At some point in life, you’re practically certainly going to need to write a referral letter because that someone. It can be a previous employee or student, or even a family friend. Here’s what you have to know about the function of recommendation letters and also how to write the most reliable letter possible.

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Note: I will certainly be utilizing “candidate” to refer to the human being who the referral letter is about, “you” to refer to the human being writing the reference letter, and also “recipient” to refer to the human receiving the letter. I’ll emphasize here, though, that reference letters are not just for task or academic “candidates”, it’s simply a comfortable term to use to keep this short article straightforward!

What is a referral letter and also when are they used?

A referral letter is normally written to testify come a human being or (occasionally) a company’s skills, personality and/or achievements. sometimes a referral letter is known as a “recommendation letter”. It is a officially document, and should it is in typed and also written in a serious and also business-like style.

Reference letters are provided in a wide range of situations; over there is no definitive list that covers all possible scenarios. The most typical examples are:

When a candidate uses for a job, they may need a recommendation to assistance their application.If one interviewee is provided a task offer, they might need to supply a reference letter before the contract have the right to be signed.A student using for an scholastic course frequently requires a recommendation letter to support their application.A student using for resources will often need to supply reference letters.Companies might use reference letters as testimonies to their trustworthiness and capability to carry out a task well.Prospective tenants might need to administer their landlord through a recommendation letter, testifying come their great financial status. (This could be native a prior landlord or from a present employer.)

Who should write a referral letter?

If you are approached and asked to write a recommendation letter because that a task candidate, a college student or a company, think about whether you have the right to legitimately carry out so. A reference letter is a officially document, and it is crucial that you do not lie or fudge the fact in it, or there might be legal repercussions. If someone wants a referral letter native you:

The candidate must be who you recognize reasonably well. For example, girlfriend cannot administer any authoritative talk about the academic ability of a college student who’s just been attending your lectures because that a week.You should recognize the candidate in a volume which offers you the capability to create a meaningful reference. Because that example, if friend have worked with the person, it would certainly be appropriate for friend to create a reference letter come a prospective employer for them.You need to be maybe to carry out an honest and also positive reference. If you important feel the the candidate has actually no an excellent qualities because that you come emphasis, or if you have had a personality clash through them in the past, you need to tell them to look for a referral letter from someone else.

What goes right into a reference letter?

The specific structure the a reference letter will certainly differ slightly depending on the form of reference it is, however this is a good basic outline:

It is often beneficial to introduce yourself in the first couple of currently of her letter. The recipient will certainly not need your life history: just offer a short sentence or 2 explaining your position and also your partnership to the candidate.Your next paragraph have to confirm any type of facts i beg your pardon you know the candidate will be supplying together with your letter. For example, if you room writing a referral for a job applicant, part 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 to be last work by you (or her organisation).The dates which the human being was employed from and also until.

If you space writing a recommendation letter for an scholastic course, girlfriend will should confirm the person’s scholastic grades.In your third paragraph, you should provide your judgement ~ above the candidate’s an abilities and qualities. That is often ideal to state that you would certainly gladly re-employ them, or that their contribute to her college class were extremely valued. Single out any exceptional features that the candidate has actually – probably their drive and also enthusiasm, their attention to detail, or their ability to lead.Where possible, use your fourth paragraph to provide a pair of concrete examples of times when the candidate excelled. (You might want to ask the candidate come tell you about any extra-curricular jobs they’ve been connected in, or invite lock to highlight anything they’d an especially like friend to include in the referral letter.)Close your letter ~ above a confident note, and if you space willing to receive additional correspondence about the candidate’s application, do this clear. Encompass your call details too.As with any type of business letter, girlfriend should end appropriately; “Yours sincerely” once you room writing to a called recipient, and “Yours faithfully” when you do not know who will certainly be receiving the letter.Things to avoid

Make sure that you avoid:

Mentioning any kind of weaknesses the candidate has.Saying something that could be interpreted as libel.Writing in casual manner: save the letter business-like. Jokes, slang and also casual language room not appropriate and also may damage the candidate’s chances.Including personal information not pertinent to the application. Mentioning the candidate’s race, political stance, religion, nationality, marital status, age or health and wellness is commonly inappropriate.Spelling mistakes, sloppy composing or typos: this letter is hugely important to the candidate, and you have to take care to make it look professional.

