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How to Write a Professional Reference Letter: Examples


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When applying for jobs or college admissions, a significant percentage of people need professional references. If you don’t know how to do it, writing references can be challenging. Because of this, many students find it difficult and want assistance when writing a professional reference letter. Be truthful and provide accurate information about someone’s qualifications and experience before you write a document for them. You will get helpful tips on writing this post in this article. So let’s go!


Table of Contents

What exactly is a professional reference?

A formal letter known as a “professional reference letter” is created to attest to a person’s abilities and expertise for a particular job position. It is critical to remember that this letter is an official document and that it should be formatted professionally.


Differences between a Personal and Professional References

Personal and professional references differ from one other.

A personal reference is given by someone who is familiar with your moral character and soft talents, whereas a professional reference is written by someone who has an official relationship with you. For instance, whilst your boss can write a professional letter, your spiritual leader may write a personal recommendation for you.


Reference letters’ purposes

An example of reference letter usage is provided below.


to advocate a potential worker for a position.

Before an employment agreement is signed between an employer and an employee, a reference letter may be necessary.

Students attempting to get into colleges may use this

Letters of recommendation are used to support applicants for financial aid.

The letters could be a condition of the lease as proof of the tenant’s excellent financial standing.

How to Compose a Reference Letter

A professional reference letter is a letter that attests to your competence, suitability for the job, tenure at the company, and other pertinent information.


It is advised to take these actions if someone asks you to provide a professional reference for them.


examine the position for which they are applying

Determine your ability to accurately write a reference letter for them.

Accept to serve as the candidate’s reference if you think they have no problems.

Draw attention to the candidate’s advantages and ask them to confirm any shortcomings you may have missed.

In case their prospective employer contacts you, let the candidate know.

Make sure the reference letter contains all pertinent information about the applicant, including their career history, duties, and talents. Don’t forget to include your contact details in the letter as well.


How to Format a Reference Letter

It is crucial to identify yourself and then describe the nature of your relationship with the candidate if you are writing a formal recommendation for someone to gain a job. Also mention how long you’ve known the candidate. Also, make sure to record the following.

Format of Reference Letter

Format of Reference Letter

The applicant’s position at your organization

the nature of the applicant’s employment, including its duration (permanent or contract)

Dates of the applicant’s employment

Skills and experiences of the applicant

Details of how to reach you


What a Reference Letter Shouldn’t Contain

The highlights of what not to put in a reference letter are as follows.


Avoid drafting the letter casually; instead, format it professionally. Avoid making jokes because they could hurt the applicant’s prospects of landing the job.

Don’t include any personal information unless it is pertinent to the position you are applying for. Religion and marital status are irrelevant information.

Make sure there are no typos or spelling errors in the writing you provide.


What Should I Do If a Potential Employer Requests a Reference from a Professional?

An official endorsement intended to aid in your employment with a specific employer is known as a professional reference. It is recommended to do these actions before asking for it.


Pick a reliable source for references.

Call or email your chosen reference to ask them to lend their assistance. Tell them you are utilizing them as a reference, or if you need a professional reference, ask them to write one for you.

Send them a formal email that includes a link to the job description for their review.

Send your potential employer the reference letter and supporting documentation.

How to Pick Your Favorite Reference

One of the most important aspects of your job hunt is knowing who can serve as a professional reference for you. It is crucial to choose someone who is aware of your advantages, aptitudes, and experiences. Your immediate boss or a college professor are the best candidates to write a professional reference.


Do’s and Don’ts for Reference Letters

It’s important to keep in mind that a good reference letter can help you land a job, while a bad one can make it impossible for you to find employment. The following are the dos and don’ts you need to remember while writing professional reference letters.

Guidelines for reference letters

Do’s for reference letters.

Pick a person who is familiar with you well to write your recommendation.

Obtain a professional reference from a person who is familiar with your abilities and experiences, such as a teacher or employer.

