Wishes and Messages

Management reference letter

  1. Home
  2. Anniversary Wishes
  3. Management reference letter
Management reference letter
September 07, 2018 Anniversary Wishes 5 comments

Reference letter samples for an employee written by a manager manager, with tips and advice for what to include and how to write a reference letter.

Here are samples, templates and examples for writing letters of references for employment, character or personal reference. When writing a reference letter never include any negative criticism or defamatory comments as this could constitute libel. If you have nothing good to say about a person it is better to say nothing at all, and simply decline to write one. The same applies to giving references over the phone - if they are verbally negative they could be deemed slanderous. There are also implications for verbal and written references stemming from Age Discrimination Laws and Equality Legislation and related best practice.

It's better to approach requests for writing references letters positively - everyone has at least one or two good qualities which can be mentioned. If your organization has policies for managers writing reference letters for employees or ex-employees, follow the rules (for instance requiring letters to be approved by HR department).

If you require a reference from your employer it sometimes helps to draft one yourself for your manager or HR department - many managers do not have the time or are unsure about what to write, so ask if a draft letter would be helpful. Here are some examples and templates for reference letters which cover most situations. If the addressee is not known or the letter is required for general purposes, use 'To whom it may concern', instead of 'Dear Sir or Madam'. Obviously if the addressee is known then use the full name and address as this will increase the professionalism, and therefore the credibility, of the letter.

Character reference letters should be recently dated, short and to the point, and very professionally presented. Poorly presented, two-year-old, 5th generation photo-copied letters full of spelling mistakes and coffee stains will almost certainly do more harm than good. The overall quality of the letter reflects directly on the person who is the subject of the letter.

Ensure you are acting within your authority if you are writing on behalf of an organization using the official letterhead. If, as a manager, you wish to give a reference but are not permitted to do so by your organization - which would be very unusual - you might consider providing one in a personal capacity on your own private letterhead. For all requests for writing reference letters, remember the maxim 'If you can't say anything good, don't say anything'. The extent to which you praise the person in a reference letter depends on your own personal feelings - if you want to help the person a lot then do so: well-written, positive can be very helpful indeed.

In the UK the 1988 Data Protection Act has important implications for employment and education references.

See the section dealing with Data Protection and 'Subject Access Rights' in relation to references below. This is essential for employers, and very useful too for individuals, in terms of rights of access to references.

Spelling note: These tips and samples generally use spellings based on UK-English common form, for example, 'recognise', 'organise', 'specialise', whereas US-English uses the 'ize' spelling. Other words ending with 'our/or' - such as endeavour/endeavor, favour/favor - also vary in UK-English and US-English. Please change the spellings in your own references letters to suit your situation.

Reference letters structure/template

  • Addressee name and address if known
  • Date
  • Salutation ('To whom it may concern', or 'Dear Sir or Madam', or 'Dear <title> <surname>')
  • Confirm dates, job title(s) capacity, and salary and benefits details if required/appropriate.
  • Confirm that the person's performance and attitude was (at all times) satisfactory/exceeded expectations or standards.
  • Briefly explain the person's responsibilities (optional)
  • Briefly describe their skills/qualifications/strengths/characteristics (optional)
  • State that you would willingly re-employ the person if the opportunity arose (optional, and very re-assuring for the reader)
  • Offer to provide more information if required (optional)
  • Yours faithfully (or 'Yours sincerely' if writing to a named addressee)

N.B. It's a matter for your own discretion how much praise and positive information to include in the letter, hence the optional items.

Employment reference letter template sample


Date

To whom it may concern,

I confirm that (name) is/was employed as (position) with this organisation from (date) to (date/the present day), and was/is paid (salary, plus bonus and benefits as applicable).

Their job of (position) carries the following responsibilities (describe briefly the job). (Name) is skilled in (details of skills) and is also (characteristics - eg reliable dependable, a good communicators, etc).

I would happily re-employ (name) as I consider him/her to be a valuable member of the team, who consistently achieved good results and delivers all expectations.

