How To Include Strengths and Weaknesses in a Recommendation Letter

Writing a letter of recommendation can be a difficult task since it requires more than just a few nice words. As the recommender, you want to make sure the letter is detailed and accurate. You want to make sure that the person you are recommending has the skills, qualifications and characteristics necessary for the position. To help you in this task, here are some examples of the strengths and weaknesses that can be included in a letter of recommendation. By being aware of these examples, you will be better equipped to provide a comprehensive and meaningful letter of recommendation that accurately reflects the strengths and weaknesses of the person you are recommending.

Elements of a strong recommendation letter

Why include both strengths and weaknesses in a letter of recommendation?

In a letter of recommendation, you usually highlight a candidate’s strongest qualities, but there are a few situations where you might also talk about their workplace weaknesses. It’s crucial to frame their shortcomings in a positive light so that the information can serve as support for your recommendation. For instance, you may come to the conclusion that outlining their flaws adds crucial context to their work history, such as how a specific team member helped your team during a lengthy project. On a list of mandatory topics to cover in the letter, some employers might also include a query about weaknesses.

What is a letter of recommendation?

A letter of recommendation is a document endorsing the abilities, traits, and work performance of an applicant. Team members who are applying for a job at their current employer or a new position at a different company can request letters of recommendation from their managers. A recommendation letter may be required by some employers, while others may prefer other materials in an application package. A strong letter of recommendation can support a candidate’s resume and cover letter and serve as a valuable tool for employers looking for more details on a candidate’s work history.

How to write a letter of recommendation that includes strengths and weaknesses

It may be useful to prepare and plan ahead before writing a letter of recommendation that discusses a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. To write a letter of recommendation with strengths and weaknesses, take into account the following steps:

1. Gather your resources

Gathering information that can be used to frame the applicants’ strengths and weaknesses is the first step in this process. Determine your responses before you start writing if they give you any questions that you must address in the letter. Examine the applicant’s cover letter and resume to gain insight into their working style and the skills they value most. If you’re writing an internal letter of recommendation, it might be helpful to inquire about any policies or preferences the human resources staff may have regarding writing cover letters for internal candidates.

2. Discuss the letter with the applicant

It’s crucial to arrange a meeting with your team member to go over the letter’s content and develop an effective writing strategy. What examples of strengths and weaknesses you can best highlight will depend on your relationship and the types of projects you completed together. For instance, if you regularly collaborated with them, you might have knowledge of their time management abilities.

3. Determine the applicants strengths and weaknesses

A thorough list of the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses is another beneficial step when writing a recommendation letter for a team member. Try to concentrate on their professional abilities rather than their personal qualities, and choose concrete examples of each skill you emphasize, including both regular occurrences and one-time events. Think about modifying them to reflect the unique situations and experiences of your team members.

You can use the following list of abilities to assess an applicant’s strengths and weaknesses:

4. Frame your examples

A strategy for writing about the applicants’ strengths and weaknesses should be decided upon as well. Choose two or three options from your list that most closely match the requirements of the recommendation letter, the preferences of your team members, and your own evaluations. It might be more beneficial to pair a weakness with a recognized strength rather than framing weaknesses as though they were strengths. You can also talk about a skill they learned to demonstrate their learning preferences and capacity for improvement. Here’s an illustration of how to frame a weakness while also showcasing a team member’s potential for growth:

“Angela is a meticulous individual, and the caliber of her work is consistently outstanding.” She occasionally ignores a project deadline in favor of concentrating on the project’s steps. But I observe her working hard every day to improve her efficiency and minimize the number of extensions she needs. Her project completion rate has increased by 17% over the past month, and I predict that number will increase again the following month. Angela has consistently persevered and displayed excellent work ethic throughout every task. “.

5. Create an objective assessment

Expressing the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses in a recommendation letter using more objective language is a crucial aspect. When endorsing a team member, it’s critical to maintain a professional demeanor and viewpoint because your personal viewpoint might constrain the details you can provide. Think about the letter’s recipient and the information that might help them understand the applicant’s qualifications. When discussing a candidate’s problem-solving abilities, for instance, you could use numerical evidence to demonstrate how their evaluation of a project obstacle affected the project’s overall outcomes.

6. Compose the letter

To make the information you share as effective as possible, think about using a formal business letter format. Try to limit the body of your letter to three paragraphs, each with a distinct purpose. If you want to start and end the letter on a positive note, it might be helpful to highlight the applicant’s weaknesses in the second paragraph.

Additional elements of a business letter that you could use are as follows:

7. Include your qualifications

How you are connected to the applicant and how long you have been their supervisor should also be mentioned. It’s crucial to demonstrate your authority as a source of information about the applicant and your suitability to recommend them. To do this, you can explain the duties and responsibilities you both perform throughout an average day and how frequently you directly supervise their work.

Example of a letter of recommendation that includes strengths and weaknesses

Here is an example of a recommendation letter with strengths and weaknesses you can use as a model for your own writing:

Marie Garcia
Store Manager
Harding Independent Bookstore
[email protected]

Quinn Randall
Store Manager
Whimsical Books

February 12, 2021
Dear Ms. Randall,

I’m composing this letter of support for Diana Stein, who is applying to be the lead bookseller at Whimsical Books. I was Diana’s direct manager at Harding Independent Books for seven years, during which time she picked up crucial abilities and methods that helped her develop into the outstanding bookseller she is today. She has the skills, experience, and natural leadership qualities that will make Whimsical Books a better place.

Diana was an excellent bookseller who had a strong work ethic and a broad understanding of literature, particularly science fiction and fantasy. Customers have praised her recommendations and attention to detail in survey reports on numerous occasions. Diana’s first year at the store was impacted by her ability to manage her schedule, but she has since improved her ability to adapt to any situation. She works in the children’s section every Saturday because I know she can juggle managing the section’s inventory and answering a lot of questions about books.

I highly recommend Diana Stein for this position. She would be helpful to any bookselling team and is prepared to hold a managing position. If you have any additional questions, kindly get in touch with me using the information above.

Marie Garcia


What weaknesses can I put on recommendation letter?

References should not allude to any character flaws like stubbornness or a poor ability to cooperate with others in a group. Although flaws, these traits won’t help the applicant’s case in any way and are likely to be more noticeable in a reference letter than any positive traits will.

How do you write a strength letter of recommendation?

How to write a letter of recommendation that includes strengths and weaknesses
  1. Gather your resources. …
  2. Discuss the letter with the applicant. …
  3. Determine the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses. …
  4. Frame your examples. …
  5. Create an objective assessment. …
  6. Compose the letter. …
  7. Include your qualifications.

What are your strengths and weaknesses examples?

  • Strategies for answering strengths and weaknesses. …
  • Strength example 1: Collaborative. …
  • Strength example 2: Technical know-how. …
  • Strength example 3: Disciplined. …
  • Strength example 4: Positive attitude. …
  • Strength example 5: Solving problems. …
  • Weakness example 1: Self-criticism. …
  • Weakness example 2: Public speaking.

What are good examples of strengths?

Some examples of strengths you might mention include:
  • Enthusiasm.
  • Trustworthiness.
  • Creativity.
  • Discipline.
  • Patience.
  • Respectfulness.
  • Determination.
  • Dedication.

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