Quantcast
Reference Letter Samples And Templates | Fairygodboss
Mystery Woman
Tell us more for better jobs, advice
and connections
Don’t miss out on new opportunities.
YOUR TOPICS
Your feed isn’t personalized yet. Follow topics like career advice, lifestyle or health.
YOUR GROUPS
Discover and join groups with like-minded women who share your interests, profession, and lifestyle.
COMPANIES YOU FOLLOW
Get alerted when there are new employee reviews.
YOUR JOB ALERTS
Get notified when new jobs are posted.
Reference This
Effective Reference Letter Samples And Templates For 3 Common Occasions
Adobe Stock / peshkov
Fairygodboss
1 Comment

 Writing a reference letter, also known as a recommendation letter, can be more than a little daunting. That’s because you know the stakes are high, and that it’s not even you who they impact (talk about pressure!). The character reference you write could make the difference between your friend or colleague getting their dream job — or not. And that’s just one example of a reference letter’s use.

What is a letter of reference?

A character reference testifies to a person's—you got it—character. It can be written by an employer, or more commonly, a friend or acquaintance. Since this letter is meant to speak to the subject's qualities and personality, you should know the person fairly well if you agree to write it.

Perhaps the person asking this favor of you needs a character letter for a prospective landlord or co-op board, or maybe they’re seeking a financial loan that requires references. If it's for work, it could mean your report or colleague gets the job—or she doesn't. Whatever the reason, these business letters certainly aren’t ones to be taken lightly, and thus, you need to make sure yours is perfect. Similarly, you should give a good bit of thought to the subject before even agreeing to write a reference letter in the first place. It’s called a “character reference letter” for a reason. Is this person someone you could comfortably put your own reputation on the line for? Because by agreeing to serve as a job reference for them, that is what you’re essentially doing.

Starting to feel a wee anxious? We hear you. But really, writing a reference letter doesn’t have to be so intimidating if you’re simply smart about who you recommend and know the right rules and conventions to follow. Check out some effective reference letter samples and templates below, and whip up a letter that will result in a hire, new apartment, or loan for your colleague or friend. Who knows—maybe one day they’ll be the ones returning the favor and a job reference for you.

Letter of reference vs. letter of recommendation

While they might sometimes be used interchangeably, a letter of reference is a bit different from a letter of recommendation—although the recommendation is a type of reference letter. A reference means you're vouching for the person in one of several possible capacities, such as financial purposes or legal matters. A letter of recommendation is generally specific to applying for a job; you're discussing how the person can contribute to the position and company.

What is a bank loan recommendation?

When someone applies for a bank loan for a costly purchase such as a home mortgage, business, or education, the lender may request references to attest to your character and ability to pay it back. Someone who knows that your committed to your obligations and financial situation can attest to your likelihood of paying back the loan. Your financial means aren't the only consideration; the lender also wants to know that you're responsible and care about fulfilling the expectations of you.

What is a commercial letter of recommendation?

In a commercial letter of recommendation, you're vouching for someone's services. A professional might need a testimonial to recruit new clients or sell them to prospective buyers. If the professional asks you to write one, it probably means you were a past client who can attest to the high quality of service she gave you. Your recommendation can help others decide if they want to use the service, too.

Examples of letters of reference

Sample 1: Reference letter for a new job

Your name

Your address

Your phone number

Your email address

(include extra line of space here)

Date (type out the date in full: “January 1, 2017” as opposed to “1/1/17”)

(include extra line of space here)

Recipient name

Recipient title

Recipient company name

Recipient address (or company address)

(include extra line of space here)

To Whom it May Concern: (Format this similarly to a business letter. If you do know the recipient’s name and it’s not a general letter, you could say “To Ms. Smith” or “To Mr. Smith;” however, gender-neutral salutations are increasingly becoming best practice. Either way, be sure to end with a colon and not a comma.)

It is with pleasure that I recommend (candidate’s name) for the position of X (if known) within your company. While working for (your company name) from 20XX-20XX, (candidate’s name) truly proved herself to be an asset, and it is with no hesitancy that after X amount of time knowing (candidate’s name), and as a longtime professional within this field myself, I enthusiastically recommend them for this role.

(Note: Paragraph 1, above, should explain how you know the person you’re writing the letter of reference for, how long you have known them, and why you are qualified to make this recommendation.)

During her time as a (previous title) at our company, (candidate’s name) repeatedly demonstrated her value in XYZ ways. As a take-charge person, not only did she excel at taking the lead on X projects, but she did so with a positive attitude that truly made her an asset to the team. Her contributions of XYZ were indispensable to our success, and she added to our overall value in XYZ ways.

(Note: Paragraph 2, above, should go into detail about the qualifications and achievements of the person asked you to write a reference letter. What made them so great to work with? What value can they offer to the recipient of this letter? Be specific, and use more than one paragraph if necessary. This is the most crucial part of the employment reference letter, after all! Ask for a copy of your colleague’s resume or cover letter, if possible; these can be helpful reference tools in formulating your praise.)

In short, I can assure you that (candidate’s name) would make a truly valuable contribution to your team thanks to their XYZ skills/qualities, and I recommend them to you without reservation. Thanks so much, and if you need any further information from me, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

(Note: Paragraph 3 of the recommendation letter, above, can be short, as it simply reiterates the candidate’s most standout qualities. Think of it as a sort of summary.)

