Hiring managers are selecting candidates whose skills, qualifications, and experience will benefit their company. If you fit these criteria, a letter of recommendation might tip the scales in your favor. If you don’t, the letter won’t help much. A letter of recommendation can complement your qualifications, but it won’t guarantee you’ll get the job.
So, does that mean you shouldn’t bother including a letter of recommendation? Not at all! It could make a difference if the competition for an open position is fierce and all the candidates are equally qualified. So, don’t underestimate its importance, but don’t count on it as a stand-alone document.
Your chances might be better depending on who writes the recommendation
You’ll probably ask a former supervisor, manager or co-worker to write a letter of recommendation on your behalf. And it’s unlikely they will share anything negative about you. But hiring managers might contact your references and ask questions to draw some objective responses. While a letter of recommendation tends to highlight your qualities, a recruiter can often garner a more balanced assessment by talking directly to your references and asking the right questions.
What will get you hired?
As mentioned, it’s unlikely any letter of recommendation will be the sole deciding factor in a company’s decision to hire you. It just can’t substitute for qualifications. A complete application package that includes a cover letter written specifically for that company and a resume that showcases your accomplishments and qualifications is invaluable. Add to that your ability to explain your skills and qualifications during an interview and your chances increase even more.
How you fit the organizational culture is as important as qualifications to some hiring managers. If you have all the requirements for the position, match what the company wants based on how well you’d work with others, have a similar demeanor as your future co-workers, and your values mirror those of the organization, you can expect a job offer. When all of those things fall into place, a letter of recommendation is merely icing on the cake.
What if the company’s owner or president writes the letter?
Suppose you are lucky enough to know the owner of the company to which you are applying. Would a letter of recommendation from that individual alone carry enough weight to get you hired?
It’s not likely that any president or owner would recommend anyone who doesn’t have the qualifications to match the company’s needs. Making hiring decisions based only on friendships would happen at the expense of the company, and that would run counter to someone whose primary function is to make sure the business turns a profit.
If you meet all the skills and qualifications, however, that letter would be golden!
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