Yours faithfully, etc


Spelling note: These references letters tips and references letters samples generally use spellings based on UK-English common form, for example, 'recognise', 'organise', 'specialise', whereas US-English uses the 'ize' spelling. Other words ending with 'our/or' - such as endeavour/endeavor, favour/favor - also vary in UK-English and US-English. Please change the spellings in your own references letters to suit your situation.

Character or personal reference letters

Certain situations require character reference letters of a more personal nature, such as character testimonials or references relating to court proceedings, or for a position in non-business organizations such as councils, trusts, clubs, or societies. In these cases follow the same principles: do not defame a person in writing or verbally when providing a reference; state only positives or nothing at all. If you need a personal or character reference always ask the writer if it would help to provide them with a draft. Writing references is time-consuming and difficult for many people - offering to provide a draft may sound cheeky, but it is often necessary and much appreciated by the writer (incidentally called the 'referee').

Be aware that offering to provide a written character reference relating to a person's court proceedings may lead to your being asked to appear in court as a character witness - so be sure that whatever you write you'd be comfortable stating it in a court of law.

Example and template for personal or character reference letter


Date

To whom it may concern

I confirm that I have known (name) for (number) years.

(State relationship - social, business, working together in some other capacity, club, activity, project, etc.)

At all times I have found (name/him/her) to be (state characteristics - eg, dependable, reliable, hard-working, conscientious, honest, peace-loving, courteous, etc - to be as helpful as possible think about what the reader will most prefer to see, in terms of satisfying concerns, or seeing evidence of relevant required skills or characteristics).

I'm happy to provide further information if required. (optional)

Yours faithfully, etc.


See the section dealing with Data Protection and 'Subject Access Rights' in relation to references below. This is essential for employers, and very useful too for individuals, in terms of rights of access to references.

Character reference letters for court appearances

Here's an example of the sort of letter you can write if asked to provide a character reference for someone you know who is to appear in court on a criminal charge. First ensure that you are personally comfortable with the responsibility of providing the character reference and potentially being called to appear in court as a character witness (the accused legal team should normally advise you on how best you can help - if in doubt ask). When using the sample letter below you can substitute the relevant character aspects of the accused that you wish to endorse or support, and which should logically relate to, and counter, the type of behaviour alleged in the court charge. If the charge relates to violence you should try to endorse and describe peace-loving attributes; if the charge relates to dishonesty, obviously try to endorse and describe honesty attributes. Integrity endorsements are obviously helpful for any situation because they hopefully support the validity of the accused person's own statements in court.

N.B. It is important to bear in mind that whatever you write you should be comfortable and capable of reliably repeating, and potentially providing examples, if required, under oath in court. Both the prosecution and defence sides have the right to force witnesses of all sorts to appear personally in court, and while most written statements and letters do not lead to a requirement to appear in person, the possibility of the need arising always exists.

Sample character reference letter (written by the character witness)

Obviously, change gender as applicable.


(date)

To whom it may concern (or Your Honour, or as advised by legal team)

Person's Full Name (heading)

I have known (name) for (number) years as (state relationship - business associate, staff member, socially, etc).

I can confirm that he is a man of great integrity, is extremely dedicated to his family and work, and is entirely peace-loving. (substitute character descriptions as applicable).

Furthermore, (add further character descriptions and/or examples of the person's behaviour and/or history supporting the above testimonial.)

For your information, I am (personal statement building your own credibility - details of position held and any other details that help build your own credibility, particularly any experience in judging the characteristics or behaviour referenced above).

Yours faithfully

Name

Position (if applicable)


Spelling note: These references letters tips and references letters samples generally use spellings based on UK-English common form, for example, 'recognise', 'organise', 'specialise', whereas US-English uses the 'ize' spelling. Other words ending with 'our/or' - such as endeavour/endeavor, favour/favor - also vary in UK-English and US-English. Please change the spellings in your own references letters to suit your situation.

Trade reference letters (for quality of service)

You may be asked by one of your suppliers to provide a trade reference letter, which they will present to a new customer seeking assurances of quality of service, reliability, etc. (See below for a sample letter relating to payment and credit-worthiness) Here's an example of a trade reference letter relating to quality of service. Use a letterheaded sheet, and date it. The subject of the letter could be a company, a sole trader or freelance supplier. Use the name of the person or the company as the heading.

