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Reference Letter Samples and Writing Tips

Sample References, Reference Lists, and Letters Asking for a Reference

Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.

how to write letter for job reference

Types of Reference Letters

How to write a reference letter, reference letter samples, professional reference letters, character / personal reference letters, academic reference letters, letters requesting a reference, sample reference lists, reference checking letter example, reference letter template.

Do you need to request or write a reference? Both tasks can be difficult. If you're asking for a reference, you have to know  who you can ask , and  how to word your reference request . If, on the other hand, you are writing a reference letter , you'll need to know how to format it, and what information to include. 

Unlike the rest of an application, a reference letter provides information about the candidate from an outside source, providing details about qualifications, skills, traits, and abilities, as well as listing achievements, and giving a somewhat personal perspective of the candidate.

A well-written recommendation letter endorses the candidate's qualifications for an internship, job, college, graduate school, or other employment, experiential or educational experience.

Reference letters can be required for many different reasons:

There are four different types of references:

Review guidelines for how to write a reference letter , including what to include in each section of your letter and the best way to format and send or upload it.

Review the sample reference letters here—including professional references, academic references, personal references, and letters asking for a recommendation—to help you write your own. Plus, review guidelines and tips for requesting and writing reference letters. There is also information about how to create lists of references.

Use these examples if you need to write a personal reference letter .

For this type of letter, include information on how you know the person, their qualifications and characteristics, and whether you'd recommend them.

An academic reference letter will highlight a student's strengths. Information on grades, attendance, and class participation, as well as any specific examples of strong papers or research, is relevant to include in this type of letter.

Asking for a letter of reference can feel intimidating. Learn how to politely request a reference, as well as what information to pass along to the person writing the recommendation.

During a job interview, you may be asked to provide references. See examples of how to format your list of references, and who to include on the list.

Are you an employer who needs to check a candidate's employment references? Use this  sample letter  to help you format a request to check an applicant's references

Review an example of a reference letter written by an employer and download a template (compatible with Google Docs and Microsoft Word). Also see below for more samples of recommendation letters based on position and relationship, as well as information on how to format reference letters and more templates you can download.

Reference Letter Example

Jane Williams Pacific Corp 47 Ocean Street, Suite 12 Los Angeles, CA 90001 (555)456-7890 jane.williams@email.com

March 18, 2021

Andrew Lee Atlantic Operations, Inc. 41 East 14th Street, Fourth Floor New York, New York, 10001

Dear Andrew,

John Wilson has worked for me here at Pacific Corp. for four years. He started as an intern and quickly rose to an administrative position while still attending classes at Ocean Community College.

He quickly became one of our most valued employees, the person everyone went to with questions and special projects. His dedication and willingness to work long hours to get the job done have made him a favorite team member for everyone on staff.

I highly recommend John for your assistant position. In his time at Pacific, he has shown the technical, organizational, and interpersonal skills that make for a truly exceptional administrative assistant. In particular, I know that you’re seeking someone with exceptional customer service and telephone skills, as well as the ability to get up to speed quickly with proprietary software. John offers all these skills, plus adaptability and grace under pressure.

We will miss having John on our team, but our loss can be your gain. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Best regards,

Jane Williams   ( signature hard copy letter )

Jane Williams

CareerOneStop. " References ."

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  1. How To Write a Letter of Recommendation (With Example)

    Letter of recommendation writing tips. Keep it positive. Your letter should confirm that you believe the person is a strong candidate for the job with no reservations. Avoid any comments ... Use a standard business letter format and tone. You can use the template below or a standard business letter ...

  2. How To Write a Reference Letter (With Examples)

    Tips for writing a strong letter of recommendation. Do your research. Find out what exactly the candidate is applying for. Ask them to provide: Be specific. Stay positive. Keep it formal and concise. Don’t be afraid to say no.

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  4. Samples of Reference and Recommendation Letters

    Reference Letter Samples. Review the sample reference letters here—including professional references, academic references, personal references, and letters asking for a recommendation—to help you write your own. Plus, review guidelines and tips for requesting and writing reference letters.