Open with a short, but enthusiastic, bit of praise. Let the company know right off the bat that you believe in this person. You don’t have to be over the top or insincere, but a positive note to start will make a big difference. It makes me extremely happy to recommend Michael for the position of Director of Development at XYX Corporation. Any company should count themselves lucky to have an employee as bright, friendly, and dedicated as Gina. No matter what she does, Helena Bonham does it well.
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.