A letter of reference or recommendation is often listed as a requirement for applications. This could either be for openings in the academe or in employment. It is a supporting document that should attest to an applicant’s skills, competencies, and character.

If you have been approached by a friend, classmate, or colleague to pen one for them and you have already agreed, the first thing to bear in mind is that it is not a composition that you can write overnight.

Well, you can, but it probably would be counteractive. Remember that a letter of reference should support an application, and so it is crucial to your friend’s chances of getting the program or position. Your friend has probably taken some time to consider who to approach, and the fact that he/she went to you means that they trust you and they believe you can help them.

So give yourself a lot of prep time, and learn how to format your composition with this post and these 7+ Sample Letters of reference.

Sample Reference Letter Format for Job

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Sample Personal Reference Letter Format

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Character Reference Letter Format

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Example Business Reference Letter Format

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Letters of reference or recommendation puts the person in the very objective set of skills, experience, and qualifications that a candidate lists down on his/her application. Moreover, it is a determinant of character, which is considered as important as competencies. This is used for various academic pursuits.

  • Scholarships
  • College admissions
  • Graduate school
  • Awards and recognition

For work, these are done in support of career advancement.

  • Job applications
  • Work promotions
  • Awards and recognition

See these Work Reference Letters for formatting guidelines.

Writing a Letter of Reference

  • ContentYou are writing from a personal standpoint, so include experiences, instances, observations, and insights on the candidate. Cite events that demonstrate competency and character. Express in great length why you personally believe your friend, classmate, or colleague is deserving of the spot. Browse these samples for an idea of what usually goes into these letters.
  • SignatureYou also have to indicate yourself as the author. Introduce yourself, what you do, and how you know the applicant.
  • SubmissionBe conscious about the instructions of hiring managers or application committees. Most likely, your friend will inform you of these. Mark the date that it is due, and send it according to the organization’s preferred means: post or e-mail, in .doc or PDF.
  • CompletionProofread your finished composition twice. It also helps to have someone else look it through too, just to be extra sure.

Formatting a Letter of Reference

As personal as its content could be, a letter of reference has to be balanced with a professional tone. It is considered a formal document, so comply with professional letter guidelines. Doing the following is the standard, but if the committee has a specific set of formatting guidelines, stick to those. Otherwise,

  • use a letter or A4-sized white bond paper,
  • have 1-inch margins on all sides,
  • use Times New Roman or any other standard font, and
  • keep the text color black.

Reference Letter Format for Scholarship

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Example Reference Letter for an Master’s Student

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Request Letter of Reference Format in PDF

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Faculty Letter of Reference Format

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When moving to a new apartment, you might also have to secure a reference letter from your previous lessor or landlord. A Landlord Reference Letter should demonstrate your obedience as a tenant, from conduct to the regular and timely payment of rent.

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