Instead of sending emails, request a referral in person or over the phone.

Tell your selected reference why you require their assistance.

Don’t forget to put in the letter any particular abilities or experiences you’d like to highlight.

After they have aided you, thank your recommendations.

Don’t forget to get permission before using your references again.


Recommendation letter Don’ts

Avoid waiting until the last minute to request references; request them right away.

Be careful of getting someone to provide you great information.

Never be tempted to falsify someone’s signature; always uphold your integrity.

Don’t pick a reference based solely on their position. Select a person who is knowledgeable about your abilities and experiences.

Remember to express your gratitude to your references for their assistance.


How to Prepare for Reference Submission


Writing a Reference: a General Format

Understand the fundamental elements of a reference letter’s format before you start writing one.

basic components of a reference letter’s structure

  • Name and address of the recipient

The recipient should be addressed as “Dear (insert name)” in a formal manner. Use “Dear Sir/madam” if you are unsure about the recipient’s name.


  • Introduction

Your position and relationship to the candidate should be included in your introduction, which is essential.


  • Details regarding the candidate

Writing a reference for someone to get a job requires you to include important details about the individual, such as their position within the company, their current pay, and the dates of their employment.


  • Qualifications and skills of the candidate

Declaring the applicant’s exceptional skills is essential. Mention the person’s key attributes that have aided the expansion of your firm.


  • Give examples of the candidate’s strengths.

Give instances when the candidate was successful, particularly when reaching particular goals, if at all possible.


  • Conclusion

Don’t forget to end the letter in a positive tone and remind the company to get in touch with you if they require further details about the application.


  • professional conclusion

The closing of a reference letter should be official as it is a formal letter. As a result, use appropriate closings like “Yours truly” or “Yours sincerely.”


An official reference letter should follow this format.

The key to writing a professional document is understanding the reference letter’s structure. It is crucial to begin with your name and contact information, next include the date and the time, and then conclude with the hiring manager’s address. A salutation should then be used to start your work before moving on to the body paragraphs. Don’t forget to include your signature and typed name when you professionally conclude your letter.


An example is what follows.

Robert Brown


P.O. Box 1234-00020




Tel +123334567890


May 6, 2020


Theodora Johnson


Neboda Research Limited


P.O. Box 23457-00020




Hi Mary,


It has been five years since Mike Danson started working at Dalsa Consulting. Working with him has been a delight. In addition to having many original ideas, he is well-versed in research techniques. He can operate with little oversight and is imaginative and collaborative.


If you give Mike the chance to work for you, I highly recommend it. Since the position he presently occupies is comparable to the one you are giving, I am confident that he will perform at his highest level in the new assignment. We are happy for Mike in his new ventures because he is a gifted and admirable person.


If you require further details about him, please get in touch with me.


Yours sincerely, 


T Johnson


Theodora Johnson


What to Take into Account Before Writing a Reference Letter

A reference letter is a formal letter that is used to recommend someone for a position at a company or a placement in an organization. To prevent getting into difficulty, it is imperative to compose a letter for someone you know and to include reliable facts.


Before writing a reference for someone, keep the following in mind.


What to Take into Account Before Writing a Reference Letter

  • Understanding of the applicant

It is essential to suggest a person you know. For instance, you are unable to provide any useful recommendations for someone who worked for the company before you.


  • How long have you been collaborating with the candidate?

Without working with the prospect, you might not be able to identify their skills. Don’t recommend persons about whom you don’t have any knowledge of their traits or experiences.


  • Authentic citation

Credible information must be included in formal correspondence. It is advised to let them be supported by someone else if you believe the individual you are proposing lacks the necessary qualifications for the job.


Avoid these Mistakes When Choosing and Giving Professional References

As with any work, writing a reference letter has its share of difficulties. The faults listed below should be avoided if you wish to write a great piece.


  • If they haven’t worked with you, don’t choose them.

