Letter of Reference Template
A letter of reference, also known as a recommendation letter, is often required as part of an application process for jobs, college entry and scholarships. The letters are written by someone other than the applicant to the company, university or group who requested the letter of recommendation. These letters typically highlight the relationship with the applicant and provide information about the applicant's abilities, ambitions, skills, education and character.
If you have been asked to provide a reference letter, use our free letter of reference template below to help you get started. Keep reading below for a sample letter of recommendation, tips and links to other examples and resources.
Letter of Reference Template
Whether writing a letter for someone else or helping someone prepare a letter for you, use this letter of recommendation template to get started. See the sample letters of reference below for ideas and help with wording.
Cost: Free ($0.00)
Tips: How to Write a Letter of Reference
- Find out from the individual who requested the letter of reference if they are looking specifically for a personal reference, character reference, or a recommendation based on specific qualifications. If you can recommend the individual based on all these aspects, do so.
- Be concise and stay on topic.
- Use a proper business letter format.
- Provide details about how you know the applicant, including facts about positions they've held, employment dates, responsibilities, education, ambitions, skills, and character.
- Include details about their strengths and skills that the applicant may not recognize or may be particularly valuable.
- Include a statement saying whether or not you recommend the individual and/or whether you believe the individual is qualified, if it is possible to make such an assessment.
- Provide examples that support your recommendation, if possible.
- Provide your contact information.
- Politely refuse to write a letter of reference if you cannot honestly recommend the individual.
- Remember that reference letters carry a lot of weight, so your letter can have a major impact on a person's life (for both good or bad). Writing a letter of reference should be taken seriously.
Sample Letters of Reference
Sample Employment Reference Letter
123 Anywhere Street
Somewhereville, Best State 88889
Mr. Ryan Francom
456 Somewhere Road
Best Town, State 88888
Dear Mr. Francom:
I have been the IT Director at ABC Company for the past 5 years where it was my privilege to hire and work with Mike Jones. This letter is a response to your request for references dated 12/26/2009.
I originally hired Mike 3 years ago to work in support services within our IT department. It became evident very quickly that Mike was overqualified for this job and he was quickly promoted to our development group where he has been managing internal development projects for our company for the last 4 years. His duties included writing specifications, sourcing hardware, managing external software engineers and overseeing quality assurance testing.
We are extremely sad to see Mike leave our team, but understand his desire to relocate to the west coast. I have always found him to be an honest, hardworking, intelligent and trustworthy individual. I highly recommend, without reservation that you seriously consider Mike for any open positions within your department.
Mike is a self starter and works well with others. I am confident that he will be able to quickly begin to provide value to your team. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to call me at (123) 456-7890.
More Sample Letters of Recommendation
- Reference Letter Template for Student - bothell.washington.edu - From the point of view of a professor writing a reference letter for a student he/she has taught.
- Sample Letters of Recommendations for Students (pdf) - press.umich.edu - Examples of recommendation letters for excellent, good, and average students.
- Samples Letters of Recommendation for Graduate School - macalester.edu - This page includes a few sample letters of recommendation for graduate school, along with some tips.
More Reference Letter Templates
There are many sample letters of reference and other related templates in the Microsoft Office gallery, under the category Reference Letters, many of which are from the book Handbook of More Business Letters by Ann Poe. Below are links to a few of them:
- Formal Character Reference
- Letter of Reference for Administrative Employee
- Letter of Reference for Professional Employee
- Letter of Reference for Managerial Employee
- Writing Letters of Recommendations for Students - isites.harvard.edu - A great guide to help professors write letters of recommendation for their students.
- Choosing a Reference - oakland.edu - Information to help students pick good references.
- Tips for Writing Letters of Reference at WriteExpress.com