Format For a Reference Letter

The Format for a Reference Letter noted below can easily be used for an employment reference, contractor reference, personal reference, etc.

You can make quick work of writing reference letters when you use it as a template.

The letter itself is comprised of 5 main sections.

Here they are along with the information pertinent to each section.


Salutation
When writing a personal letter of reference place a salutation (Dear Dr. Perry, Dear Mr. Perry, etc.) at the beginning of it. It's acceptable to address it to "To Whom it May Concern" if you're writing a generic letter that's not addressed to a particular person.

Paragraph 1
In the first paragraph you should describe your relationship with the person you are referring and/or recommending.  Include how you know them and why you are qualified to write a reference letter for them.  Also, be specific for what you are recommending them for; a job; admission to college, or graduate school; advisory board membership, etc.

Paragraph 2
In the second paragraph of the reference letter you should include specific to the person you are writing about, including why they are qualified, what they can contribute, and why you are providing a reference letter. You can use more than one paragraph if you want to, but it's not required.

Paragraph 3
When writing a reference letter referring a candidate for a specific job opening, include information about how the person's skills match the position they are applying for. You'll achieve the best results if you can get a copy of the job posting and/or a copy of the person's resume so you can tailor your reference letter accordingly.

Summary
Here's where you summarize why are you are recommending the person. Make statements along the lines of "I highly recommend", "I recommend without reservation" and the like to show your strong endorsement of the person.

Conclusion
Finally, conclude your reference letter by extending an offer to provide more information if needed. The easiest way to do this is by placing a phone number within the paragraph, and/or providing your phone number and email address below your signature.

Sincerely,
Insert Your Name

Sample Letters Written Using The Format Above

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