How to Write a Good Recommendation/ Reference/ Testimonial for Someone – in English

How to Write a Good Recommendation/ Reference/ Testimonial for Someone – in English

When someone asks you to write a recommendation (also called a reference or a testimonial) for them, and you need to write it in English, what do you do?

Do you just write a stupid one-liner like

Doing business with Jack was awesome. He is very dedicated

I worked with Jack to design my website and he was really good. I will use him again.

Working with Jack made us the leader in our market



These kind of recommendations are very generic and if someone really did a good service for you, they deserve better!

So, I know that writing in English is a challenge for you but people deserve good recommendations – their business depends on it.

So here is my help to you on how you can write an amazing testimonial in English, very very easily 🙂

Keep your recommendation more than 20 words but within 50 words. And structure it like this –

who you are  — basically, what you do in the context of what Jack’s business is into. As an example, if Jack is a web designer, then you start by saying for what need you went to Jack. Or if Jack is a landscape artist, what project did you go to him for.

when did you work with that person

what was the result likeThe website was exactly as I had imagined it!

The website was better than my expectation!

The website immediately increased the number of visitors.

what was the working experience like Jack informed me so much about websites that I could never even have imagined without his guidance.

Jack was full of ideas and was also so receptive to my ideas, and he combined them so empathetically. He is a dream.

But what if Jack was not a dream? What would you say then? What if Jack was some average web designer – the kind of designer anyone get easily get in any corner of their city?

Then, what do you say?

You say…

I got just what I had expected from Jack. My website came out better than it was before and made me look professional.



What if you don’t want to give Jack a recommendation because you think his work was shitty?

What will you do in that case if Jack asks you to write a testimonial for him and you really don’t want to. Because you hardly have anything nice to say about him and you don’t want to mislead other people into doing business with him?

Tricky situation.

Isn’t it?

Of course you don’t want to get into a confrontation with Jack by telling him that you were glad that the project with him was over and you would never choose him again. It was difficult to stay calm during the project itself and that was enough.

Then, you write to him this email –

Hey Jack,

I’m so honoured you sent me the request to write your recommendation. First, all my congratulations to you for constantly aiming to grow yourself. I am proud of you for it and in that spirit, you have my support.

As I started collecting my thoughts on what I could write for you, I realized that I’m not the best person to write your recommendation. We did work together closely, yes, but the reason my recommendation will not work the best for your goals is because I realize that we approach our duties from very different standpoints which, while working together was good for creative problem solving, but for a recommendation may not provide the best convincing comments and evidences.

I wanted to inform you this as early as I could so that you can use your time preciously and establish a better replacement for your recommendation.

I know my decision might come out as unexpected or awkward but this is really what I believe will be best for the achievement of your goals, and thus I decided to be honest with you.

All the best for your success,

[Your name]


What do you think? Share your ideas with me.


Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s