Use standard formal letter writing conventions to begin. A letter of recommendation is like any other professional communication, and follows the same general rules and guidelines. Place your address on the top right, followed by the date—spelled out. Below that, on the left, place the recipient’s name (if known) and address. Open the letter with a formal business greeting. Ex: Dear Ms. Smith, Dear Sir or Madam, (if you don’t know the recipient’s name)
How can I go about getting good letters of recommendation? Since your best letters will come from those who know you well, make an effort to get to know your professors and/or supervisors. A few ways you can do this are to speak up in class, select courses with small class sizes, take more than one class from a professor, do research for a professor, take on optional projects, and regularly attend office hours. The best strategy you can use to get a good letter of recommendation, particularly if a professor hasn’t known you long, is to provide your letter writer with ample information about you. This way, you will get a letter that includes concrete details about you, instead of a letter that contains only your grade, which is of limited value.