Get feedback. If you’re not sure of your letter-writing skills, or if your letter will carry a great deal of weight for the candidate’s application, ask for feedback from a trusted colleague who may also know the candidate. If you are putting your reputation on the line for this person, you want to put your best foot forward with this letter.
Break down the letter into short, but specific, paragraphs. Don’t ramble, but do flesh out your key points. Try to keep it at one page, covering the various aspects of their recommendation in brief, specific detail.