The most effective letters of recommendation are written by professors or work supervisors who know you well enough to describe your academic, personal, or professional achievements and potential with candor, detail, and objectivity. Letters that compare you to your academic peers are often the most useful. Most schools do not consider general, unreservedly praiseworthy letters helpful.
It’s always a smart idea to offer to write a letter of recommendation for a colleague who you know is well qualified for the job in question. Consider it good career karma; after all, you never know when you’ll need a letter of recommendation for yourself, and your colleague may be happy to return the favor.