Letters like this typically begin with 'To whom it may concern', which enables the reference to be used for different people requesting one.

Then insert the heading, and follow with your statement(s). It will help you to write the letter if you ask the supplier what they feel will be most useful to include. Be honest, and as generous in your praise as you can be. (As with any reference request, if you cannot say anything positive, say nothing at all.)

If you are writing a letter like this on behalf of your organization for one of its suppliers, ensure you obtain necessary approval from a director or appropriate authority (typically a finance or purchasing director), and in certain circumstances (for significant or very important references) you could actually ask the person in authority to sign the letter and send it in their name.

Trade references letters sample (for quality of service)


(date)

To whom it may concern

New Company Ltd (the supplier or person who is the subject of the reference)

I confirm that I have dealt with New Company Ltd since 1998, during which time they have provided my business with excellent support in the areas of website engineering, site optimisation, search engine analysis and site submission. Their work has been a major factor in our website's success, helping it to become one of the most visited resources of its kind on the Internet.

I can confidently recommend New Company Ltd as a solid and reliable supplier, and experts in their field.

Yours faithfully

(name and title)


Trade reference letters sample (for credit worthiness)

This is an example of a trade reference letter relating to a person's or organization's credit-worthiness and reliability for making payments. You may be asked by one of your suppliers or customers for such a letter, which they will present to a new supplier who is seeking assurances of their financial reliability and credit-worthiness. Use a letterheaded sheet, and date it. The subject of the trade letter could be a company, a sole trader or freelance supplier. Use the name of the person or the company as the heading.

Letters like this typically begin with 'To whom it may concern', which enables the reference to be used for different people requesting one.

Then insert the heading, and follow with your reference statement(s). It will help you to write the letter if you ask the supplier what they feel will be most useful to include. Be honest, and avoid negative comments as this amounts to defamation. (As with any reference request, if you cannot say anything positive, say nothing at all.)

If you are writing a letter like this on behalf of your organization for one of its suppliers, ensure you obtain necessary approval from a director or appropriate authority (typically a finance or purchasing director), and in certain circumstances (for significant or very important references) you could actually ask the person in authority to sign the letter and send it in their name.


(date)

To whom it may concern

New Company Ltd (the supplier or person who is the subject of the reference)

I confirm that New Company Ltd has been a customer of ours since 1998, during which time they have always made payments reliably, in full and on time.

Yours faithfully

(name and title)


Request for reference (from past employers and referees) 

This template is for employers seeking references from current or previous employers or other character referees for job applicants, candidates and interviewees. The template can be amended for sending to other nominated referees (eg., character reference providers).

When seeking a reference about a potential new employee or job candidate you should ask permission of the person involved.

Failing to do so undermines trust and confidence before the new person has even started the job, and sends a signal that the employer does not have strong ethical standards. Failing to divulge information relating to data obtained and held about an individual also has implications in the UK under the Data Protection Act, see below for more details.

In any event, being open and cooperative about seeking references displays trust, and demonstrates positive and ethical standards - all of which of course are very appealing employer qualities in the eyes of most employees, and especially high calibre employees. Good practice assumes that employees should always be informed clearly through appraisals and other processes as to their weaknesses, failings and transgressions. Keeping such information secret only stores up problems for the future.

Sending a template or 'pro-forma' containing relevant criteria makes it easier for the provider than simply asking to provide a reference, which stumps many referees. Better to ask them exactly what you want to know. Sending a specially created form for references therefore increases your chances of getting a reply at all, and also getting the answers about the person's characteristics and history that you most need.

As with all of the free templates on this page, employers should check with their relevant employment law department or advisors before creating, adapting and using letters and forms relating to references and recruitment, so that legal implications can be properly considered. International employment law varies around the world, and changes over time, for example the Ageism legislation effective in the UK in October 2006. When requesting and providing references it is important to act within all relevant laws relating to discrimination (gender, race, disability, etc) in addition to the laws surrounding libel and defamation, etc.

