Reference Letter

Last Updated: April 28, 2024

Reference Letter

In the processes of recruitment and selection, there are several requirements that are essential to be submitted by candidates in a timely manner. One of which is the reference letter. Requirements are set by companies depending on the hiring guidelines and recruitment regulations that they follow.

These requirements may also vary on the job position that is needed to be filled or the demands of the division or department where the applicant will be positioned in if he or she will be hired. Most, if not all, companies require their applicants to provide a reference letter as this document can impact the impression of the screening committee regarding the potential and qualifications of the candidates.

What is Reference Letter?

A reference letter is a document that talks about someone’s skills, character, and achievements. It’s like a friend or a teacher telling others how good you are at something or how nice a person you are. This letter helps when you’re trying to get a job, get into a school, or join a group because it’s like having someone vouch for you, saying you’re a great choice.

Reference Letter Format


  • Your Name
  • Your Position
  • Your Company/Organization
  • Your Address
  • City, State, Zip Code
  • Your Email Address
  • Your Phone Number
  • Date


  • If you know the recipient’s name: Dear Mr./Ms. [Last Name],
  • If you do not know the recipient’s name: To Whom It May Concern,


  • Your relationship to the applicant.
  • How long you have known the applicant.
  • In what capacity (e.g., professional, academic).

Body Paragraph(s)

  • First Paragraph: Briefly describe the applicant’s overall qualifications, strengths, and why they are suitable for the opportunity.
  • Second Paragraph (and any additional ones): Provide specific examples of the applicant’s achievements, skills, and qualities. Highlight their responsibilities, contributions, and impact.
  • Include personal qualities or soft skills (leadership, teamwork, reliability) that make them stand out.


  • Summarize why you recommend the person and to what extent.
  • Offer to provide further information if needed.


  • Sincerely,
  • [Your Signature (if sending a hard copy)]
  • Your Printed Name
  • Your Position

Reference Letter Example

Jane Doe
Senior Manager
Widgets Inc.
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 12345
[email protected]
February 23, 2024


To Whom It May Concern,


I am pleased to write this letter in recommendation of John Smith, who has applied for the position of Marketing Specialist at your company. As John’s direct supervisor for the past four years at Widgets Inc., I have observed his remarkable professionalism, creativity, and dedication to excellence.


John has been an essential part of our marketing team, demonstrating exceptional skills in project management and digital marketing strategies. He successfully led a project that increased our website traffic by 40% within six months, showcasing his ability to effectively analyze market trends and implement successful marketing campaigns.


Beyond his technical skills, John’s ability to work collaboratively with teammates and clients alike sets him apart. He has consistently demonstrated leadership by mentoring new team members, fostering a positive and productive team environment. His excellent communication skills have enabled him to present complex information in an accessible manner, both in writing and verbally, to a diverse range of stakeholders.


I am confident that John’s proactive approach and unwavering commitment to achieving results will make him a valuable asset to your team. He not only brings with him a wealth of professional experience but also a level of enthusiasm and innovation that can drive your company to new heights.


Please feel free to contact me if you require further information or clarification regarding John’s qualifications and achievements. I am eager to provide any assistance that may contribute to your decision-making process.




[Signature if sending a hard copy]


Jane Doe
Senior Manager
Widgets Inc.

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Reference Letter Sample for Job

Alicia Martinez
Director of Engineering
Tech Innovations Ltd.
456 Innovation Drive
Tech City, CA 67890
[email protected]
(789) 555-0123
February 23, 2024


Dear Hiring Manager,


I am writing to highly recommend Michael Johnson for the position of Senior Software Engineer within your organization. As the Director of Engineering at Tech Innovations Ltd., I had the pleasure of working with Michael for over five years, during which he distinguished himself as a highly skilled and dedicated professional.


Michael has been instrumental in the design, development, and implementation of several key projects, notably the launch of our flagship product, which has since become the leading software in its category. His technical expertise in software development, coupled with his innovative approach to problem-solving, has significantly contributed to our company’s success.


