A reference letter is used to endorse someone and provide an overview of their skills, ability, knowledge, and character. These letters are often required during aacademic or job application. Since a reference letter is one of the few pieces of an application that isn’t directly provided by the candidate, it can carry a lot of weight.Letter readers look to references for insight into a candidate. This article will show you everything you need to know about a reference letter to help you write one yourself.
Reference letters and letters of recommendation can make or break a job search. It takes time to write a good letter and this list of key elements will help you draft a good reference letter.
1. Stay positive, honest, and personal. Use real stories or observations about your work experience with the job seeker. Of course, objective facts are important but they must be balanced with personal reflections about the candidate.
2. Qualify yourself early in every reference letter you write. Say what qualifies you to give such a reference and testament to the caliber employee this job seeker would be. Be sure to write about when you met and how long you have known the job seeker.
3. State the nature of the relationship you’ve had with the job seeker. Were you a boss, a mentor, a colleague, or a peer? What was the chain of command? Did you report to them? Did they report to you? Were you on a project team together? Many people make the mistake of thinking that they can only ask people who were senior to them for reference letters, when, in fact, anyone of reputable background is a perfect fit.
4. State why the opportunity to support this job seeker excites you and say how you feel about being asked to write this reference letter.
5. Identify which two or three specific behaviors and qualities which, in your opinion, are most meaningful to the employer. Be sure to use keywords and phrases that show the job seeker as someone who is always willing to go above and beyond, is reliable and dedicated who influences others positively, demonstrates exemplary behavior, and achieves outstanding outcomes.
6. Why would the job seeker be a good fit for the organization in question? How could they bring value to the bottom line? Here is your opportunity to write about specific job skills that would be of value to the company. You could identify a past work experience with the job seeker that would be a specific example of the type of contribution the job seeker could make.
7. Write about your willingness to work with the job seeker again.
8. Share your availability for follow up. Let the employer know how to contact you directly in order to follow up.
9. When writing a reference letter, it is not the time to err on the side of brevity. Be superfluous. Be long-winded. Be relevant.
Use the following format as a guide for writing your own personalized reference letters to make sure that all relevant information is included.
1. Contact Information: When you’re writing a hard copy letter to be mailed, uploaded or sent as an attachment, include your contact information and the recipients at the top of the letter. If you are sending an email reference, include your contact information in your signature.
2. Subject: If you are sending an email reference, list the name of the person you are writing a reference for in the subject line.
3. Salutation: If you are writing a personal letter of reference, include a salutation. If you are writing a general reference letter, use “To Whom it May Concern” or simply don’t include a salutation.
4. First Paragraph: The first paragraph of the reference letter explains your connection to the person you are recommending, including how you know them, how long you have known then, and why you are qualified to write a reference letter to recommend some for employment or graduate school.
5. Second Paragraph: The second paragraph of the reference letter contains specific information on the person you are writing about, including why they are qualified for the job, what they can contribute, and why you are providing a reference letter. Be sure to use specific examples to speak about their qualifications. If necessary, use more than one paragraph to provide details.
6. Summary: This section of the reference letter, typically written right before the conclusion, contains a brief summary of why you are recommending the person. State that you highly recommend him, or that you recommend the person without reservation, or anything similar.
7. Conclusion: The concluding paragraph of the reference letter contains an offer to provide more information, should they need it. Include a phone number within the paragraph. Also, include your phone number and email address in the return address section of your letter or in your signature. If it is an email, include your contact information underneath your name in the signature.
First of all, you need to understand the job that is being handed to you. Writing a reference letter for someone is a big responsibility since it’s their career in line. Think before saying yes. Before agreeing to write the letter. Make sure that you feel that you can write a positive letter of reference for this person. Otherwise, it’s best to turn down the request for a recommendation.
1. Request information. It is a good idea to ask the person for a copy of their resume or CV, even if you have known them for a long time. They may have new accreditation or achievements, and you want to provide as much current information as possible. This will also help give you guidelines to use when composing the letter.
2. Get all the details. Along with asking for information about the candidate, get all the information you need about how to submit the letter. Ask to whom the letter should be sent, when the deadline is, and what format the letter should take. Also, ask if there are any particulars that should be included in the letter.
3. Length. A letter of recommendation should be more than one or two paragraphs. Too short and you may give out the impression that you either do not know the person very well, or you do not fully endorse them. But you also want to keep the letter concise and focus on a few key points, so avoid writing more than one page. Three or four paragraphs that explain how you know the person and why you are recommending them is an appropriate length.
4. Format. A recommendation letter should be single-spaced with a space between each paragraph. Use about 1″ margins for the top, bottom, left, and right of the page, and align your text to the left.
5. Font. Use a traditional font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. The font size should be between 10 and 12 points, so it remains easy to read. Adjusting the font size is a good way of keeping your letter to a single page.
6. Edit. Be sure to read through your letter before sending it. You can have someone else edit the letter, but conceal the candidate’s name to preserve his privacy.
Recommendation letters are used by many people for many different occasions, but there are three basic categories of recommendation letters.
Academic letters of recommendation are typically used by students during the admissions process. During admissions, most schools, undergraduates and graduates alike, expect to see at least one, preferably two or three, recommendation letters for each applicant. Recommendation letters provide admission committees with information that may or may not be found in a college application, including academic and work achievements, character references, and personal details.
Students can request recommendations from former teachers, principals, deans, coaches, and other education professionals who are familiar with the student’s academic experience or extracurricular achievements. Other recommenders may include employers, community leaders, or mentors.
Letters of recommendation are often used by individuals who are trying to get a new job. Recommendations can be put on a website, sent in with a resume, supplied when an application is filled out, used as part of a portfolio, or handed out during employment interviews. Most employers ask job candidates for at least three career references. Therefore, it’s a good idea for job seekers to have at least three recommendation letters readied.
Generally, employment recommendation letters include information about employment history, job performance, work ethic, and personal accomplishments. The letters are usually written by former (or current employers) or a direct supervisor. Coworkers are also acceptable, but not as desirable as employers or supervisors.
Job applicants who do not have enough formal work experience to secure recommendations from an employer or supervisor should seek a recommendation from a community or volunteer organizations. Academic mentors are also an option.
Character recommendations or character references are often used for housing accommodations, legal situations, child adoptions, and other similar situations where a person’s character may be called into question. Almost everyone needs this type of recommendation letter at some point in their life. These recommendation letters are often written by former employers, landlords, business associates, neighbors, doctors, or acquaintances. The most appropriate person varies depending on what the letter of recommendation will be used for.
A professional reference is typically a current or former employer, colleague, or client, vendor, supervisor, or someone else who has firsthand knowledge and can recommend you for employment.
To Whom It May Concern: Use only when you do not know to whom you must address the letter, for example, when writing to an institution. “Dear Sir/Madam” can be used when writing to a position without having a named contact.
The reference letter you write has a certain impact on the application results of your letter’s subject. Make sure the results you create are positive and helpful by bearing in mind the tipswe have discussed.