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General recommendation letter template

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General recommendation letter template
July 17, 2019 Wedding Anniversary Wishes No comments

person writing the letter of recommendation has been in an academic or . The following is a general “template” to follow in organizing the content of your letter.

Writing a Reference Letter (With Examples)

By Ali Hale

At some point in life, you’re almost certainly going to have to write a reference letter for someone. It might be a former employee or student, or even a family friend. Here’s what you need to know about the purpose of reference letters and how to write the most effective letter possible.

Note: I will be using “candidate” to refer to the person who the reference letter is about, “you” to refer to the person writing the reference letter, and “recipient” to refer to the person receiving the letter. I’ll emphasise here, though, that reference letters are not only for job or academic “candidates”, it’s just a handy term to use to keep this article straightforward!

What is a reference letter and when are they used?

A reference letter is usually written to testify to a person or (occasionally) a company’s skills, character and/or achievements. Sometimes a reference letter is known as a “recommendation letter”. It is a formal document, and should be typed and written in a serious and business-like style.

Reference letters are used in a wide variety of situations; there is no definitive list that covers all possible scenarios. The most common examples are:

  • When a candidate applies for a job, they may need a reference to support their application.
  • If an interviewee is given a job offer, they may need to supply a reference letter before the contract can be signed.
  • A student applying for an academic course often requires a reference letter to support their application.
  • A student applying for funding will often need to supply reference letters.
  • Companies may use reference letters as testimonies to their trustworthiness and ability to carry out a job well.
  • Prospective tenants may need to provide their landlord with a reference letter, testifying to their good financial status. (This could be from a prior landlord or from a current employer.)

Who should write a reference letter?

If you are approached and asked to write a reference letter for a job candidate, a student or a company, consider whether you can legitimately do so. A reference letter is a formal document, and it is crucial that you do not lie or fudge the truth in it, or there could be legal repercussions. If someone wants a reference letter from you:

  • The candidate should be someone you know reasonably well. For example, you cannot provide any authoritative comment on the academic ability of a student who’s only been attending your lectures for a week.
  • You should know the candidate in a capacity which gives you the ability to write a meaningful reference. For example, if you have worked with the person, it would be appropriate for you to write a reference letter to a prospective employer for them.
  • You should be able to provide an honest and positive reference. If you truly feel that the candidate has no good qualities for you to emphasis, or if you have had a personality clash with them in the past, you should tell them to seek a reference letter from someone else.

What goes into a reference letter?

The exact structure of a reference letter will differ slightly depending on the type of reference it is, but this is a good basic outline:

  1. Start using the business letter format: put the recipient’s name and address, if known, and address them as “Dear [name]”. If the recipient is currently unknown (this would be likely on an academic application, for instance), then use “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To whom it may concern”.
  2. It is often helpful to introduce yourself in the first couple of lines of your letter. The recipient will not need your life history: just give a brief sentence or two explaining your position and your relationship to the candidate.
  3. Your next paragraph should confirm any facts which you know the candidate will be supplying along with your letter. For example, if you are writing a reference for a job applicant, some or all of these details may be appropriate:
    • The person’s job title, and role within the company.
    • The person’s leaving salary when they were last employed by you (or your organisation).
    • The dates which the person was employed from and until.

    If you are writing a reference letter for an academic course, you will need to confirm the person’s academic grades.

  4. In your third paragraph, you should provide your judgement upon the candidate’s skills and qualities. It is often appropriate to state that you would gladly re-employ them, or that their contributions to your college class were highly valued. Single out any exceptional qualities that the candidate has – perhaps their drive and enthusiasm, their attention to detail, or their ability to lead.
  5. Where possible, use your fourth paragraph to give a couple of concrete examples of times when the candidate excelled. (You may want to ask the candidate to tell you about any extra-curricular projects they’ve been involved in, or invite them to highlight anything they’d particularly like you to include in the reference letter.)
  6. Close your letter on a positive note, and if you are willing to receive further correspondence about the candidate’s application, make this clear. Include your contact details too.
  7. As with any business letter, you should end appropriately; “Yours sincerely” when you are writing to a named recipient, and “Yours faithfully” when you do not know who will be receiving the letter.

