How to Write a Professional Reference Letter
Anybody who has friends in their professional circles should know how to write a professional reference letter. A professional reference letter refers to a document that is written for purposes of assessing the characteristics, capabilities and qualifications of a person that is being recommended on the basis of their ability to perform a specific professional function or task- wikipedia.org. This letter is also called a recommendation letter.
The process of writing this letter can seem intimidating. However, when you know the steps to follow and what to include in this letter, the entire task becomes easy.
A guide on how to write a professional reference letter
Since you are writing a professional reference letter, you must observe professionalism in writing your letter.
Follow these steps when writing a professional reference letter:
Prepare to write a reference letter
Preparing to write a reference letter requires time. You need to familiarize yourself with the person that you are writing the letter for or the candidate, the purpose of writing it and the recipient.
Know the reason for writing the reference letter
The first step is to know why you are writing a reference letter. Are you writing to reveal the qualifications of the candidate for an academic position, a volunteer position or a job? Knowing the reason for writing a reference letter will enable you to focus it on that particular purpose. For instance, when writing a professional reference letter for a person that is applying for a job, focus on specific professional qualifications of that person as well as their conduct and unique skills or attributes.
Conduct some research about the position
Before writing a professional reference letter, know about the position that the person is applying for. As such, ask the person who asked you to write a reference letter for them to give you a job description or give you some information about the position. If you can reach the recipient of the letter, talk to them too about that position.
Know the person that you are writing a reference letter for
You can know the person that has asked you to write a reference letter for them by asking them about the position and their goals or reason for applying for the position. You can also use current memos, notes or resume that you have with information about them. Use the information to make your reference letter specific and thorough. Remember that your reputation is also at stake when you write a reference letter for a person. Therefore, if you do not know the person that you are writing a reference letter for or if you cannot come up with a good reference letter, simply decline the request- dailywritingtips.com.
- Write the reference letter
- Follow the standard format for writing a formal letter
You must know the conventions of writing a formal letter before you know how to write a professional reference letter. This is because a professional reference letter is a form of professional communication. Therefore, it must adhere to the general guidelines and rules of writing a professional letter.
- Your letter should open with formal greetings.
- Below your address and date, include the name of the recipient and their address on the left side of the page.
- Include your address at the top-right side of the page followed by a date.
Give a summary of the letter.
First, introduce the candidate and yourself then summarize the letter. Tell the recipient how you met and for how long you have known the candidate. Include special credibility that you think can hold. For instance, if the candidate held a particular position in a company that you were working for, include that in the letter to help the recipient understand how you know the recipient professionally.
Discuss the exceptional skills and talents of the candidate
Your reference letter should show the recipient what makes the candidate unique. Therefore, provide examples of skills and talents that make the candidate unique. For instance, if the candidate is good at initiating new projects or generating ideas, give an example of when the candidate did so and how the attribute is important.
- Describe the important qualities of the candidate and how they are vital for the particular position they are applying for
For instance, if the candidate has problem solving or leadership qualities, describe them and how they will enable them to perform the duties of the position that they are applying for.
- Welcome additional correspondence or follow ups
End the letter by allowing the recipient to reach you for more details about the candidate. For instance, you can say, “feel free to contact me any time for more details.”
Close the letter
A professional reference letter should use business closing. You should also sign and include your name.
You can use:
- Thank you,
- Best regards,
Professional reference letter samples
When you use professional reference letter samples as your writing guide, knowing how to write a professional reference letter becomes easy.
Here are samples that you can use as your writing guide:
75 Main Street
July 9, 2015
543, 9th Street
I have known John Martin for the last five years for which he has been an employee of TREX, Inc. Working with John has been pleasure for all of us. He has a special ability of paying attention to details in every project.
His people and communication skills set him apart. Throughout the time that he worked with us, John always generated innovative skills. I am confident that he is an ideal candidate for the public relations position that he is applying for in your organization. He is talented and everybody at TREX Inc. loved working with him. If you need more information about John, feel free to contact me any time.
134 A Street
City Center New York 321
July 9, 2015
24 B Street
City Center New York 23423
Dear Mr. Jean,
I am happy to write to you in reference to Mr. Kenneth Smith and his application for a degree program at the State University. I have known Mr. Kenneth as my student in several classes for the last four years when he has been pursuing a diploma program at our college.
Kenneth is a person that is determined to succeed and this has led to his excellent performance in all classes that I have been his lecturer. He has scored excellent marks consistently in his tests and homework. His spoken Spanish is excellent and his performance in linguistic classes has always been incomparable to that of most students in class. In fact, he has been assisting other students with their homework. Despite having a busy schedule, Kenneth knows how to balance time so that he can help other students who need his help.
By helping other students, Kenneth has grown in terms of confidence and individual abilities. I am confident that Kenneth is a perfect candidate for a Spanish degree program that he is applying for in your university. I can say without doubts that he will be a great learner at the State University. Feel free to contact me any time for more information about Kenneth.
More on how to write a professional reference letter
A professional reference letter should inform the reader about the career, ethical and academic strengths of the candidate- work.chron.com. It should provide an honest and professional opinion about a person on the basis of the known facts about the person on the basis of personal observations of the writer.
Therefore, include the following in your professional reference letter:
- Professional skills
These are specific qualities that are related to the position that the person or candidate is applying for. For instance, if the candidate is applying for the position of a salesperson, mention their ability to work with people, convince and persuade others.
- Academic achievement
If you are writing a professional letter for a student, highlight academic or scholastic accomplishments. For instance, mention the performance of a student in tests and homework as well as the ability to work with other students.
There are positions that require people with high levels of integrity and honesty. For instance, teachers and law enforcers should be of good moral standards and therefore you should mention that in the reference letter.
- Your credential
When writing a reference letter, provide information about how you know the candidate or your relationship with them. This shows the recipient that you not only qualify to write the reference letter but that you also know how to write a professional reference letter.
If you have difficulties in writing a professional reference letter, follow the above guide in writing your letter and then contact us for help with editing your letter. You can also visit our home page for more details of our writing services. Alternatively, continue reading for more guidelines on how to write a professional reference letter and sample letters on this blog.