Sincerely,

(Your name)

(Your title)

 

Sample 2: Reference letter for a landlord/head of housing

Your name

Your address

Your phone number

Your email address

(include extra line of space here)

Date (type out the date in full: “January 1, 2019” as opposed to “1/1/19”)

(include extra line of space here)

Recipient name

Recipient title

Recipient company name

Recipient address (or company address)

(include extra line of space here)

To Whom it May Concern: (More likely than not, you won’t know the name of the landlord; perhaps you were given the contact information of the realty company to write to. In this scenario, it makes the most sense to stick with the generic, gender-neutral greeting.)

Please consider this letter confirmation that I highly recommend (applicant’s name) as a future tenet within your building.

(Note: Paragraph 1, above, can be super simple, as this is most often a personal reference. Cut to the chase!)

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with (applicant’s name) the past X years in Y industry, and we’ve gotten to know one another quite well. Throughout the course of our professional relationship, she has repeatedly proven to be trustworthy, reliable, and XY other qualities.

(Note: Paragraph 2, above, should state the nature and length of your relationship with the person who requested you to be a reference. The landlord wants to hear that you’ve known this person for some time, and that you know them well. You don’t have to be as detailed as you would be to a prospective employer here, but sufficiently express that the potential tenant is reliable, trustworthy, orderly, and whatever other landlord-friendly qualities are applicable and relevant. As an aside: Now’s probably not the time to mention how fun they are at happy hour.)

Again, I’m happy to highly recommend that (applicant’s name) become a tenet within your building, and I can do so without reservation. Thanks so much, and if you need any further information from me, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

(Note: Sum it up! Drive the point home—and the apartment keys into your pal’s hand.)

Sincerely,

(Your name)

(Your title)

 

Sample 3: Reference letter for a bank/money lender

(Note: A relatively similar-style letter could also work as a character reference for graduate school, or for an MBA recommendation letter.)

Your name

Your address

Your phone number

Your email address

(include extra line of space here)

Date (type out the date in full: “January 1, 2017” as opposed to “1/1/17”)

(include extra line of space here)

Recipient name

Recipient title

Recipient company name

Recipient address (or company address)

(include extra line of space here)

To Whom It May Concern: (Or if you happen to know their name, “Dear Ms. or Mr. Smith” is also acceptable. However, you likely will not know their name. Don’t forget the colon!)

I’m writing to recommend that (applicant’s name) be a recipient of a loan from your institution to go toward their schooling. In the X amount of time I have known (applicant’s name) in Y capacity, they have repeatedly demonstrated a strong worth ethic and sense of discipline, and that directly informs my ability to recommend them to you highly and without reservation.

(Note: Keep Paragraph 1, above, short and sweet. If the loan your acquaintance is seeking is a student loan, as is the case with this example, be sure to emphasize right away that the intended use of this loan is, indeed, for school. Plus, as with the examples above, state the length of time you’ve known the applicant, and in what capacity.)

In my many conversations with (applicant’s name) regarding their future, I have seen the foundations of a strong plan unfold. (Applicant’s name) intends to go to X school to become Y profession, and already they are investigating internships and other work-study programs to help them achieve this mission. I have repeatedly been impressed by XYZ values of (applicant’s name), and I know them to be a mature, driven, and hardworking person.

(Note: Paragraph 2, above, is where you go into detail about the qualities that make your acquaintance an ideal loan recipient. Of course, say whatever qualities are true and relevant, but know that the qualities a bank or financial loan lender wants to hear aren’t dissimilar from the one a landlord is interested in hearing — trustworthiness, reliability, hardworking, etc.)

Given how practical (applicant’s name) is, we have also had many conversations about the average salary of those in their intended field — (list average salary). That combined with (applicant’s name’s) good judgement and sense of responsibility assures me, as it should you, that they are perfectly capable of taking and staying on top of a loan. Again, it is with unreserved enthusiasm that I recommend them to you. Thanks so much, and if you need anything further from me, feel free to reach out.

(Note: In Paragraph 3, it’s important that you bring up the applicant’s understanding of finances. The more details you know to slip in regarding their financial track record/ability to save and spend wisely, the better!)

Sincerely,

(Your name)

(Your title)

If you're asked to write a reference letter...

Other examples—including both personal letters of reference and professional letters of reference—that you may be asked to write, include: an adoption letter of reference. immigration letter of reference, scholarship recommendation letter, sorority recommendation letter, law school recommendation letter, medical school recommendation letter or teacher recommendation letter.

All in all, the formats of these don’t differ too significantly. You'll briefly explain your relationship with and how you know the person before delving into their accomplishment and suitability for the role at hand. What’s absolutely essential in every kind of reference letter, though, is selling the person on whose behalf you’re writing as confidently and enthusiastically as possible. And if, try as you might, you’re not able to muster up much genuine enthusiasm over helping this person get what they’re after—kindly let them know they should seek someone else to be their reference. It’s better for both parties that way.

Hopefully, these character reference letter samples and recommendation templates have given you the toolset you need to write a letter that’s big on impact with little anxiety.

 

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women.
Join us by reviewing your employer!
 

1 Comment
1 Comment

Looking for a new job?

Our employer partners are actively recruiting women! Update your profile today.

tag with leaves
girl-one-image
The Fairygodboss Feed
We're a community of women sharing advice and asking questions
background-svggirl-two-image
Start a Post
Share your thoughts (even anonymously)...