Things to avoid

Make sure that you avoid:

  • Mentioning any weaknesses the candidate has.
  • Saying anything that could be construed as libel.
  • Writing in an informal manner: keep the letter business-like. Jokes, slang and casual language are not appropriate and may harm the candidate’s chances.
  • Including personal information not relevant to the application. Mentioning the candidate’s race, political stance, religion, nationality, marital status, age or health is usually inappropriate.
  • Spelling mistakes, sloppy writing or typos: this letter is hugely important to the candidate, and you should take care to make it look professional.

Reference Letter Examples

There are a number of good templates for reference letters available on Business Balls. I’ve included one below, which would be appropriate for a general-purpose reference – if you were writing a reference in your capacity as the candidate’s former employer, you would need to include more specific details:


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.

You can find examples of full reference letters on About.com’s “job searching” section. They list letters appropriate for a variety of different situations: here’s one from a previous employer in support of a job candidate:

To Whom it May Concern:

I highly recommend Jane Doe as a candidate for employment. Jane was employed by Company Name as an Administrative Assistant from 2002 – 2005. Jane was responsible for office support including word processing, scheduling appointments and creating brochures, newsletters, and other office literature.

Jane has excellent communication skills. In addition, she is extremely organized, reliable and computer literate. Jane can work independently and is able to follow through to ensure that the job gets done. She is flexible and willing to work on any project that is assigned to her. Jane was quick to volunteer to assist in other areas of company operations, as well.

Jane would be a tremendous asset for your company and has my highest recommendation. If you have any further questions with regard to her background or qualifications, please do not hesitate to call me.


John Smith

If you are still unsure what best to include in the reference letter, imagine yourself in the position of the candidate’s prospective employer, or of the panel reading his/her academic application. What information would they need to know? What qualities would they like their candidates to have? Obviously, you should never lie or mislead in a reference letter, but you should try to focus on areas which will give the recipient the most useful information possible about the candidate.

Video Recap

How to Ask for a Reference Letter

If you’re in the position of requiring a reference from a past employer or from someone who taught you at school or university, then you need to approach them in an appropriate way.

“Appropriate” might be quite formal or quite informal, depending on your relationship with them. For instance, if you’re approaching a lecturer who taught you along with dozens of other students and who does not know you well, it’s appropriate to be quite formal; if you’re approaching your former line manager, who you shared nights out and weekends away with for years, then being formal would seem strangely standoffish.

In a fairly formal context, you might write something like this:

Dear (name)

I hope all is going well (at their company / in their department).

I’m applying for (give brief details of the role or position you’re applying for). Would you be able to provide a reference letter for me? I’d be very grateful. You can send it to (add the name and contact details here)

With thanks in advance,

(Your name)

If you’re approaching someone who you’re on very friendly terms with, it’s really up to you to decide what to say.

Whatever the situation, it often makes sense to mention particular points that it would be helpful for the reference to cover (e.g. “The company is especially keen to know about my experience with summarising complex information quickly, as that will be a major part of the role.”)

It can also be helpful to include details that the person writing the letter may not be aware of. For instance, if you took part in significant extra-curricular activities at university alongside your studies, you may want to mention this.

Writing a Reference Letter: Quick Summary

When you’re writing a reference letter, you should:

  • Ascertain why the referee needs the letter. A reference letter for an academic position will read very different from a reference letter for a prospective landlord.
  • Consider whether you can reasonably provide the type of reference required. If you do not know the candidate well, or if you are unable to give them a positive reference, you should encourage them to seek someone else.
  • Format your letter as a standard business letter, and briefly introduce yourself at the start.
  • Confirm key facts about the applicant (e.g. how long they worked for you, and in what role).
  • Provide your judgement upon the candidate’s skills and qualities. Be honest, but do focus on the things that you feel will reflect the candidate in a positive light.

If you’re asking someone to provide a reference letter, you should approach them in an appropriate way, and give them the information they need in order to write you a good reference.

Reference Letter Quiz

For each question, select the correct answer.

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Everyone knows that letters of recommendation can be tough to write. Use this letter of recommendation template to craft the perfect one!.

Letter of Recommendation

general recommendation letter template

Writing a letter of recommendation doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Ideally, you're writing the letter for someone you feel merits praise, so all you have to do is get your positive feedback on the candidate down on paper. There are, however, standard things that you want to make sure to mention in your endorsement for the candidate. Following a template can help ensure that you are hitting all the important points in your letter, so it will be as effective and informative as possible. 

