How to write a Reference Letter?

In today’s age of emailing and instant messaging, we hardly write letters to our loved ones. In fact, a lot of us find it unnecessary to write a letter while a phone call can do the job of conveying a message instantly. However, formal letters such as a reference letter are quite relevant. And if you want to learn how to write a reference letter, this is the right place to be.

how to write a reference letter

What is a professional reference letter?

A reference letter, which is also known as the letter of recommendation,
is a type of formal letter where the writer testifies to an individual’s
skills, character and/or achievements. You may be asked to write a reference
letter for a student or a job applicant when you are in a supervisory position
at work, school or within a non-profit organization.

How to write a professional reference letter for someone?

A professional reference letter is formal in both tone and format. And
you need to maintain a formal tone and format throughout the letter. Whether
you are writing a reference letter for a student or for a former employee at
your office, you need to follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Step 1: Addressing the recipient:

Start the letter using the business letter format – put the name and
address of the recipient (if known), and address them as “Dear [name of
the recipient].” In case you don’t know the credentials of the recipient,
use “Dear sir/madam” or “To whom it may concern.”

  • Step 2: Introducing yourself and the candidate

In the next part of thereference
letter format, you need to introduce yourself to the reader. In the subsequent
sentence, you need to introduce the candidate whom you are referring to in the
letter. Next, you need to explain your relationship with the candidate and
mention how long you have known him/her. And finally, end the introduction by
stating the reason for writing the letter.

  • Step 3: Sharing your judgment upon the candidate’s skills and qualities

In this section, you need to highlight the skills and qualities of the
candidate from your point of view. You don’t necessarily have to add any colour
to it. Just state the facts that you know. It is important to be objective
while writing a professional letter of recommendation. If the information
provided in the letter turns out to be false, you can be held responsible for

Highlight the skills and traits of the individual that you have
witnessed yourself at the work, school or NGO. Try to focus on those qualities
of the individual that you believe can make him/her a better fit in this new

  • Step 4: Provide supporting examples for your claims

When you are writing a reference letter for a job applicant or a
student, stating his/her qualities may not be convincing enough. To make the
reference letter more effective, provide some examples that support the claims
you make about the candidate’s skills and qualities. You can talk about the
time when the individual did something exceptional that added value to the
company or made an achievement that only a few students could make.

  • Step 5: Conclude the letter on a positive note

In the final paragraph, summarize and restate the highlighted skills and
qualities of the candidate. You need to indicate that the candidate is going to
be a great fit for the job or the academic course as per your belief.

  • Step 6: Invite follow-up questions

In the final sentence of the letter, you should include your contact
details (preferably email ID), so that if the recipient has any question,
he/she can discuss it with you in detail.

This was the format for the reference letter. Like most of the formal
letter, end the letter by writing “Yours Sincerely” with your signature below
it. If you are writing a reference letter for a friend, make sure you are
writing it objectively. You don’t want to get into trouble for helping a

If you still need more insight into how to write a professional
reference letter, you can simply follow this example as a reference letter

A reference letter template for a job applicant


Jack Romero

Recruitment Manager, Gough Inc.

Sydney, Australia

Dear Mr. Romero,

            My name is Alex Kim,
and I am the Senior
Marketing Manager at Gough Internationals. I am writing as a
reference for Jim Felton, who has been working under my supervision at Gough
Internationals for the past three years.

In my experience, Jim Felton has the potential to be an excellent asset
to your firm. He is a high-spirited person who has always done his work with
great enthusiasm. He has shown his ability to multi-task with perfection on
multiple occasions. In fact, he has won the employee-of-the-month award five
times last year.

There are plenty of instances in which Jim has proved his worth as a
marketing executive at Gough Internationals. Once he stayed back at the office
for five hours to prepare the plan for a new product launch. In fact, he has
accepted additional responsibilities on several occasions and fulfilled them
with perfection.

To this day, I evaluate the work of other employees in comparison to Jim
Felton. With enthusiasm for work, the ability to multi-task with ease and
discipline, Jim would be a great addition to your team.

If you have any question or would like to discuss anything regarding my
experiences with Jim Felton, please don’t hesitate to drop me an email at [email protected]

Yours Sincerely
Alex Kim
Senior Marketing Manager
Gough International

Some common student queries regarding reference letter.

How do you write a charecter reference letter?

  • Include
    background of yours and the person you are referring.

have had the pleasure of working alongside Bob in the Marketing Department of
XYZ, Ontario , for the past five years

  • Give
    a hint of how much you know the person in proffesional and personal capacity

had to supervise all the reports he created alongwith providing him feedback
for his work. Besides, I shared many moments with him on lunch breaks and many
a times during office events wherein I could know more of him.

c) keep a respectful tone and keep the charecter reference letter positive

d) You can also cite specific cases , where your referral has shown exemplary
charecter like

for taking the team out of a moral dilemma or taking leadership in some CSR

) You can also cite instances of the person’s show of bravery, honesty and
other charecterstics.

) Be careful that the charecter reference letter should have a correct format.

g) Include positive adjectives to showcase the qualities of the referral

h) Conclude and edit for spelling, grammer and the sense evolving out of the

How do you write an
employee reference?

  • Refer
    by adhering and citing the job description of the employee
  • Include
    examples from work
  • Can
    share individual stats or dat to cite the achievment
  • Deal
    on work productivity, behavior with team and so on
  • Keep
    the entire letter positive for the one being referred.

Can I put my friend as
a reference?

Yes, you are fortunate
if your friend is serving in some authority in your domain, maybe as a Manager,
CEO or any other position.

Hopefully, all your queries have been resolved. If you require
additional help, you can get it by connecting with us. provides brilliant reference letters for students

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