Writing a Reference Letter (With Examples)
by Ali Hale
At some point in life, you’re almost certainly going to have to write a reference letter for someone. It might be a former employee or student, or even a family friend. Here’s what you need to know about the purpose of reference letters and how to write the most effective letter possible. Note: I will be using “candidate” to refer to the person who the reference letter is about, “you” to refer to the person writing the reference letter, and “recipient” to refer to the person receiving the letter. I’ll emphasise here, though, that reference letters are not only for job or academic “candidates”, it’s just a handy term to use to keep this article straightforward! What is a reference letter and when are they used?
A reference letter is usually written to testify to a person or (occasionally) a company’s skills, character and/or achievements. Sometimes a reference letter is known as a “recommendation letter”. It is a formal document, and should be typed and written in a serious and business-like style. Reference letters are used in a wide variety of situations; there is no definitive list that covers all possible scenarios. The most common examples are: When a candidate applies for a job, they may need a reference to support their application. If an interviewee is given a job offer, they may need to supply a reference letter before the contract can be signed. A student applying for an academic course often requires a reference letter to support their application. A student applying for funding will often need to supply reference letters. Companies may use reference letters as testimonies to their trustworthiness and ability to carry out a job well. Prospective tenants...