with a formal business greeting. Ex:
Dear Ms. Smith,
Dear Sir or Madam, (if you don't know the recipient's name)

Open with a short, but enthusiastic, bit of praise. Let the company know right off the bat that you believe in this person. You don't have to be over the top or insincere, but a positive note to start will make a big difference.
"It makes me extremely happy to recommend Michael for the position of Director of Development at XYX Corporation."
"Any company should count themselves lucky to have an employee as bright, friendly, and dedicated as Gina."
"No matter what she does, Helena Bonham does it well.

Describe how you know the person. Give some context for your recommendation. Let the reader know how you met them, how you worked together, and your basic qualifications.
"As VP of Application Development, I was Michael's direct supervisor from 2009 through 2012. We worked closely together on several key projects, and I got to know him very well during this time.
"I was both Gina's adviser and teacher throughout her time at Hamilton College. I watched her shine both in the classroom and in office hours, and had the joy of watching her meet and then exceed expectations with her thesis."
"As the Dean of Students, I deal with many young people throughout the day. However, I was lucky to spend several hours a week with Ms. Bonham in her role as Committee President. In my 32 years as Dean, I have rarely been so impressed."

Be specific about the candidate's qualifications and successes. Describe what the person has done using specific instances and examples, rather than generalities. Whenever possible, give evidence or stories to back yourself up.
"Michael's sophisticated grasp of database architecture, combined with an innate feel for UX design and a warm, personal approach to his in-company client base dramatically improved the productivity of our company's merchandising, creative, and editorial departments. His approach to managing application support, maintenance, and training was highly professional and greatly respected, both by end users and by the executive team."
"Gina was always inquisitive but never pushy. Despite being able to answer almost any question, Gina would rather sit back and help others find the answer for themselves. Countless students, who I thought were doomed to struggle, happily told me how tutoring sessions with Gina helped them turn the corner. And I had many conversations, both as her professor and a peer, that I will remember happily for years."
"When Ms. Bonham hears the word "no," you can almost see the gears start to turn. She is mover and a shaker -- interfacing with students, faculty, staff, and even outside agencies to find solutions to any problem."

Make comparisons to illustrate their success. To put the candidate's accomplishments into perspective, include comparisons so that the recipient will have some basis to understand why you are recommending this person.
"Michael's output of completed projects has exceeded the combined results of all other development efforts I've witnessed during my 8 years at UVW Company."
"The best students are ones that genuinely love to learn. A student that pushes themselves ever day to learn more and be better, and enjoys every minute. Gina is that kind of student.
"I can say with confidence that my job working with the Student Committee was never easier, nor more enjoyable, than when I got to work with Ms. Bonham."

Don't exaggerate -- show where and how they can improve. Don't put the candidate on a pedestal. Not only does it not look plausible, it will also set expectations for them that will be next to impossible to meet. If they have an Achille's heel, don't exaggerate it, but don't hide it, either.
"Despite coming in as a novice, Michael has worked hard to improve his documentation and commenting of scripts and processes, making it easier for those filling his shoes in the future to work effectively."
"Gina is always on the move -- tutoring, taking classes, joining clubs, etc. -- and though her schedule is perhaps too tightly packed, she somehow manages it all with a smile on her face."
"Of course, Ms. Bonham's determination and drive occasionally led to butting heads and conflicting opinions. However, though she is never one to shy away from conflict, Ms. Bonham passion was never mean-spririted or rude."

Keep your writing action-oriented. Begin each paragraph with a punchy, active affirmation of the candidate's qualities or character. Strong verbs are your friend.
Don't say "Over the course of the last couple years, I have been pleased to watch the ongoing development of Michael's talents." Say instead, "Michael's skills have grown rapidly in the last couple years."
"Gina exhibits the drive and dedication of the best students. Her writing is clear and concise, a rarity among many young people but effortless for her."
"Ms. Bonham fights for what she believes is right, even if it doesn't mesh with her own preferences. This clear-eyed and selfless attitude will catapult her far in life."

Close the letter affirmatively. Reiterate your recommendation of the candidate and, if appropriate, invite the recipient to contact you.
For example, say, "For all of these reasons, I think Michael will make a fine addition to your team. Should you have any questions, I invite you to contact me at the number or address, above."
"Gina is the kind of person I would love to hire to work for me, and I know she will be an incredible asset for you."
"I have no qualms about giving Ms. Bonham the highest recommendation for the position. If you have any questions, please contact me."

Use a business closing and sign your name. Above all, be professional. If the you're sending a physical letter, print it out and sign it by hand. Otherwise, just typing your name will do.
"Best regards,"
"Thank you,"

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How To Trace A Money Order That You Have already Sent Out

Money orders are a wise payment method to use, especially when you don’t have a checking account or access to checks. They provide a traceable method of payment that allows you to prove that payments were made. In addition, if a money order is lost, you may be able to get a replacement without having to purchase it again. However, in order to trace a money order, you’ll need to keep the receipt that was attached to the money order before you sent it.
Call the issuer of the money order. A customer service number should be provided on the receipt or money order stub. If you do not see a customer service number printed on the stub, go to the company’s website and use the “contact us” tab to locate the phone number. Examples of money order issuers include Western Union, Money Gram and the U.S. Postal Service. An issuer is not the store or location where the money order is purchased.
Inform the issuer representative that you wish to trace the money order. Give the representative the receipt number printed on your purchase stub.
Receive trace information. While the representative can’t tell you where the money order is, he can tell you whether the money order has been cashed or is still outstanding. If the person you sent the money order claims it has not been received and the money order is still outstanding, you may be able to receive a replacement from the issuer. If the money order has been cashed and the person who cashed it is not the intended recipient, you may be able to file a theft case and receive a replacement.

Toll Free Number

Find out if your money order has been cashed by calling 1-800-542-3590, the MoneyGram automated phone line. Enter your money order number and the exact amount it’s for. If the information is correct, you’ll hear whether the document has been processed or whether it is still outstanding.

Online Inquiries

MoneyGram offers an online inquiry service to get an update on whether your money order has been cashed. Type in your personal information and the money order details. A customer service representative will get back to you within 48 to 72 hours.

Get a Copy

You can request a photocopy of the completed money order that shows the front and back of the document, therefore letting you know who cashed it. Fill out a Money Order Claim Card by going to and downloading the form. You’ll need a copy of the money order receipt. If the money order has not been cashed, you’ll receive a refund. The service costs $15 and can take 30 to 65 days.

Fax or Email

If you need to know about your money order more quickly, you can ask MoneyGram to fax or email you a photocopy of it via the MoneyGram ExpressPayment option. This works only if the money order has been cashed, so call 1-800-542-3590 to verify that. You send the request via the standard MoneyGram express payment service. When filling out the form, the receive code is 2444, the company is MoneyGram Money Order, the city is Minneapolis and the state MN. For the account number, write down the money order serial number and enter your fax or email number in the message field. The service costs $24, and you’ll get the photocopy within two business days.

Without the Number

Tracking a money order gets more complicated if you don’t know the money order serial number. This requires special handling. You’ll need to fill out a form with the exact amount of the money order, the date of the purchase, the name of the person or company the money order was made out to, the name and address of the store you got the money order, and your personal information. You’ll have to pay a $40 non-refundable fee. If the MoneyGram hasn’t cleared, you’ll get a refund. You’ll get a photocopy of the money order if it cleared. The company will acknowledge by mail if it couldn’t locate the money order, but you won’t get a refund of your fee if that’s the case.

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