Example Letter #1
I received your request for a letter of recommendation yesterday and hope you will understand if I decline. Letters of recommendation carry the most weight when they are from people such as colleagues and supervisors who know your job skills and work habits. We work in completely different divisions of the company, and I have known you for such a short time that I can hardly speak with authority about your professional abilities.
I am flattered that you would ask for a recommendation from me, but as a matter of strategy in your job search, I think someone else would be a better choice.
Best of luck in your job search!
Example Letter #2
During the two months we worked together, I do not think I had the chance to observe your best work. I feel it would be in your best interest to have someone else write you a letter of recommendation. I am happy that you have found a position you are willing to pursue ambitiously. I wish you much success in your efforts.
Example Letter #3
Yesterday I received your request for a letter of recommendation on your behalf as part of your application to medical school. It was really very kind of you to think of me, but I'm afraid I'll have to decline. With so many intervening semesters since you were last a student in one of my courses, I'm too unfamiliar with your current work to be of any real service to you.
In my experience, admissions offices generally look for recommendations that reflect a student's most recent academic successes. May I suggest you approach a few instructors of courses you've taken within the past two or three years for a recommendation? They can probably give more weight to your cause than I could.
If I can help you in some other way, please feel free to ask. I wish you the best as you plan for your future.
Example Letter #4
I am honored that you selected me to write a letter of recommendation for you and that you put your trust in me for such an important task.
Unfortunately, I must decline your request at this time. I believe that it would serve your needs better to select another individual whose words would really benefit you.
I apologize that I am unable to assist you, but I do, however, wish you the very best in your pursuits.
Example Letter #5
I sincerely support your pursuit and feel honored by your request for a recommendation. However, because of the limited extent of our previous interactions, I am not able to accurately describe your specific talents and potentials, and so I am not in the position to draft a persuasive recommendation for you. I must unfortunately decline your request and encourage you to identify a closer contact who could draft a more helpful letter.
Again, I wish you complete success in your pursuit.
Write Your Letter Step-by-Step
1 Explain in an inoffensive way that you cannot or would rather not write the letter.
Sample Sentences for Step 1
- Because of legal considerations, the company does not allow persons in my position to write letters of recommendation for former employees.
- Because it has been so long since you worked with us, it would probably be in your best interest to have someone with whom you have worked more recently write a letter of recommendation.
- I am sorry that my records from that time period are sketchy. I believe you would be better served by having a person familiar with your recent work write a letter of recommendation.
- I would be very pleased to write a letter of recommendation for you regarding your work in our parish, but I really can't speak with any authority about your work at the university. Perhaps others there could help you much more than I could.
- I really don't think I am the best person to write a letter of recommendation for you. I believe your immediate supervisor, John Doe, could write a much more helpful letter than I could.
- Thank you for thinking of me, but I really think someone else would be in a better position to write a letter for you.
- Although you worked for our company for six months, we had little opportunity to work together. Consequently, I do not feel qualified to write about your professional performance.
Sample Phrases for Step 1
- I am not conversant with
- I am hesitant to give uninformed opinions
- I am unable to provide you with a referral
- I cannot assess your professional performance
- because it has been so long
- I can't speak with any authority about
- company does not permit
- I do not feel qualified to
- I don't think I am the one to
- I don't feel that I know you well enough
- on behalf of former employees
- little opportunity to observe your work
- person familiar with your recent work
- probably be in your best interest to
- records of that time period are sketchy
- records are inadequate
- I regret not being able to
- I regret that I am unable to
- so long since you worked with us
- someone more familiar with your work
- someone with whom you have worked more recently
- think your direct supervisor could probably
- to write a letter of recommendation
- violation of company policy
- I will, of course, verify your employment if needed
- we worked together for such a short time
- someone else would be in a better position to
- you would be better served by having
- it would be much more helpful
- write a more helpful letter for you
- your immediate supervisor might be able to
2 Express well wishes.
Sample Sentences for Step 2
- Although I am unable to write you the recommendation you requested, I certainly wish you good luck in finding a suitable position.
- Best wishes for your future success.
- I hope this new opportunity will be a rewarding one.
- If I can help you in another way, please let me know.
- I wish you all the best in your job search.
- Your job prospect sounds like a very good opportunity. Best wishes!
Sample Phrases for Step 2
- a fine opportunity for you
- although I am unable to write
- I am sorry that I cannot be of greater assistance
- certainly wish you good luck
- I do hope you find a job you enjoy
- I do wish you the best
- good luck with your search
- good luck in whatever job you decide to pursue
- I hope that this new job will work out for you
- I hope things work out well for you
- I hope you succeed in your efforts
- if I can help you in another way
- in finding a suitable position
- please accept my best wishes
- I regret that I cannot be of more help
- I will be happy to verify your employment here
- I hope you will be happy in whatever position
- I wish you all the best
- I wish you success in your future career
- your future success