Reference Letter

How to write a reference letter? What do you write in a reference letter? Download this work letter of reference template now.

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Overview

A Reference letter is a document designed to add extra weight and merit to a job, project, or college application. An effective reference letter can make the difference between securing an opportunity and being passed on for the next candidate. Unlike professional references, a personal reference letter is about getting to know a candidate beyond work ethic. It emphasizes positive personality traits and extracurricular activities. They are usually written by a supervisor, colleague, teacher, or friend. There are various different types of recommendation letters, but the three main ones are those for employment, for university applications, and character references.

How do you write a good reference letter? 

  • Start using the business letter format: put the recipient’s name and address, if known, and address them as “Dear [name]”. If the recipient is currently unknown (this would be likely on an academic application, for instance), then use “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To whom it may concern”.
  • It is often helpful to introduce yourself in the first couple of lines of your letter. The recipient will not need your life history: just give a brief sentence or two explaining your position and your relationship to the candidate.
    Your next paragraph should confirm any facts which you know the candidate will be supplied along with your letter. For example, if you are writing a reference for a job applicant, some or all of these details may be appropriate:
    • The person’s job title, and role within the company.
    • The person’s leaving salary when they were last employed by you (or your organization).
    • The dates which the person was employed from and until.
  • If you are writing a reference letter for an academic course, you will need to confirm the person’s academic grades.
  • In your third paragraph, you should provide your judgment upon the candidate’s skills and qualities. It is often appropriate to state that you would gladly re-employ them, or that their contributions to your college class were highly valued. Single out any exceptional qualities that the candidate has – perhaps their drive and enthusiasm, their attention to detail, or their ability to lead.
  • Where possible, use your fourth paragraph to give a couple of concrete examples of times when the candidate excelled. (You may want to ask the candidate to tell you about any extra-curricular projects they’ve been involved in, or invite them to highlight anything they’d particularly like you to include in the reference letter.)

Reference Letter sample sentences:

When writing a reference letter, you may use the following content:

Salutation

For a formal email or letter, you want to use:

  • To Whom It May Concern 
  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • Dear Mr./Ms. Name
Introduction


The first paragraph of the reference letter template explains your connection to the person you are recommending, including how you know them, and why you are qualified to write a reference letter to recommend employment or graduate school. 