What sets Michael apart is not just his technical abilities but also his leadership qualities and team spirit. He mentored junior developers, fostering a collaborative team environment that enhanced our department’s productivity and morale. Michael’s ability to communicate complex technical concepts in an easily understandable manner made him a go-to person for both his team members and clients.


Beyond his professional accomplishments, Michael’s positive attitude and ethical standards have made a lasting impact on our team. He consistently demonstrates a high level of integrity and dedication, making him a valuable asset to any organization.


I am confident that Michael’s exceptional skills, professional experience, and personal qualities will make him a standout addition to your team. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any further information or insights regarding Michael’s qualifications and achievements.




Alicia Martinez
Director of Engineering
Tech Innovations Ltd.

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Letter of Recommendation Sample

Dr. Emily Thompson
Associate Professor
Department of Biology
University City University
789 Academic Lane
Education City, MA 54321
[email protected]
(321) 987-6543
February 23, 2024


Dear Selection Committee,


I am writing to wholeheartedly recommend Sarah Johnson for admission to your graduate program in Environmental Science. As an Associate Professor in the Biology Department at University City University, I have had the pleasure of knowing Sarah for the past three years, during which she was a student in my Advanced Ecology class and later conducted her undergraduate research under my supervision.


Sarah’s academic accomplishments speak volumes, but it is her passion for environmental conservation and her dedication to research that truly set her apart. In her research project, Sarah investigated the impact of urban development on local wetlands, showcasing not only her analytical skills but also her commitment to real-world environmental issues. Her work was thorough, innovative, and demonstrated a level of understanding and commitment that is rare among undergraduate students.


Beyond her academic prowess, Sarah has consistently demonstrated leadership and teamwork abilities. She served as the president of the Environmental Club, leading several successful initiatives to promote sustainability on campus. Her ability to inspire and work collaboratively with her peers is commendable, and she has shown herself to be a natural leader who can bring people together towards a common goal.


Sarah is also characterized by her resilience and determination. She has overcome challenges with a positive attitude and a willingness to seek solutions, qualities that I believe will serve her well in graduate studies and beyond.


In summary, Sarah’s blend of academic excellence, leadership, and commitment to environmental science makes her an outstanding candidate for your program. I have no doubt that she will contribute significantly to your academic community and achieve great success in her future endeavors. Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information.




Dr. Emily Thompson
Associate Professor
Department of Biology
University City University

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Reference Letter Samples to Edit & Download

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If you are asked to create a reference letter by your previous co-employer, your student or any other person who would like to seek for your recommendation; make sure that you can provide a document that can be of help for their application. If you are asked to create a reference letter by your previous co-employer, your student or any other person who would like to seek for your recommendation; make sure that you can provide a document that can be of help for their application.

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Usages of Reference Letters in the Recruitment, Screening and Selection Processes

If you want to receive a job appointment letter for new employees, you have to make sure that you will ace all the processes of hiring. One way to do this is to have a complete set of the requirements that you are tasked to provide to the company where you are applying for a job position. A reference letter is usually one of the documents that are included in most employers list of requirements.

A reference letter can help employers have an idea of a candidate’s deliverable. These include his or her work ethics, capabilities, technical skills and professional qualifications. This is very important to be looked into as employee retention can be affected by the potential of the new hires to adapt in the environment and the work designation successfully. You may also see recommendation letter examples & samples.

More so, reference letters allow employers to know more about the background of the candidate which is a great way to assess the individual and compare his or her overall potential with other qualified candidates. Aside from these items, here are more ways on how a reference letter can help an applicant be noticed by employers in a positive manner:

1. If you can come up with a solid and strong reference letter, employers can see the previous relationship of the candidate with his or her colleagues may it be within the work place or not. Hence, employers can further observe items that are not usually presented in a resume or professional profile. If employers can get as much information as possible that are related to the candidate, then they can be more observant with how to assess the ability of the candidate to fit in a work position. You may also like formal letter examples and samples

2. Knowing that the candidate has obtained a well-written and impressive reference letter can create a positive perception about who the candidate is. Reference letters help employers have an idea on how the candidate is perceived by the people around him or her. There are some cases where two or more candidates can par with each other when it comes to qualifications. This can sometimes be the instance where reference letters draw the line on who will be hired or not. You may also check out business letter examples

3. With the number of applications screened by the human resource department, it is important for a candidate to stand out. In the early stages of recruitment, applications that lack documents can be deemed less effective as it can showcase the ability of candidates to present their selves and their performance in a timely manner. If candidates are required to provide a reference letter, then the presence or absence of this document can already affect how the candidate is perceived.