What to Write in a Letter of Recommendation

Ask the individual you are assisting to provide you with their resume, a list of volunteer or extracurricular activities where they have held leadership roles, and a copy of all job postings to which they are applying.

You should also ask them to alert you when they have used your letter of recommendation so that you can be prepared to speak on their behalf should an employer call you for additional information.

The recommendation letter template below shows the format of a typical letter of reference for employment or educational purposes. The format is appropriate for an employment reference, as well as a reference for college or graduate studies (review samples).

Recommendation Letter Template

Your Contact Information
Your Name
Your Title
Company or School Name
City, State Zip Code

If you are writing a personal letter of reference, include a salutation (such as Dear Mr. Johnson, Dear Dr. Jameson, etc.).

If you are writing a general letter, use "To Whom it May Concern" or don't include a salutation. If you don't include a salutation, start your letter with the first paragraph.

The first paragraph of a recommendation letter explains your connection to the person you are recommending, including how you know them, and why you are qualified to recommend the person for employment or school.

Example: “I met Susan when she was a Freshman in my Introductory Economics course at WVU. Throughout her studies in my department, I had the opportunity to work with her on several research projects where she acted as my assistant.”

The second paragraph of a recommendation letter contains information about the individual you are writing about, including why they are qualified for a position, what they can contribute, and why you are recommending them. If necessary, use more than one paragraph to provide details.

Example: “Bill graduated with honors in Philosophy, always focused on how his future would progress. He knew he wanted to pursue a doctorate very early on, and has worked independently, in groups, and as a research assistant. I believe that Bill would be an asset to your department, as he brings a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm to his studies. He is a very bright and qualified individual, and a pleasure to work with.”

When writing a letter recommending a candidate for a specific job opening, the recommendation letter should include information on how the person's skills match the position they are applying for.

Ask for a copy of the job posting and a copy of the person's resume so you can target your letter accordingly.

Example: “I believe that Christine would be an excellent addition to your international sales team. When I worked with her at XYZ, I was impressed by her ability to communicate the effectiveness of our products to our clients and close a sale. During the two years I worked with her, she was personally responsible for adding several new clients in Asia and Africa.”

This section of the recommendation letter contains a brief summary of why you are recommending the person. Use phrases like "strongly recommend," or "recommend without reservation," or "Candidate has my highest recommendation" to reinforce your endorsement.

Example: “During my acquaintance with Joanne, she has been efficient, professional, organized, and a fantastic team leader. She has my highest recommendation for the position of office manager at DEF Inc.”

The concluding paragraph of your recommendation letter contains an offer to provide more information. Include a phone number within the paragraph, and provide the phone number again and also your email address in the return address section of your letter or under your signature.

Example: “Please feel free to contact me at 123-456-7890 if you need any additional information or clarification.”

Recommender Name
Email Address
Phone Number

Recommendation Letter Example

This is a recommendation letter sample. Download the letter template (compatible with Google Docs or Word Online) or read the example below.

Download the Word Template

Recommendation Letter Example (Text Version)

September 27, 2018

Jessica Smith
Office Manager
Acme Corp
680 Main Boulevard, Ste. 300
Ocean City, CA 93650

Dear Ms. Smith,

I’m writing to recommend Mary Thompson for the position of administrative assistant at Acme Corp. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Mary for the past few years at CBI Industries, and have been consistently impressed with her diligence, efficiency, and ability to get things done.

Most recently, Mary has worked for me directly as a receptionist in our main office. In this role, she performed many administrative tasks in addition to greeting customers and other visitors and organizing team events. For example, she currently manages our executive team’s schedules and organizes their appointments, as well as coordinating travel and expense reporting. 

I believe that Mary would be an excellent addition to your administrative staff. I’ve been consistently impressed with her organizational skills and grace under pressure. In our industry, as you know, every position is a customer service position. Mary constantly seeks to learn more about our products and programs so that she can help serve our clients and mitigate issues as they come up. She’s also a quick learner who picks up new technology with great speed.

I strongly recommend Mary for the position of administrative assistant at your company. She’s organized, detail-oriented, effective, and committed to getting the job done. She’d make an excellent addition to your team.