Selecting someone with extensive expertise in your work is crucial. By selecting a buddy as your professional reference, you run the risk of them not providing accurate information, which will hurt your chances of landing a job.


  • Don’t offer references for whom you haven’t verified the availability of the references.

References shouldn’t be given before telling them because they could not be available when needed. Furthermore, if you don’t let them know, your prospective employer might get in touch with them without their knowledge.

Character Reference Comprehension

Someone who is familiar with you and may suggest that you seek assistance from someone is a character reference. Also keep in mind that you might select this reference from among those in your professional networks who are familiar with you personally.


People who can serve as character references include coworkers, customers, friends, mentors, and many others. Selecting people of your own family as references is crucially important. Remember that a character reference’s main goal is to endorse you based on your qualities. You must submit your resume and the job description to these references so they can adequately prepare their letter and produce one that stands out.


It is vital to speak favorably about the person’s personal qualities in relation to the job they are going for if you have been asked to write a character reference letter for someone in your network.


The following are some of the components of a character reference.


  • Your relationship with the candidate

Mention your relationship with the candidate. For instance, you could write, “Christopher is my friend, and we work out at a nearby gym.


  • How long the reference has been acquainted with the candidate

Mention how long you’ve known the applicant when writing a personal reference letter. For instance, you could say, “I’ve known Perris for the previous two years.”


  • impart outstanding attributes

Mention at least four qualities about the application if you wish to increase their chances of success. For instance, you might mention traits like innovation, teamwork, and leadership abilities.


  • a recommendation

Recommendations must be included at the end of a character reference letter. You may say something like, “Due to that, I recommend Martin for this role, and I feel he will be resourceful for your organization.


  • Contact details for the character reference

To allow the applicant’s employer to contact you in the future, make sure to give your address and phone number.


Example of a Character Reference Letter

If you’ve never written one before, creating one can sometimes be challenging. You can get around the problem, though, by examining samples. An illustration of a character reference letter is provided below.


Whom It May Concern


Peter and I have been friends for more than ten years. We first spoke while he was delivering his research work at an academic conference. Peter has been really helpful to me; for example, my business performance has increased thanks to his research consulting.


Peter is conscientious, devoted, and a good teammate. He can also complete tasks on time even while under pressure. His leadership abilities are honorable. He managed to effectively manage his team and deliver the project one week earlier, for example, while they were working on my study.


Because of Peter’s strong interpersonal abilities, his coworkers frequently notice his absence when he isn’t present.


For the reasons listed above, I suggest Peter for the research manager position. I am confident that he would be a resourceful addition to your company or any other that would hire him.


Sincere regards,




Anne Mary

Advice on Writing a Strong Reference Letter

It is critical to comprehend the elements that can make your reference letter look fantastic. An overview of a few of them is provided below.


Tips for Writing an Effective Reference Letter

Tips for Writing an Effective Reference Letter

  • Make sure your letter is constructive.

If you believe you can write persuasively about the candidate, you must serve as a reference.


  • Give specific examples

In addition to describing the applicant’s qualities, it is essential to include specific examples of how the applicant has used these qualities to resolve issues.


  • Write letters that are succinct and straightforward.

Make sure the letter you write is succinct; it shouldn’t be longer than one page. It should be noted that the recruiters are analyzing numerous applications and may not have time to read the entire paper.


  • Leave out the personal information

Avoid bringing up personal matters while writing a reference letter for someone. Don’t discuss topics like your marital status, for instance.


Conclusion on Reference Letters

A recommendation letter is something you write about an applicant to help them get a job or get into college. A character reference and a professional reference are the two types of references that are expected. A professional reference is someone who has official knowledge of you, such as your direct boss at work. A character reference, on the other hand, is someone who is familiar with you personally.


A professional reference letter must contain the applicant’s name, specific information about them, examples of when they have excelled, and your contact information. Consult with experienced writers, like those at Custom scholars, for assistance if you need to create a reference letter but don’t know where to begin.


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