How to Get an Effective Reference Letter

Coming up with an effective reference letter is not only the responsibility of the person who will write the document. Applicants should also be aware that their actions and way of requesting for a reference letter can also impact the process of the reference letter development. First, do not confuse a reference letter from a cover letter. Reference letters are made by other people while a cover letter is developed by the applicant. If you want to ensure that your reference is well-prepared before writing the reference letter, here are some of the things that you need to consider:

1. Be precise with what you would like your reference to include in the letter that he or she will create. This does not mean that you should control the content of the letter. What is important is for you to give your reference an idea on what should be discussed – like your performance, your character, or anything that is relevant to the application that you will be having. You might be interested in acknowledgement letter examples & samples

2. It is best if you will ask the person that you are requesting to write the letter weeks or months before your application. This way, he or she can have more think to carefully and thoroughly think of what should be in the reference letter that he or she will create. Rushing people to write a letter for you can sometimes result to a poorly-created reference letter. You may also see complaint letter examples & samples

3. Properly select your reference. You know that a reference letter can affect your application. Hence, it is important for you to trust the person who will write it. Think of the people who truly know you and how you perform in the work environment. You can include your previous immediate head, supervisor, manager, co-employer and counselor in this selection. You may also like new hire welcome letter examples

Types of Reference Letter

  1. Academic Reference Letters: Written by educators to highlight a student’s academic achievements and potential for success in further education.
  2. Employment Reference Letters: Provided by former or current employers to outline an individual’s job performance, skills, and contributions to the workplace.
  3. Character Reference Letters: Offered by individuals who know the person well personally, focusing on their personal qualities, ethics, and character.
  4. Professional Reference Letters: Written by colleagues or industry contacts, emphasizing professional achievements, expertise, and suitability for specific roles or projects.
  5. Business Reference Letters: Used to support business relationships, detailing the individual’s or company’s reliability, ethics, and performance in professional dealings.
  6. Scholarship Reference Letters: Aimed at supporting scholarship applications, highlighting academic excellence, leadership, and community involvement.
  7. Graduate School Reference Letters: Tailored for graduate program applications, underscoring academic accomplishments, research experience, and readiness for advanced study.
  8. Internship Reference Letters: Provided to support internship applications, focusing on the applicant’s skills, academic achievements, and potential contribution to the professional setting.

How to Write a Reference Letter

Writing a reference letter involves articulating someone’s abilities, character, and achievements in a way that highlights their suitability for a specific opportunity. Here’s a step-by-step guide to crafting an effective reference letter:

1. Understand the Purpose

  • Know what the reference letter is for—whether it’s for a job, academic program, or another purpose. Tailor your letter to address the specific requirements or qualities sought by the recipient.

2. Gather Information

  • Ask the person you’re writing the letter for any relevant information: their resume, the job or program they’re applying for, and any specific points they’d like you to include.

3. Start with a Formal Introduction

  • Begin the letter with your name, position, and relationship to the person you’re recommending. Mention how long you’ve known them and in what capacity.

4. Highlight Key Qualities and Achievements

  • Focus on the individual’s relevant skills, achievements, and qualities. Provide specific examples that illustrate these points, such as projects completed, challenges overcome, or contributions to your organization or their field.

5. Provide Personal Insights

  • If appropriate, share insights into the person’s character, work ethic, and personal qualities. This can be particularly important in character or academic reference letters.

6. Make a Strong Recommendation

  • Clearly state your recommendation of the individual. Express confidence in their abilities and suitability for the position or program they’re applying for.

7. Offer Additional Support

  • Include an offer to provide further information if needed. This shows that your support is genuine and you’re willing to back up your recommendation with additional details if requested.

8. Close Formally

  • Conclude your letter with a formal closing, such as “Sincerely,” followed by your name, position, and contact information.

