Tuesday, June 12, 2012

letters 02

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Of the more than two million annual visitors to my two main "writing help" Web sites, over 60% of them are looking for some type of letter-writing assistance, and of those, 50% are seeking help with writing a "letter of recommendation" or "letter of reference."

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Why do so many people need help with recommendation letters over and above all other types of letters, you might ask? Well, the main reason is this - they are BY FAR the most difficult letters to write. The main reasons are as follows:

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LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION ARE KEY

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Letters of recommendation invariably have important implications because they are key to being accepted (or NOT) for such things as: jobs and promotions, college and university program admission, membership in clubs and associations, qualification for awards and scholarships, financial assistance approvals, entrance into special programs, etc.

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The consequences for messing up a letter of recommendation can be gravely serious, and can actually change the course of a person's life - either your own life, or that of another person about whom you are writing the letter. (Just imagine screwing up someone's life because you wouldn't take the time or trouble to get a recommendation letter right!).

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WHY SO MUCH CONFUSION?

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There is a great deal of confusion about the whole subject of writing "recommendation letters". Many people have no idea of the differences and/or similarities among the various types of testimonial letters: recommendation letters, letters of recommendation, reference letters, letters of reference, commendation letters, performance evaluation letters, recognition letters, etc.

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So, BEFORE you go any further, please let me briefly clarify a few points on this whole recommendation letter and/or reference letter issue so that you don't go charging down the wrong path unnecessarily, and end up with the wrong information about how to write the wrong type of letter for your situation.

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It so happens that there IS a lot of confusion about the differences and similarities between letters of recommendation letters and letters of reference. For instance; which is which, and why? How are they different? In what ways are they similar?

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It's confusing enough for the average person who only has to write one of these letters every once in a while. However, when you look into it in-depth as I have, and realize that many of the so-called "experts" don't even know the differences between a recommendation letter and a reference letter, the general state of confusion is very understandable.

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letters

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