For Teachers

When to Write a Letter of Support

By The Room 241 Team October 27, 2012

Writing a letter of support is a task most teachers, administrators and managers are asked to do at some time in their career.

A letter of support is needed for any teacher, or any job seeker, to secure employment. A letter of support is needed to show a future employer how well the person performed his/her duties when working with you and how much their role in your school or company was appreciated.

Letters of support are often required by jobs as part of the application process and the quality of the letter and the sincerity of what is expressed in the letter will help the candidate stand apart from the rest of the applicants. This letter can play a major role in whether a candidate is accepted for employment, a grant or a study program.

When to write a letter of support

Here are some guidelines to follow before writing a letter of support.

If you really appreciate an employee’s work

If you are the manager of an employee who needs a letter of support and this employee has been a loyal, hardworking employee for a number of years, then writing a letter of support should convey your appreciation for their years of hard work and your regret at seeing them move on to other opportunities.

The letter of support should clearly state who you are and your qualifications, and provide insights into your employee’s work ethic. Include why you hired the employee and how he/she gained greater responsibility in your company over time. If you know the employee personally, express your feelings about what it is like to work with this person and spend time with them in and out of the office. The greater the support you show in your letter, the better your employee will look to prospective employers.

When you really loved a teacher

Teachers who are looking for new teaching positions will often ask former students to write letters of support for them. This is taking a serious risk as the teacher can never be really sure what the student thought of their teaching abilities. The teacher should also be sure to ask a student who has high quality writing skills. A student should never be forced to write this letter of support or coerced into doing so. They should truly believe the teacher deserves a letter of support before agreeing to write one.

When not to write in a Letter of Support

Do not write a letter of support for everyone who asks for one. Only write letters of support for employees or others whom you feel really deserve one and whom you truly desire to help secure future employment. Writing too many letters of support could decrease the perceived sincerity of your letters, and they will no longer be valuable to those you wish to help. This may mean you will have to turn down some requests for letters of support. Choose which employees really deserve your letter and let down anyone else as nice as you can.

Writing an honest letter

It’s tough to write a letter of support for someone when you are not on good terms with them or happy about their departure. However, letters of support that are not honest are not very helpful to your employee. If you do not feel comfortable writing the letter then do not write it. Your lack of confidence will show in the letter and could actually hurt your employee’s chance at securing the new position. Let your employee know this when turning down the request to write the letter of support.

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