Writing Your Own Letter of Recommendation?!


My externship instructor offered to some of us letters of recommendation. I just contacted him so that I could take him up on this offer and he told me to just write the letter and he'll sign it. This completely threw me for a loop but I just finished the letter. Has anyone had to do this before? Also, I'm applying for multiple jobs, do I need to include the date on the letter? How important is it that I address it to a specific job? As I want to apply to numerous jobs so I cant ask him to sign multiple ones.


1,761 Posts

Specializes in Neuro, Telemetry. Has 8 years experience.

Its not unethical and more common than you might think. Many instructors get requests for quite a few of these and shouldn't have to take even more time out of their schedule to write one. They also might not remember all of someone's strengths with no help. They want to see the person requesting the reference put in some effort. From my experience, the instructor will have the person requesting write the reference letter. The instructor will then proof read it before signing. From there I have seen that they either reject it for edits or sign it.

This is a great opportunity to write yourself a very personal and strong reference letter as long as you are truthful. You can highlight your strengths and ensure that you don't just get a run of the mill, one size fits all reference letter.

EllaBella1, BSN

377 Posts

Specializes in ICU. Has 8 years experience.

I've done it before too. It's not really unethical because the person is still signing the letter, taking ownership of what is written, and endorsing you through it. It would be unethical to write your own and sign it in their name without their knowledge.

I wouldn't address it to any specific jobs. I would just make sure it mentions a paragraph highlighting your skills and what type of position you want. For example my reference letter from my clinical preceptorship instructor has a line that says this:

"It seems that critical care or a busy medical/surgical floor would be a perfect fit because she is impeccably organized, thorough, has excellent critical thinking skills, learns quickly..." etc. My letter also mentions that my preceptorship placement was in the MICU, which is where I wanted to work, and where I ultimately ended up finding a job.

Do include the date that it was written, but don't change it for each application.