  • I have known {{Name}} through him/her work experience with our firm during the past summer, when he/she served as an Auditor Intern in our {{Location}} office.
  • I am writing to recommend {{Name}} for the position of administrative assistant at {{Organization}}. I have had the opportunity to work with {{Name}} for the past few years at Industries, and have been consistently impressed with her diligence, efficiency, and ability to get things done.
  • Most recently, {{Name}} has worked for me directly as a receptionist in our main office. In this role, she performed many administrative tasks in addition to greeting customers and other visitors and organizing team events. For example, she currently manages our executive team’s schedules and organizes their appointments, as well as coordinating travel and expense reporting. 
  • I believe that {{Name}} would be an excellent addition to your administrative staff. I have been consistently impressed with her organizational skills and grace under pressure. In our industry, as you know, every position is a customer service position. {{Name}} constantly seeks to learn more about our products and programs so that she can help serve our clients and mitigate issues as they come up. She is also a quick learner who picks up new technology with great speed.
  • I strongly recommend {{Name}} for the position of administrative assistant at your company. She is organized, detail-oriented, effective, and committed to getting the job done. She would make an excellent addition to your team.
  • {{Name}} became immediately involved in the annual audit of {{Company}}, conducting much of the accounting research required for the audit. In addition to gathering the financial information, {{Name}} was instrumental in the development of the final certification report. 
  • As President of {{University}}, I am extremely pleased to be able to recommend {{Mr/Miss}} {{Name}} for the Scholarship in...
  • {{Name}} has been my executive assistant for the past four years.
Body
The second paragraph of the reference letter template contains specific information on the person you are writing about, including why they are qualified, what they can contribute, and why you are providing a reference letter. If necessary, use more than one paragraph to provide details:
  • {{Name}} also participated in several other smaller audits, including her instrumental role in the quarterly audit of {{organization}}, where she developed several Excel macros to audit the inputs.
  • Name has shown the kind of initiative which is necessary to be successful over the long term in the public accounting field.
  • He/She has excellent forensic accounting skills yet remains focused on the overall needs of the client.
  • I believe he/she will be a strong Auditor and has an excellent future in the public accounting field.
  • He/She is a conscientious worker and has an excellent work ethic. 
  • I have only known {{Name}} for about two years but have had the opportunity to see her on many occasions, performing with exceptional skill for a person of her age.
  • {{Name}} has recently completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree and is understandably interested in a position that challenges her growing skills and abilities. 
  • She is highly competent, well-organized, outgoing, and an excellent communicator. {{Name}} redesigned the office scheduling system, which increased efficiency and improved communication for everyone involved. She completes all her work with warmth, insight, and professionalism.
    • {{Name}} is responsible for maintaining the smooth operation of my office, which involves in-depth communication with customers, interpreting strategy for senior staff in my absence, and keeping me on the task in a fast-paced, high-stress environment.
      • This is an outstanding young man/woman with exceptional leadership skills, particularly good interpersonal skills, and a wonderful work ethic.
        • We were also lucky to have her as a summer student during the summer of {{Year}} and I was delighted with her initiative and overall work habits.
          • She did an outstanding job and received many compliments on her oratorical skills. {{Name}} was then selected to attend the {{Leadership Conference}} in {{Location}} where she represented the whole western region.
            • {{Name}} was chosen out of all our delegates to make a speech at the conference where our Chairman announced our new initiatives for student development which will include international travel opportunities.
              • This is based not only on her exceptional sales but also her ability to think on her feet and communicate company initiatives in a way that promotes teamwork and product knowledge.
                • At our annual awards night {{Name}} was named salesperson of the year by the {{Name}} Association.
                  • He/She did an outstanding job communicating with her team and providing them with direction on this pilot project.
                    • This was our first experience with a student company running an international business.
                      • {{Name}} proved herself very capable as a leader through her role as President of the company that was twinned with a student leadership program in {{Location}}.
                        • {{Organization}} provides leadership development initiatives to students by means of introducing them to business practices and allowing them to run their own companies for the course of the term
                          ClosingWhen writing a specific letter referring a candidate for a particular job opening, the reference letter template will include information on how the person's skills match the position they are applying for. Ask for a copy of the job posting and a copy of the person's resume so you can target your reference letter accordingly. Then close with an appropriate salutation:
                          • We would gladly have hired {{Name}} upon graduation if he/she were open to working in the {{Location}} area.
                          • Please feel free to contact me at {{Telephone number}} if you have any questions.
                          • I recommend {{Name}} to you without reservation. If you have any further questions regarding his/her background or qualifications, please do not hesitate to call me.
                          • I regret that we have no such position to offer her at {{Organization}}. Our loss will be another organization’s gain.
                          • I highly recommend {{Name}}. Should you wish to discuss my recommendation further, please do not hesitate to call. Thanking you.
                          • I am sure she will benefit from your scholarship and represent your organization well through her work.
                          • Should you have any questions concerning {{Name}}, please contact me directly at {{phone number}} or email: {{email}}.
                          • Sincerely and your name.
                          • Yours faithfully,
                          • Best Regards,
                          • Add 3-4 lines between your salutation and place the Signature

                          Enclosures:

                          If you’re adding extra documents as enclosures, be sure to note them in the Enclosures section of the letter at the end (see our sample)

                          After downloading this reference letter template and filling in the blanks, you can easily customize the style, typography, details, and appearance of your persona recommendation or reference letter. If this isn't the right letter template that you are looking for, then certainly take a look at the other letters that Bizzlibrary.com has to offer. We have many letters ranging from cover letters to business letters and thank you notes.


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