Feel free to change any of the criteria or positioning statements in the sample template below, especially if sending it to referees who are not previous or past employers (character referees, for example). For most references the criteria listed below are too many. Delete what you don't need so that you don't waste people's time providing information that is not needed.

In addition, you can also show a form like this to each job applicant to get their agreement that it's okay to send it to their referees/past employers. You could also (if you'd like to be very progressive and open about this) even ask the applicant or job candidate if they'd like anything else of relevance to be added to the form, as might enable the clearest and most helpful outcome from the exercise. Little is gained from being secretive about things, whereas much can be gained from being open and up-front.

Either incorporate this template within a letter or attach it to a covering letter, and send it to the nominated reference provider(s).

You will improve response rates if you send a stamped addressed envelope with the reference request.

Additionally (in the UK) you can help inform yourself and others about how the Data Protection Act relates to employment references (and other types of references, such as for education) by reading and enclosing a copy of the official Good Practice Notes relating to Data Protection and References, explained and available in the Data Protection and Access Rights section below.

Communicating and agreeing clear expectations with people will always greatly improve your success in everything you do, especially in sensitive areas such as requesting and giving employment references.

Request for reference template

Adapt and amend this template to suit the situation - and seek approval from the person concerned for the final version. Leave sufficient space for comments between each point. If you include every possible criterion on your 'master' form, you can delete the criteria which do not apply for each reference request situation.


(your logo, address, etc)

Confidential - Request for Reference

date...............

name of applicant..............

The above has applied for a job as ................................ with us and has suggested you might provide a reference, or has agreed that we can contact you for one. I'd be grateful for you to provide whatever details you feel able to according to the criteria below. Please don't write anything that might compromise you or your organisation (if applicable), although where clear evidence exists of significant negative history, especially of a serious nature, then we'd be grateful for such information.

If you'd prefer to speak on the phone please call me on ..................

Delete/ignore as applicable.

1. The above person was/is employed with us as .............................................. date(s) ........................

(provide estimates if precise dates are not readily available)

2. General character

3. Attitude

4. Relationships with others/peers/subordinates

5. Team-working

6. Personal integrity and honesty

6. Reliability

7. Calmness under pressure

8. Competence (state skills if appropriate..........................)

9. Ambition

10. Overall performance in past role(s) with your organisation

11. Qualifications/Training attained

12. Why did the person leave?

13. Would you re-employ the person if a suitable vacancy existed?

14. Any other comments?

15. Under the Data Protection Act (UK) the person named above would normally have access to the information provided here if requesting it from the receiving organisation. The organisation providing the reference is exempt under the Data Protection Act - but the organisation receiving the reference is not. If there are strong reasons for protecting confidentiality (risk to referee, etc) please state them here. For your information the law relating to data protection and references is explained at www.ico.org.uk.

16. Please be aware also that references are subject to legislation relating to equality and discrimination, which from 1st October 2006 also includes age.

Respondent's/Referee's signature ............................................... date..........................

Respondent's/Referee's name and title..........................................................................

On behalf of (employer/organisation, if applicable) .......................................................

Please return this form to .....................................

Reference number ...............................................

Contact details of sender of this request (email, phone, etc) .......................................................

Please make a copy of your reply for your own records and if in doubt about anything you'd like to state on this form please seek advice before writing and sending a response.

Thank you for your assistance.


Spelling note: These references letters tips and references letters samples generally use spellings based on UK-English common form, for example, 'recognise', 'organise', 'specialise', whereas US-English uses the 'ize' spelling. Other words ending with 'our/or' - such as endeavour/endeavor, favour/favor - also vary in UK-English and US-English. Please change the spellings in your own references letters to suit your situation.

Data Protection Act and employment references

The law in the UK (Apr 2006) is that employers giving references are exempt from the 'Subject Access Rights' section of the Data Protection Act, but employers receiving references are not, unless there are extremely strong reasons for preserving the confidentiality or anonymity of the reference provider (a personal risk to the referee, for example). In most cases, reasons for withholding information will not outweigh the individual's rights to 'subject access' as the Data Protection Act defines it. The arbiter in cases where a dispute might arise, is the Information Commissioner (ICO), being the government department responsible for ensuring compliance with the 1988 Data Protection Act.

