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Sample How to write a Reference Letter

by emily on April 5, 2012

 

Recommendation Letters

A recommendation letter or reference letter is written to confirm an individual’s skills, characters and accomplishments for different purposes. Recommendation letter is also written in favor of a business.

 

Types of Recommendation Letter – Educational Reference letter, Character reference letter and Job Reference letter.

 

1. Educational Reference Letter - An academic reference letter is required to get admission into a college or university. It is also written for scholarships. Many times, numeric scores alone cannot guarantee the admission. In fact, institutes simply use the grades for the screening process to cut down the number of applicants. In such a situation, an academic reference letter is extremely important for students.

2. Character Reference Letter – A well written character reference letter can help you for many different purposes. You may require this letter for academic admissions, a job, and an adoption, child custody, a membership in a club or association or to rent a house etc-etc. This letter highlights your personal traits and strengthens your application for all these purposes.

3. Job Reference Letter – Getting a job is not easy; no matter how talented you are as the competition is really tough. Today, Apart from a Resume and cover letter, it is also required to get an ‘Employment/Job reference letter’ to secure a job. This type of recommendation letter is usually written by the immediate senior person in a company.

 

How to write a Recommendation Letter

It is required to write such a letter on company or school/college letter-head mentioning designation of the writer.

When it comes to writing a recommendation letter, the first thing that comes here is that one should have known the concerned person for a reasonable time for referring or recommending them for any purpose. The writer should mention the duration they know the person for and how well they know the person.

A reference letter should state the credibility of the writer in the very beginning of a letter. In the start of a letter, the writer should state the relationship between them and the concerned person. Recommendation letters are written by people who are your immediate contact points in your educational institute, employment or other association. In many cases, recommendation letters can also be written by any person who knows you for a long time. For instance, your close neighbor may be asked to provide a reference/recommendation letter if you want to adopt a child.

After the introduction, the writer should emphasize on the attributes of the concerned person. The letter should have brief information about the accomplishments of the concerned person. Apart from professional or academic achievements, a letter should also state the personal traits of a person. It should mentioned specific examples that highlight the personal traits of a person. A ‘Character reference letter’ is a good example in which the main focus is on the personal qualities.

An important part of recommendation letter – the weaknesses. People get confused that whether to mention the weaknesses of a person or not. Well, the result depends on the addressee; a person may get impressed with the honesty shown in the letter, while some other person may take it seriously and decide against the concerned person. It all depends on the specific situation you are writing a letter for, so there is no ‘perfect answer’ to this concern.

While writing this type of letter, a writer should take enough time to choose words carefully and not make any mistake. Always provide your writer with the necessary documents that generally include –

  • Copy of your academic transcript – a photocopy is fine
  • Copy of your Resume informing everything about you
  • Copy of documents like experience certificates etc.
  • Any forms required to be submitted along with the letter

 

A recommendation letter should include the contact details of the writer. A cover letter works well along with a letter.

It is advised to sit & talk with the writer before a letter is written. A writer may miss something important in the letter that you specifically wanted in it. Provide all the information to the writer like the position you are applying for and your future goals etc.

The end part of a recommendation letter should repeat the recommendation for the person.

Following these guidelines ensures a great recommendation letter and serves your purpose.

 

Note – If the first person who is supposed to write a letter for you is not confident about writing an impressive letter, then it is better to seek an alternative as presenting a mild letter that competes with many other attractive letters can sometimes decrease your approval chances.

Download Sample How to write a Reference Letter In Word Format

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