The task of having to request or write a reference can be quite a challenging and difficult task. Selecting someone to write a reference for you requires careful selection of who can provide reliable and proper feedback about you. It also requires you to properly word your reference request.

On the other hand, if you are the one writing a letter of reference, you will need to know how to properly format the letter and the type of information that you need to include. A letter of reference can make or break someone’s application, which is why creating a good reference letter truly matters.

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A lot of organizations require a letter of reference as a part of an application process. For example, some schools or universities require references, especially from previous instructors or professors, employers typically require references from previous or current employers, and even landlords will require references from previous landlords, lenders, etc.

Unlike other types of application paperwork or documents, a letter of reference is unique because it comes from a third party who is not, in any way, connected to the application process. This particular third party provides information about an applicants skills, talents, traits, strengths, and personal views about the candidate.

There are different types of reference letters and they all vary according to purpose. Some reference letters are focused on an individual’s character while others are focused on a person’s skills and abilities. A person who is tasked to make a letter of reference should first know what the applicant is wanting to focus on. For example, if the letter is meant for an application to get into a university, the letter should be focused on the individual’s academic performance. Below are some tips to help get you started in your reference letter writing:

Know the Purpose of the Letter

Before whipping up a letter of reference, take the time to talk with the applicant and make sure that you understand his goals before you create your letter. Understanding the individual’s goals and purpose for his application will help you make a letter of reference that is focused on its purpose.

Professional Recommendation Letter Format for Colleague

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State Your Relationship

Your letter of reference should specify your relationship with the person requesting for recommendation as well as the period of time that you were able to know or work with the person and to what degree. This information allows recipients to gauge the credibility and worth of your reference.

Provide Details

If you are an employer or a supervisor who has been asked to provide a recommendation, try to provide details about the person’s work responsibilities and cite examples about how the employee was able to handle challenging situations or how he was able to make a positive impact to the company.

Highlight Achievements and Strengths

Be precise in discussing the individual’s greatest assets, strengths, and achievements. These are considered to be the highlight of a reference letter, so be sure to provide vivid details about these type of information and provide examples that help to support your claims.

Finale

End your letter of reference by providing a summary of the key elements that you have mentioned in the letter and end the letter with your name and contact information so that the recipient can contact you for follow-ups or further questions.

You can also view our Sample Letters for templates on Letter of Reference Format and Personal Reference Letter. Our templates are easily accessible and can be tailored to fit your referencing needs.

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