Also known as a character reference, this document comes from personal sources for professional purposes. It belongs to the list of documents that support your application for work or for school.
Apart from your qualifications, competencies, and experience, it is also important for institutions to determine your character and personality. They are able to do so from your conduct in interviews, through correspondence, and from personal reference letters.
Not all institutions ask for personal reference letters. Unless required by them, it is not obligatory that you attach copies. Committees that do ask for personal reference letters typically need just one. If so, give some consideration about the people you should approach. Learn more about character references below and be guided with these Sample Letters.
Sample Personal Character Reference Letters
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Personal Reference Letters versus Professional Reference Letters
It is easy to mistake both for each other. They are recommendation letters from people who know you, to attest to the qualifications that you have presented. The difference lies in the type of people that write them for you. Take note of the distinction between the words personal and professional: Character references are by people you know personally; hence the label, whereas professional references are from those that know you within formal settings. These could be
- managers, and
- office supervisors.
The writers of professional reference letters are individuals with superiority over you; individuals who have been been able to observe, determine, and assess your performance, your work ethic, and your character. Whether for a new job or an academic pursuit, admissions committees usually ask for three of these letters, which are also known as professional letters of recommendation.
Professional references are the more commonly requested, but some institutions may ask for both.
Who Can Make Personal Reference Letters?
Character references are made by any of the following:
- colleagues, and
- others that you have personal ties and relations with.
Select the ones who you believe can attest to your character and conduct the best.
How Do You Request for Personal Reference Letters?
As much as possible, ask for character references in person. But when your chosen writers live far from you, then send them a letter of request through e-mail or post. Try not to sound desperate as though you are begging for their reference. Also, do not be disappointed if they refuse. Writing character references can be very daunting because everyone knows that although sentimental and personal as reflected in these Sample Character Reference Letters, these documents are considered formal records with make-or-break factors to applications. Remain gracious and grateful, and just approach your next candidate.
How Are Personal Reference Letters Formatted?
In spite of its personal content, character references are expected to be in the format of professional business letters. For reference see these Sample Reference Letter Formats. It should therefore comply with the following guidelines:
- in Times New Roman, or any other professional font;
- sized 12;
- with black text;
- printed on a letter or A4-sized bond paper; and
- with 1-inch margins on all sides.
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Your character references should demonstrate your personality based off experiences and observations with people who are close to you. For more ideas on the content, see these Sample Letters of Reference.
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