Please feel free to contact me at 555-555-5555 if you have any questions.


Elaine Chang
Office Manager, CBI Industries

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Employee reference letter sample

general recommendation letter template

This will help you draft a shining letter of reference

Having already discussed how to write a general letter of recommendation and how to write an employee recommendation letter, this article will provide an example employee recommendation letter to illustrate exactly how this letter can be formatted and written. And remember, your letter should be professionally written and error-free. Send your recommendation letter to us for proofreading to be sure it is concise, properly formatted, and best reflects key points. Good luck!

To Whom it May Concern:


Anita Job was employed as an Administrative Assistant from 2002 – 2005. During her time at Inatech, Anita was responsible for office support, including word processing, scheduling appointments and creating brochures, newsletters, and other office literature.

Anita fulfilled employment responsibilities with little supervision. The position required interaction with the public, as well as the ability to liaise between different departments. Success was dependant on strong communication and interpersonal skills.

I am happy to act as a reference for Anita and can speak to her customer service skills, work ethic, computer literacy, and professionalism. Please feel free to contact me should you require further information.




Tom Thomson

Community Involvement Coordinator


123 Fake Street

(555) 555-1234

[email protected]

Image source: Markus Spiske/Unsplash.com

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How to Write a Candidate Rejection Letter

The hiring process is never easy, and finding the perfect candidate can be a challenge. When you do find the individual you wish to hire, it is certainly to your advantage to notify the other applicants that they were not selected for the position. Before you say that you just don’t have the time to send letters to everyone you interviewed, let’s take a closer look at the candidate rejection letter and why it’s so important.

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation

Writing a recommendation letter may seem like a daunting task. Here are some guidelines that can help you get the style, tone, content, and presentation of your letter just right. The end result will be an effective and professional recommendation.

 Back to Advice and Articles

The five sample letters that follow, which you can download by clicking on the link below, are for circumstances where the candidate is seeking an internship or.

Letter of Recommendation Templates – Samples and Examples

general recommendation letter template

A business reference letter is a document which contains a recommendation and it’s given on behalf of a vendor, a client or any other type of business associate. As some point, you may have to provide such a letter which is also known as a business recommendation letter or a company recommendation letter. Read on to learn more about this letter and how to compose one.


Business Reference Letters

When to use a business reference letter

A business reference letter is a written recommendation given by one entity on behalf of another entity which can either be an individual or an organization. It verifies the quality of goods and services or the dealings offered by the organization or individual to a potential client who plans to hire them.

Nowadays there are so many businesses available that it can be extremely challenging to compete without reference or business recommendation letters. If you’re a business owner, you know that there are a lot of generic partners or employers who want to learn more about your business and your reputation.

The best way they can learn about your business is through written references and recommendations. Therefore, it’s important to have a company recommendation letter before attempting to knock on the doors of clients or businesses you want to offer your services to.

You can also use such a letter when looking for a new job, a business partner or a service contract. The letter:

  • Acts as your endorsement in written form.
  • Explains in detail the qualification of the person who wrote the letter.
  • Provides insight into the reputation of the entity referred to.

Writing a business reference letter can be quite a challenge, especially when you don’t have an idea of where to start. The good thing is that you can either download a template or read letter samples to learn more about such letters. After doing this, you’ll realize that such a letter is very simple.

To write an effective reference letter, you must include the following elements:

  • Your name and contact details as well as the ones who will receive the reference letter.
  • The name of your business or organization and the name of the business which will receive the reference letter.
  • The date you wrote the letter.
  • A formal salutation.
  • Your qualifications as the author of the letter.
  • Your general impressions about the organization or person referred to in the letter along with their responsibilities and character.
  • The nature of your relationship with the one referred to in it.
  • Details which show why the person or organization qualifies for the job.
  • Your willingness to work with the one referred to in the letter again.
  • How the reader can reach you in case of questions or follow-up.

As long as you include all of these basic elements in your letter, you can send it and expect positive feedback from the recipient. When you have to compose a reference letter for a former service provider or employee, just keep these elements in mind. You can also download a template and customize it as needed.

