I am applying to Navy Officers Candidate School, and two of the men that I have petitioned for letters of recommendation have requested that I write my own letter of rec., and email it to them for their final approval and signature. Now from my understanding, this is quite common. My question is, do you have any tips for writing your own letter of recommendation? Also, are there any active duty or retired members of the Armed Services that have any tips as to what the military is seeking in a letter of recommendation?

I appreciate the help!


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My Boss did the same thing to me when I was looking at going back to school.  My suggestion is to look up the write up about the school's program and what they are looking for.  Then address the aspects of you that related to that write up.  Include factual quantitative statements to back up any qualitative statements.  


I can only speak from the Air Force side of things, but what we have for writing is a document called the Tongue and Quill that outlines how to do professional writing. My guess is that the Navy has a similar document that you could probably find online. 

In general, the advice I would give is pretty simple: Don't add fluff, and keep it direct. When talking about your awards or accomplishments, say what you did, who you did it with, and what the results were. The military is looking for the "whole person" to be an officer. So mention your achievements in your academics, athletics, and community. If you don't have direct leadership experience, talk about when you've been an active follower. 

Your goal is to paint a picture of yourself as a potential officer in a clear, specific, concise manner. 

Best of luck at getting into OCS!

Thanks for your input. I think I underestimated the extent to which these men would alter my letters. While I provided them both with relatively complete letters, the end result was drastically different and better than the original letters that I had drafted. I'm confident that my application package is strong, now only time will tell if I'm accepted into the program!


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