See the ICO's Good Practice Notes on 'Subject Access and Employment References' from the ICO website (April 2006). This good practice note clarifies how the Data Protection Act 1998 applies to employment references. The recommendations also apply to other types of reference, such as those provided for educational purposes. This document is ICO copyright and reproduced with permission.

You can enclose a copy of the Good Practice Note with the request for reference if you feel it will be helpful for the recipient, in which case check with the ICO that you have the up-to-date version (link below).

The practical implications of the Data Protection Act are that regardless of a referee's request (or perception) that the contents of a reference will be withheld from the person who is the subject of the reference, it is unlikely that the receiving organisation can do this, should they actually want to. People requesting, giving and receiving references need to understand this, and also need to understand the details of of the Data Protection Act relating to employment references. 

If you're in a real hurry the ICO summarises 'Recommended Good Practice' relating to References and Data Protection as follows (from the ICO website, extracted April 2006):

"In most circumstances, you should provide the information in a reference, or at least a substantial part of it, to the person it is about if they ask for it. Even if the referee refuses consent, this will not necessarily justify withholding the information, particularly where this has had a significant impact on the individual, such as preventing them from taking up a provisional job offer. However, there may be circumstances where it would not be appropriate for you to release a reference, such as where there is a realistic threat of violence or intimidation by the individual towards the referee. You should consider whether it is possible to conceal the identity of the referee, although often an individual will have a good idea who has written it. If it is not reasonable in all of the circumstances to provide the information without the referee's consent, you should consider whether you can respond helpfully anyway (for example, by providing a summary of the content of the reference). This may protect the identity of the referee, while providing the individual with an overview of what it says about them."

If you need any more information about this or any other aspect of data protection, and to check for updates to the Good Practice Notes, contact Information Commissioner's Office; in my experience they are very helpful people.

Website -  www.ico.org.uk
Phone - 01625 545745
E-mail - [email protected]






See also

Other useful free information and easy guides to personal and organizational development, plus other writing techniques, templates, samples and examples:

  • effective writing techniques and tips
  • resignation letters examples and templates
  • complaints letters examples and templates
  • job-hunting method - very direct and adaptable
  • job adverts designing and writing - examples and templates
  • job descriptions writing tips, templates, examples and samples
  • sales introductions letters - tips, techniques, examples and templates
  • job interviews - tips, techniques, questions, answers
  • achieving personal change, developing confidence, and self-belief
  • age diversity and discrimination
  • ethical management and ethical business
  • love and spirituality in organisations

And on a lighter note an amusing letters example:



Use this letter of recommendation template to craft the perfect one! well-written, personalized, and truly does that former employee justice to a hiring manager.

Sample of a recommendation letter

management reference letter

Dear Mr. Lance

It is with a heavy heart that I send you the letter of reference for Martin Oliver as your next District Sales Manager. Martin has been a successful sales professional at our organisation for over 10 years and has been deserving of a managerial position for some time. Since we are not able to accommodate his career move Martin has wisely decided to move on to a better opportunity.

Martin has steadily been our best sales professional for the past four years and has been responsible for nearly 20 percent of the company’s revenue on his own. I have offered him special projects which he has excelled at but his strong desire to move into management put me into a position where I had to admit that it was time for Martin to move on.

You will find that Martin is extremely detail-oriented and never expects more out of his subordinates than he is willing to give of himself. He is not motivated by money as much as he is motivated by the long-term success of the company. Martin is one of those rare employees who understands the natural cycle of job security.

Martin will make an excellent addition to your management team and I give him my full recommendation. If you have any questions please feel free to call me at 555-320-3322 or email me at [email protected]

Sincerely Yours

Grant R. West

Sales Manager

Brixt Corporation

letter writing business communication
How can i show you that i love you
employer recommendation letter
Sample written explanation letter
new policy annocement
Sample proposal letter to sell products
is with a conjunction word
Donation offer letter

Sample of a Recommendation Letter

management reference letter

If someone who works for you is moving to a new city or looking for a new opportunity, she or he may request a professional reference letter. This letter can be helpful during the job application process, whether the employee is moving to a position in a different division of the same company or to an entirely new employer.

