How To Write A Reference Letter Or A Letter Of Recommendation

writing-a-letter-by-MDGovpicsMost of us will be asked to write a letter of recommendation at one time or another. However, it’s not always easy to find the right words. Sometimes, it’s difficult to just get started!

Whether the reference letter is for a job, a scholarship, a grant, or some other opportunity, there are some key points you will want to make when writing your letter of recommendation.

Why? Because the better your letter is, the more likely your friend or relative will get what it is they are seeking.

Here are the most important things you will want to include when writing a letter of recommendation or reference letter for a friend or colleague…

There are 3 main types of reference letters. Here’s an overview of how each is written differently:



Most Important Points To Make

When it comes to writing a letter of recommendation, there are some key things to keep in mind. For starters, the main things you wan to be sure to include:


#1 Explain how you know the person.

Your relationship to the person you’re writing the letter for is very important. You should explain this right away, because it clarifies why you are qualified to write a letter of recommendation for this person.


#2 Explain what the person did for you in the past

If the individual was your employee, then explain what the person’s job was and what their job duties entailed. If the person was your student, then say what classes they took from you and how they did in those classes. If the letter is a character reference, then you want to focus on the person’s personality traits and how those traits make them the best person for this particular task.


#3 Explain why you are recommending the person.

Be sure to explain you you feel this person is the best possible choice for the position. Go into detail, and provide examples which back up your reasoning. Stories about the person are important, but don’t go overboard.



Helpful Tips For Writing Reference Letters

  • Don’t use wording that could be used to reference race, religion or anything else that could be taken as discrimination.
  • Avoid wording that smacks of generalities or platitudes.
  • Use attributes that fit the person you are writing the letter for, such as interpersonal skills & sociability, imagination & creative thinking, leadership, dedication, intelligence, and honesty & integrity — just to name a few.
  • Always be honest.
  • If you don’t have the time to write the letter (or don’t think you can be enthusiastic about the person that is requesting the letter), then gently refuse and suggest they ask someone else. There is nothing worse than a lukewarm recommendation letter; it could be the kiss of death for the person requesting the letter.
  • The length of your reference letter will be determined by a number of different factors. Use these tips as a guide.
  • Add your contact information at the end, so you can be contacted for further recommendation if necessary.


Need Help With The Specifics?

What To Include In The Opening, Body & Closing

Step-By-Step How To Write A Reference Letter

How To Format Your Letter of Recommendation

Letter Of Recommendation Power Phrases


Actual Examples Of Recommendation Letters

Recommendation Letter Demonstrating Leadership

Letter Of Recommendation Template

Academic Letter of Recommendation

Reference Letter For Undergraduate College Admission

Samples For Various Types Of Reference Letters

Reference Letter Template

Examples Of Character Reference Letters

Sample Recommendation Letters For All Occasions

Template For A Letter Of Recommendation

A Collection Of Sample Reference Letters



Keeping these tips and techniques in mind when writing your recommendation letter will ensure that both you, the person who you’re writing the letter for (and the reader of the letter) will walk away happy and satisfied.



Some of my favorite things to write about are topics that have to do with living green, saving money, pregnancy, weddings, and dogs. When I'm not writing, I love to spend time with my husband, read, create 3D artwork and Native American beadwork.

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