Earning a Letter of Recommendation: An Intern’s Guide to Career Success

One of the great honors of your internship is to receive a letter of recommendation from your supervisor. This letter can help you in procuring a position later in your career.

Here is a snippet of a letter of recommendation that can propel your future career:

“My professional and personal time with Mr. Smith has always been positive and effective. He is trustworthy, reliable, and hard-working. He exudes all the confidence and qualities of a successful intern all while remaining humble. His smile brightens everyone’s day. He will definitely succeed in any hospitality program and position.”

This one paragraph sums up what you as an intern should strive for: trustworthy, reliable, and hard-working.

How do you earn a letter of recommendation?

A great letter of recommendation is not an easy thing to come by. Maintaining a good report during your internship takes work. Whether you realize it or not, each day you arrive to work, you are being graded on many different elements.

It’s important to understand each element and how it pertains to your job and performance.


An intern or employee who hopes to gain respect and ultimately earn a letter of recommendation should practice good working habits such as punctuality.  All the training you receive in school will help you perform your job. But if you don’t show up to work on time, your reputation as a good worker will diminish.

But punctuality isn’t just about arriving for your shift on time. You should show up to work ready to work. Your uniform should be clean and wrinkle free. Your hair should be styled and work appropriate.

In short, you should be completely ready to work when your shift begins.

Work performance

Showing up for work on time is a big part of being an employee worth writing about. But if you’re hoping to earn a letter of recommendation, you have to give your supervisor something positive to go on.

A solid work performance fits right in line with this.

Good customer service is the key element to work performance. This requires sincerity, manners, and empathy. Your boss needs to know you will be able to handle complaints from guests in a friendly, professional manner.

Performing your tasks without complaint, leaving personal problems outside of your job, and being a likeable employee are top categories of a solid worker. Striving to be this type of intern will allow you to leave a positive impression on your boss.

The extra mile

Performing your tasks to the letter is a great way to start out your internship. But as you become more comfortable in your job setting, taking your skills up a notch can set you apart. Going the extra mile to make sure your job is done in a positive way will do just that.

This can be something as simple as performing a task before you’re asked. Or, helping another coworker with a project they’re falling behind on. Jumping in to give a helping hand is not only the right thing to do, but it shows your level of commitment to excellence.

Working for it

Employers are always on the lookout for reliable, hard-working employees who have a passion for their craft. They need an employee who strives for success in all they do and encourages others to take the same path. These employees often promote to higher positions and become leaders.

While seemingly simple, these little details add up to create a bigger picture of your work ethic. An employee who leaves a positive mark on their workplace is ultimately the one who is remembered most. A memorable employee is more likely to receive a better letter of recommendation than one who had a mediocre performance.

Your internship is not just about getting a great letter of recommendation. But if you use your time correctly, a letter from your supervisor can ultimately land you a dream job later on.

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