In your capacity as supervisor, you will likely get asked for references by your employees. Of course, it can be surprising to discover that someone is planning on moving on at a given time, for one reason or another. People move on from jobs for many reasons, and it’s most often not a reflection of your management style, especially if they feel comfortable asking you for a reference.

If you feel that you can give the person a glowing reference, you should. Be honest about their skills and qualifications, and provide specific anecdotes of success on the job where you can. Make sure that you ask what reference letter format is required, and for a contact name where possible. If you don't feel that you can give a strong endorsement, here's how to turn down a request for a reference.

What to Include in a Professional Reference

Some information is standard to include in a reference letter. You will want to mention in what capacity and for how long you have known the employee, as well as highlighting his or her particular skills, abilities, and talents. The letter should also include your contact information so that potential new employers can easily follow up to ask more questions if necessary.

The following are examples of professional reference letters written for an employee who is job seeking. The first is written as a business letter and would be mailed or sent as an attachment (which could be printed for an employee file).

Begin with your name, title, company, address, phone and email information. Follow with the date and the hiring manager’s name, title, company, and address. Begin your letter with a salutation, followed by the body of your letter. End your letter with a business closing and your signature on a hard copy, followed by your typed name. Just your typed name needs to be included if you’re not printing the letter.

If you are emailing the reference rather than typing a letter, the Subject Line of the email message should contain the name of the person you are providing the reference for.

Include your full name with your title and contact information in your signature, so that potential employers can easily get in touch if they would like more information or clarification.

Professional Reference Letter Sample

You can use this sample as a model to write a professional reference letter. Download the template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online), or read the text version below.

Download the Word Template

Professional Reference Letter Sample (Text Version)

Denise Spaat
TREX, Inc.
76 Main Street
Any City, State Zip Code
123-456-7890
spaatd@email.com

Date

Catherine Zaboda
DRES, Inc.
532 East 95th Street
Every City, State Zip Code

Dear Catherine,

April Rango has been an employee here at TREX, Inc. for the past five years. She has been a pleasure to work with, bringing her attention to detail to every project. Her communication and people skills are excellent, and she has some very innovative ideas.

I can highly recommend her for the opportunity that you have available. It is a very similar position to the one she currently holds here, and she is well suited to the challenges it provides. April is a talented young woman, and everyone here wishes her all the best with her move to Every City.

If you need any additional information, please contact me.

Best regards,

Denise Spaat (written signature)

Denise Spaat (typed name)

Professional Reference Email Sample (Text Only)

Subject line: Derrick White - Reference

Dear Ms. Chin,

I'm writing to recommend Derrick White. I've worked with Derrick for the past five years at ABC Event Planning Company; for three of those years, he was my direct report.

In the time I've known him, Derrick has consistently been a strong employee — capable of taking control of big projects and executing to the fullest. As well, he's a pleasure to work with. Derrick is cheerful in the face of daunting deadlines and always available to lend a hand to co-workers when necessary.

Rarely do you come across someone who is talented at both big picture ideas and executing the small details — Derrick is just that person. As an account supervisor here at ABC Event Planning Company, he pitches event plans to clients and then manages the client relationship from ideation through execution. Derrick would be a great fit for your company, building strong relationships and ensuring successful events.

I highly recommend Derrick as an employee at your company. He would be an asset to any organization. Please do not hesitate to be in touch if you have any further questions.

Best,

Tanisha Jones
Director, ABC Event Planning Company
jonestan@email.com
555-555-5555

Use this letter of recommendation template to craft the perfect one! well-written, personalized, and truly does that former employee justice to a hiring manager.

7+ Manager Reference Letter Templates

management reference letter

Anyone who’s applied for a job knows how important recommendation letters can be to getting hired. While you've probably asked for a reference letter in the past, you may be less familiar with writing one. If someone asks you for a reference, how can you produce a great letter that will help your employee, colleague, or friend get hired?

To help you through the writing process, we’re providing nine samples of effective letters of recommendation (scroll down to skip to the samples!). By reading through these examples, you’ll gain a clear understanding of how to structure your own letters.

