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Decline to Write a Letter of Recommendation — Letter-Writing Tutorial

Tips

If you cannot give a strong recommendation, express your regret and suggest that someone else would be in a better position to do so. Avoid any derogatory comments. Avoid expression of personal opinions, unless they are complimentary or would essentially be helpful to the candidate.

Steps

1. Explain in an inoffensive way that you cannot or would rather not write the letter.

Sentences

  • 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.

Phrases

  • 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.

Sentences

  • 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!

Phrases

  • 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

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