Reference Letter Examples

There are a number of good templates for reference letters easily accessible on organization Balls. I’ve contained one below, which would certainly be proper for a general-purpose referral – if you were creating a referral in your capacity as the candidate’s previous employer, girlfriend would have to include much more specific details:


To who it might concern

I check that I have known (name) because that (number) years.

(State relationship – social, business, working together in some other capacity, club, activity, project, etc.)

At every times i have uncovered (name/him/her) to be (state qualities – eg, dependable, reliable, hard-working, conscientious, honest, peace-loving, courteous, etc – to it is in as beneficial as possible think around what the reader will most prefer come see, in regards to satisfying concerns, or seeing evidence of pertinent required skills or characteristics).

I’m happy to provide further information if required. (optional)

Yours faithfully, etc.

You can uncover examples of full reference letter on’s “job searching” section. They perform letters ideal for a selection of various situations: this is one indigenous a previous employer in assistance of a job candidate:

To who it might Concern:

I highly recommend woman Doe together a candidate because that employment. Jane was employed by company Name as an governmental Assistant indigenous 2002 – 2005. Jane to be responsible for office support consisting of word processing, scheduling appointments and also creating brochures, newsletters, and other office literature.

Jane has excellent communication skills. In addition, she is exceptionally organized, reliable and also computer literate. Jane deserve to work independently and is able come follow through to ensure that the project gets done. She is flexible and willing to occupational on any type of project the is assigned come her. Woman was fast to volunteer to aid in other locations of agency operations, as well.

Jane would certainly be a tremendous asset for your company and has actually my highest recommendation. If friend have any type of further concerns with to the to her background or qualifications, please perform not hesitate to speak to me.


John SmithTitleCompanyAddressPhoneEmail

If you room still unsure what ideal to include in the referral letter, imagine yourself in the place of the candidate’s prospective employer, or the the panel analysis his/her scholastic application. What details would they need to know? What features would they like their candidates to have? Obviously, you should never lie or mislead in a referral letter, yet you should shot to focus on locations which will give the recipient the most beneficial information possible about the candidate.

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How to Ask because that a recommendation Letter

If she in the position of requiring a referral from a previous employer or from someone that taught friend at school or university, then you need to strategy them in an suitable way.

“Appropriate” might be fairly formal or quite informal, depending upon your partnership with them. Because that instance, if she approaching a lecturer that taught you together with dozens of various other students and also who walk not recognize you well, it’s appropriate to be rather formal; if you approaching your former line manager, who you mutual nights out and also weekends away with for years, climate being formal would certainly seem strangely standoffish.

In a fairly formal context, you could write something prefer this:

Dear (name)

I hope all is going well (at their agency / in your department).

I’m applying for (give brief details of the role or place you’re applying for). Would certainly you be able to carry out a referral letter for me? I’d be very grateful. You deserve to send it to  (add the name and contact details here)

With many thanks in advance,

(Your name)

If you approaching someone who you’re on really friendly terms with, that really approximately you to decision what to say.

Whatever the situation, it often makes sense to mention details points that it would certainly be valuable for the reference to covering (e.g. “The agency is especially keen come know around my suffer with summarising facility information quickly, together that will certainly be a significant part that the role.”)

It can also be advantageous to include details that the human writing the letter may not be aware of. Because that instance, if you took part in significant extra-curricular activities at university alongside your studies, you might want to cite this.

Writing a recommendation Letter: quick Summary

When you’re creating a recommendation letter, you should:

Ascertain why the referee requirements the letter. A recommendation letter for an academic position will read very different native a recommendation letter for a prospective landlord.Consider even if it is you have the right to reasonably provide the kind of recommendation required. If you do not understand the candidate well, or if you space unable to provide them a confident reference, you must encourage lock to look for someone else.Format your letter together a standard organization letter, and briefly introduce yourself in ~ the start.Confirm an essential facts about the applicant (e.g. Exactly how long they operated for you, and also in what role).Provide her judgement ~ above the candidate’s an abilities and qualities. Be honest, however do emphasis on the points that girlfriend feel will reflect the candidate in a hopeful light.

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If you’re asking someone to carry out a referral letter, you should technique them in an proper way, and give them the details they require in order to compose you a good reference.