Before getting to the free recommendation letter samples, let’s briefly review the role that reference letters play in the hiring process. Why are they important, and what makes some stand out over others?

 

Why Are Recommendation Letters Important?

Many employers request recommendation letters to help them decide who to hire or internally promote. Throughout the hiring process, the applicant strives to present herself in the best light. Beyond the interview and resume, hiring managers look to recommendation letters to confirm the candidate’s qualifications and to gain insight from an outside party.

The hiring manager wants to know what experiences the candidate will bring to the new role, how she’ll contribute to the company or organization, and how she’ll behave in the day-to-day. Recommendation letters can point to a candidate’s future performance by talking about her past achievements.

Reference letters can also shed light on what it’s like to manage, work with, or, in the case of a character reference, be friends with the person under consideration. They complement the candidate’s story and suggest what she’ll bring to the table in her next job.

If you get asked to write a letter for someone, it’s safe to assume you want to do a good job. Helping someone get hired is not just a satisfying good deed, but it’s also good professional karma! So how can you turn those good intentions into a stand-out employee letter of recommendation?

Each letter will, of course, be different, but good letters share certain key features. Read on to learn about three important characteristics of strong reference letters.

Your recommendation letter's not the time to be cagey about your identity! The hiring manager wants to know who you are and why you're qualified to recommend the applicant.

 

What Makes a Recommendation Letter Stand Out? 3 Key Features

Strong letters give positive descriptions of a candidate’s skills in a concise and powerful way. Beyond using language that's clear and error-free, what elements should your recommendation letter include to be effective?

As you write your letter, make sure it does the following:

 

#1: Explains Why You’re Qualified to Recommend the Candidate

In order to hold weight, a recommendation letter should come from a reputable source. If an employer wants a professional reference, then the writer of that letter probably worked with the candidate in a supervisory capacity. Some employers will also be interested in letters from a colleague or, occasionally, a friend, neighbor, or family member. Most letters, though, will be written by a supervisor, manager, or boss of some sort.

In the first paragraph, you should explain who you are and how you know the candidate. How long did you work with her and in what capacity? By explaining your relationship, you show that you’re qualified to give an honest assessment.

If someone who feels like a relative stranger asks you to write a letter, you might consider declining or recommending someone else to write it. If you didn’t get to know the candidate’s work performance or only did so in a way completely unrelated to the new position, then you might not be able to provide a helpful letter of recommendation from employer to employee.

The best letters are written by people who can speak to the candidate’s skills and accomplishments. Make sure to state clearly in the beginning of your letter who you are and why your opinion matters.

 

#2: Customized to the New Position

While you should speak to the candidate’s accomplishments in her past role, you should also show why she’d make a good fit in the next one. Even if the candidate’s making a career change, you can explain why she’ll be able to do well in the new industry.

Here’s where open communication with the applicant is important. She should share the job description so you have a clear understanding of the position’s requirements. As the writer, you’re not expected to do much research on the new job. The candidate should provide you with everything you need to know to customize your letter.

By drawing on this information, you can express confidence that the candidate will succeed in the new role. Then when the hiring manager reads your letter, she’ll feel reassured that the candidate would make a good fit.

 

#3: Uses Specific Examples and Anecdotes

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, your letter should provide specific examples about the candidate. Don’t just list adjectives like, “friendly, intelligent, and hard-working”; instead, present circumstances in which the candidate demonstrated those qualities. To borrow a favorite phrase of English teachers, “show, don’t just tell.”

Not only will examples point to the value the candidate brought to your organization or company, but they’ll also paint a picture of how she works in day-to-day operations. Using two to three specific anecdotes in your letter will boost its level of persuasiveness. It will also sidestep a common rec letter trap: becoming a generic list of cliches.

Just as you should only write a recommendation letter if you feel qualified to assess the candidate, you should also only write it if you can provide a great one. While you don’t want to go over the top and sound insincere, your letter should be a strongly positive endorsement.

 

Want to provide a strong recommendation for your employee, but don't have the time to craft the perfect letter?