Benefits of a Well-Formulated Reference Letter

There are different ways on how employee reference letter examples can be advantageous to the part of the applicant. Listed below are a few of the benefits that the applicant can experience if a well-formulated, informative and comprehensive reference letter will be include in the list of the requirements that he or she will submit:

1. A reference letter can ensure employers that the candidate has a good relationship with his or her previous employer or any other entities who will be tasked to create the reference letter. Knowing that the candidate left his or her previous job in a formal manner can help employers identify the terms in which the candidate can act professionally. More so, this can generate an idea that the candidate is an added value to the previous employer which can make him or her more desirable during the selection process. You may also see business proposal letter examples

2. A reference letter serves as an effective and highly considered endorsement. Especially if the reference letter is full of praises and is backed-up by facts and examples, then the candidate can already be deemed as an added value if his or her qualifications are also at par with the reference letter content. Keep in mind that reference letters are the best sources of reliable insights as they are made by people who truly know the candidate. You may also like how to write a personal letter with examples

3. A reference letter goes beyond the professional background of the applicant. It can also provide a discussion about his or her character and work ethics. Personal traits are also considered by employers as they need a well-rounded individual who can adapt to the working environment as well as to the people whom he or she will be working with. With this, reference letters may also include details about the applicant’s resilience, workplace flexibility and learning phase. You may also check out what is an application letter?

Should the Reference Letter Writer Talk About Himself or Herself?

Just as how business reference letters affect corporate partnerships, acquisition and processes, reference letters can also impact the application of a candidate. Making a reference letter can be more effective and successful if the writer knows the basics of developing the specified document. If you will write a letter of reference, it is important for you to have a brief or short discussion about who you are. This is basically for the following reasons:

1. Employers need to weight or measure the credibility of the writer. Businesses who receive reference letters that are made by professionals within the same industry seem to favor the recommendation even more. This is due to the fact that people who are aware of the demands of the industry can specify the ability and potential of the candidate to truly immerse himself or herself in the work operations needed by the business. You may also see how to write a job resignation letter

2. Employers need to ensure that the recommendation made in the reference letter is valid. Experiences, actual instances and other information presented in the recommendation letter must be first hand. This is the reason why the writer should personally know the candidate that he or she is recommending. First hand information is necessary as it helps the validity of the letter content be established. You may also like simple cover letter examples

3. Employers need to have an idea about the relationship of the writer and the applicant. Specifying how you are related to the candidate can already showcase how you were able to gather all the details and observations that you place in the reference letter content. As an example, being the supervisor of the candidate can ensure employers that you have sound judgment when it comes to analyzing the performance of the candidate in the workplace. You may also check out what is a resignation letter?

4. Employers need to see the objectivity and the transparency of the writer’s point of view. It is essential for the reference letter to be reviewed accordingly as some candidates tend to have reference letters which contain irrelevant information. If the current professional position of the writer will be defined, then the employer can easily have an idea on why the details presented in the reference letter are stated and specified the way they are. You might be interested in examples of emotional farewell letters to colleagues

Even if you should discuss a few information about yourself as the writer of the reference letter, keep in mind that the document should highlight the qualifications of the candidate. Make your introduction about yourself as simple, precise, and short as possible. All you need to do is to come up with a discussion about who you are in the most put together and direct to the point manner. You may also see job appointment letter for new employees examples

Tips for the Creation of a Reference Letter

Making a reference letter is a big responsibility as you will be a part of the professional journey of an applicant. Through your reference letter, if done in a professional and outstanding manner, the applicant can be more desirable in the eyes of employers. Listed below are some of the tips that can help you create a reference letter in an efficient manner:

1. Assess your ability to provide proper assessment of the candidate before accepting the task of writing a reference letter. It is important for you to know the candidate in a certain level that is enough for you to develop a letter regarding his or her potential to succeed should he or she be hired by the business. You may also see appointment letter examples & samples

2. Ensure that you are aware of the guidelines set by the employer when it comes to the development of the reference letter. If there are specific formats and content discussion that are expected to be seen in the document that you will make, it is of utmost important for you to abide by it. Doing this can help you achieve the technical aspects of creating the reference letter. You may also like examples of writing a simple application letter

