Has someone asked you to write them a reference letter? When you are asked to help someone with this task, it requires a great deal of thought on the appropriate things to say, the right format and how to make it count for the person you are helping.
Whether it’s a former employee, a student or a friend, you should learn about the key elements that the letter needs to consist of. You need to understand the purpose of the letter and how to make it effective.
The goal of the letter is to showcase how the person’s skills, achievements and character have not only been evident in your relationship with them, but how these trails will help them in the goal they are trying to achieve. Here is a guide to writing an excellent reference letter for someone.
What do They Need it for?
Typically a person asks for a reference letter when they are trying to get a job, apply for school or needing funding for something. Sometimes business owners want to see reference letters when a person they don’t know personally applies for a job with their company. A student trying to get into a program may need a reference letter to prove that their application is truthful.
In both cases, the company or school want to know that the person applying is truthful and is able to carry out their job tasks well. Sometimes, a person needs reference letters when applying for funding, whether it be for school or otherwise, and in some cases, a landlord may need a reference letter from a potential tenant to prove they are in good financial status.
Who Writes Reference Letters and What Should it Say?
Since it is a formal document, there could be legal repercussions if any false information is given about the candidate. The writer should be someone a candidate knows reasonably well, who has a professional relationship in which a meaningful reference letter is possible and who is able to give a positive yet honest reference.
It should be written in a business letter format with the recipient’s name and address or written “To whom it may concern.” Make sure you’ve introduced yourself with a brief sentence or two at the beginning of the letter. The next paragraph would contain facts about the candidate showing what their job position and leaving salary was, the dates they were employed or their grades for an academic reference letter.
Next, the following paragraphs should speak about the person’s judgement of the candidate’s skills, qualities and character. Explain how the candidate excelled, why you’d hire them again, what positive characteristics they have and highlight anything great about the candidate.
Make sure to end it on a positive note showing that you are willing to further correspond about the candidate. Leave your contact information and send with “Yours sincerely.” Avoid mentioning weaknesses of the candidate, writing an informal letter, including personal information like political stance or religious views and watch for spelling mistakes or unprofessional writing.
Use these tips to write an excellent reference letter which could help your friend, employee or student reach their next goal.