PrepScholar's new recommendation tool, SimpleRec, takes you from good intentions and a blank page to a fully written and formatted letter of recommendation in under 5 minutes. All you need to do is give us some simple pieces of information about your employee and your experience working with them, and we'll do the rest.

Try out SimpleRec risk-free today:

 

Sample Recommendation Letters

As you read through the nine free job recommendation letters below, notice how they all share the three key features described above, even though they differ in terms of their source and target audience. Below are nine sample recommendation letters, each followed by an analysis of what it does well!

 

After checking out the above samples of recommendation letters, read on for some final thoughts on how to write an excellent letter of recommendation for an employee, coworker, or friend. 

 

Now that you've got all the building blocks, you can put them together into a powerful letter of recommendation!

 

Writing Strong Letters of Recommendation: Final Thoughts

While the above samples of recommendation letters will help guide you through the letter writing process, they can’t look exactly like your final product. Writing a letter is a significant undertaking, as it requires you to customize your words to the candidate and make your letter unique. Even though the specifics will vary, strong letters of recommendation do have certain features in common. Each letter should...


Use an Official Format

The sample letters show the proper format for a recommendation letter. They have the employer’s name, position, company, and company’s address at the top. To give one example, here's the header for recommendation letter sample #1:

 

Ms. Greta Johanssen
Sales Manager
Streambase Corp.
66 Western Boulevard
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87500


You should also use official letterhead that has your name and contact information across the top, in whatever way you've chosen to present it. Each letter is addressed to a specific person, a greeting that’s more personal than, “Dear Hiring Manager.” Typically, paragraphs are single-spaced with a double space in between each one.

Finally, every letter concludes with an invitation to contact the writer for any further information. Then the writer may include her position, company, phone number, and email below her name.

 

Start with a Strong Opener

The strongest letters start out with an immediate statement of support. They might say, “It’s my honor,” “It’s my pleasure,” or “I’m very pleased to provide this letter of recommendation for Joe.” Stating the obvious with a sentence like, “I’m writing to recommend Joe,” looks weak beside a more enthusiastic opener.

In the first paragraph, explain who you are and why you’re qualified to recommend the candidate. Write a line or two of praise about her professional and personal strengths, perhaps with a summary of the main points you’ll present in the rest of the letter.

 

Include Two to Three Specific Examples

As mentioned above, strong letters typically include two to three body paragraphs with specific anecdotes about the candidate. They don’t just describe the applicant’s great qualities and accomplishments; they give examples and prove to her prospective employer that she’s made achievements in the past that predict future success.

You might talk about a project or responsibility of the applicant or the value she’s brought to your company. Consider relevant qualities like flexibility, initiative, leadership, growth, collaboration, interpersonal skills, and/or ability to perform within a certain environment or culture.

 

To Sum Up...

Depending on your relationship with the candidate, you might focus more on her work performance or personal character in your recommendation letter. An employer will focus more heavily on professional skills while a coworker may add personal qualities.

A friend or neighbor providing a character reference would produce the most personal letter. It falls upon the candidate to choose her recommenders wisely and to share any relevant information about the prospective position to help them write the best letter they can.

As long as you incorporate the key features discussed above and take the time to make your letter positive and specific, you’ll provide a strong recommendation letter that will help your employee, colleague, or friend get hired. And who knows - perhaps in a year or two, she’ll be writing a recommendation letter for you!

 

What's Next?

Are you tasked with writing a recommendation letter for a student applying to college? If so, check out these samples of recommendation letters from teachers and counselors, along with additional writing tips and a thorough recommendation letter template!

 

Want to provide a strong recommendation for your employee, but don't have the time to craft the perfect letter?

PrepScholar's new recommendation tool, SimpleRec, takes you from good intentions and a blank page to a fully written and formatted letter of recommendation in under 5 minutes. All you need to do is give us some simple pieces of information about your employee and your experience working with them, and we'll do the rest.

Try out SimpleRec risk-free today:

 

WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: 🇨🇦 Reference letter for job experiences (Canada Expess Entry 2018)

Craft a professional recommendation letter (or reference letter) in minutes If you're a manager writing for an employee, the tone will be much.

management reference letter
Written by Zugor
Write a comment