Yesterday, I showed you how to use the What-Why-How™ Strategy to write short recommendations like the ones on Linkedin. Today, I'll show you how to use the same technique to write longer recs for jobs, college/grad school admissions, etc.

The process is the same, but you'll need more detail (or rows). Here's an example from an actual grad school recommendation I wrote for someone:

Just like with yesterday's example, the idea is to pull together the information I have in terms of evidence, examples and explanations to make my case. This keeps the letter from sounding like almost every other recommendation letter because it's based on my experience of Kristin. I hit all the points a graduate admissions officer will care about, but I did it my way instead of using generic language that could apply to anyone.

Here's the resulting letter. Notice that as I drafted and revised, I changed the order a bit, and that some things didn't make it in (the submission requirements were strict as to word count and point size).

How'd she do? She got into her first choice!

Next time you're faced with writing a job or school recommendation, try the What-Why-How. I think you'll get the results you, and the candidate, want with a lot less gnashing of teeth.


What-Why-How Strategy © 1995 Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. Used by permission.