Business Recommendation Letter

Rules to follow when writing a business reference letter

Whether you manage a small business or a big one, you must learn how to write an effective business reference letter. You would have to compose this letter for any employees who have decided to search for other employment opportunities. Providing a great business recommendation letter gives them an edge over the competition.

Although there are no standard guidelines for writing reference letters, there are some rules you must follow:


There is a basic structure to follow when writing business reference letters. It starts with the mailing address of the recipient followed by a formal salutation. After this comes the body of your letter. Of course, this is where you provide details about your recommendation or referral to the recipient.

After the body, the next part is a closing statement after which, you type your full name. Proofread your letter, print it out, then affix your signature right above your name.


In the body of your letter, include a statement which confirms or verifies the employment details and the qualifications of the person you’re referring to in the letter. Some important details include employment dates, the job title and capacity, and even the salary of the employee if needed.

You may also share details about the employee’s attitude and performance too. If the employee’s performance was more than you expected, you might want to include this in the letter along with some details.

When you write the letter as a reference for one of your previous employees, you would have to provide recommendations for them to get a good position in another organization. In such cases, you may also want to include the previous responsibilities held by your previous employee in the company.

Other details to include are the employee’s professional strengths and skills. Also, indicate your willingness to hire the employee again if he re-applies to your organization. If you still have space in the letter, you may share specific projects or situations which show the skills and strengths of the employee you’re referring to in your letter.


When it comes to formatting, reference letters vary. But just like with the structure, most people follow a basic style. Align the recipient’s mailing address, the salutation, the body, your name, and signature on the left side of the document. For the date, align this on the right.

Company Recommendation Letters

Tips for writing a business reference letter

You may have to compose a business reference letter for companies or organizations which you’ve tried working with in the past too. In such cases, they would require the letter for the purpose of confirming the operational soundness of the company and their ability to perform as expected. Here are some tips for you:

  • You can use a basic business recommendation letter template for the structure of your document. Then input the contents as needed after some consideration. As aforementioned, you must include honest comments about the capabilities and quality of service of the company you’re writing about.
  • Provide specific details regarding your relationship with the company. Such details include the goods you have purchased, the services you availed of, how long you worked with them, and when you worked with them. Also, give a clear statement about Your reason for writing the letter.
  • Then provide detailed information about the performance of the company and any other details which the reader may find useful. Be as specific as you can when writing these details. Remember that the reader will use the information in the letter as a deciding factor on whether or not he will work with the company.
  • If you had a good experience with the company, then you may want to write about all those good things in the letter. Of course, if you had a bad experience and the company asks you to write a business reference letter for them, you should politely decline instead of composing a letter which contains inaccurate information.
  • When describing the strengths of the company, make use of concrete examples. The more you use illustrative comments, the more the reader will understand the business. This is a lot better than giving too many praises and sentiments which, in some cases, may come off as insincere.
  • Close your letter with a summary of the strengths of the company along with a clear, concise recommendation. This wraps up your letter in the best way possible as it fulfills the purpose of the document.
  • As you’re composing the letter, don’t make it too short or too lengthy. Stay away from language which is too general, effusive or superlative. Instead of describing the traits of the company using adjectives, provide concrete examples of how you saw those traits firsthand.
  • Make sure to proofread your letter before printing it out or sending it through email. A letter which contains too many grammatical and spelling errors won’t be as credible as one which has been perfectly checked and polished.
  • Don’t forget to include your contact details in the letter. In some cases, the recipient would like to reach out to you and ask you more questions about the business or person you wrote about. In case the recipient gives you a call, answer all of their questions as honestly as you wrote the letter.

Sometimes, a person or business may convince you to write a reference letter even though you have nothing good to say. Although the first thing you must do is diplomatically decline, there are some cases when you just can’t. Therefore, you would still have to compose a letter and be as professional as possible.

In such a case, you may want to do a bit of research about the person or the organization. Learn more about their strengths so you have something good to say about them. Focus on these strengths no matter how small they are. In doing this, you’re still giving a positive letter without providing inaccurate information.

Posted on May 7, 2019In Documents

Tags:Business, Documents, Letter, Reference

WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: How to write a great letter of recommendation sample

A reference letter, also called a recommendation letter, is usually written to testify find examples of full reference letters on triochitarristicodiroma.com's “job searching” section.

general recommendation letter template
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