3. Be aware of the job position that the applicant is applying for. Reference letters can only be used accordingly if its content can directly specify the relevance of the deliverable of the applicant with the demands of the work post. This is also one of the reasons why you have to truly know the candidate that you are recommending. You may also check out two weeks notice letter examples & samples

4. It is important for you to have a reference letter that is in a business letter format. The letter that you will make must be formal and well-formatted as employers are also observant with how reference letters are presented. With this, you also have to ensure that you will use business-appropriate language in your discussion.

5. As much as possible, be positive with the tone of the reference letter. Remember that reference letter can make or break the possibility of the applicant to be hired. If you believe that your reference letter can only ruin the chances of the applicant, then think again on why you accepted the responsibility of making one for him or her. You may also see termination letter examples & samples

6. To make the reference letter become more appealing, it is best if you will include instances and examples where the qualifications or character of the applicant have been exemplified. Giving information about these instances can make the reference letter be more factual and informative.

7. Have a task checklist that can guide you with the processes of the reference letter development. You can also make another checklist or a draft of what you will include in the reference letter so you can be guided when writing the actual document.

Items to Discuss and Include in a Reference Letter

The content of a reference letter should be carefully thought of to ensure its effectiveness when evaluated and assessed by employers. It is essential for the writer of the reference letter to be aware of the importance of the document in the application of the candidate that he or she is referring to in the letter. In relation to the person who wrote the letter, here are some of the information that you can include in a reference letter:

  • The name of the writer
  • The relationship of the letter writer to the candidate
  • The current professional work position of the person who wrote the reference letter
  • The industry or field of expertise where the writer of the letter is currently immersed in
  • The contact information of the writer should the potential employer of the candidate need to reach him or her for further inquiries

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In terms of the basic items that are commonly found in a simple reference letter, here are a few of the items that you should not forget to place in the reference letter:

  • The date when the letter has been made
  • The date of the letter submission, if different from the date of the letter creation
  • The date when the request for the reference letter has been received
  • A salutation
  • The body of the reference letter
  • An ending statement
  • Your signature

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Once you are already prepared to create the reference letter, one of the things that you need to give focus on is the body of your discussion. Your reference letter is highly-suggested to have these items:

  • The competencies and professional qualifications of the candidate
  • Your professional experiences and engagements with the candidate that you are recommending
  • A statement of your strong recommendation and referral
  • Instances and activities that showcased the strongest points of the candidate
  • The communication and technical skills, special abilities, talents, and interests of the candidate relevant to the job aspired
  • The relevance of the experiences of the candidate in the industry to the employer and its operations

Having an idea on how you can properly put together all these information in a single document will allow you to create a strong reference letter. Ensure that the format that you will use can promote a thorough and arranged discussion of the details that you would like to mention. The items presented above are only suggestions and guides. You can tweak, remove, or add details based on how you think you can further support the applicant and his or her candidacy for a work post. You may also check out how not to write a business letter

Templates and Examples of Reference Letters

You can create a reference letter from scratch especially if you are already confident with your ability to make one. However, the development of a reference letter can sometimes be a challenge to a few people. If it is your first time to be asked to create a reference letter, do not say ‘no’ just because you are not aware on how to create one. Extending your help to the person who you believe has the potential to be hired by employers should not be blocked by your hesitations when it comes to creating an effective and helpful reference letter. You may also see offer letter examples

There are already a lot of references and guides that you can use if you want to format a reference letter. Use templates if you need help in creating and developing the layout of the document. You can also refer to the downloadable samples in this post if you want to know more items that you can incorporate in the reference letter that you will make. You may also like how to create offer letters and employee agreement templates

Try making a draft first if you are not confident in directly making a reference letter. Ensure that you will browse through the tips, guidelines and suggestions that we have placed in this post so you can also get more information about the creation of reference letters. Allow the candidate that you are recommending have higher chances of getting that job offer and pre-employment checklist by coming up with an attention-grabbing, polished and organized reference letter.

Reference Letter Maker

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