Character Reference Letter Examples & Template (For Court, Friend, Coworker)
A character reference letter is a form of validation for a person's positive character. Often confused with a reference letter or recommendation letter, a character reference is focused on the person's personal qualities versus their employment history, skills, or other characteristics of their job history.
Character reference letters can be used in the following ways:
- To present to a magistrate or judge on behalf of a defendant (to reference the defendant's character) in the case of court proceeding.
- To present to a magistrate or judge on behalf of a custody proceedings.
- To provide verification of a person's character for a close friend or relative, usually for real estate or mortgage purposes.
- To provide verification of a person’s character for future employment opportunities.
- To provide verification of a person’s character for immigration, green card or work visa purposes.
The character letter contains positive qualities about a person. These qualities are normally explained through short stories that reference the qualities and characteristics of the person in question. This can be helpful for an employer to reference, a judge (or magistrate) to reference, or other professional parties (like landlords of mortgage companies).
Writing a Character Reference
When writing a character reference letter, follow these guidelines:
- Keep your letter positive. Recall situations where good character and positive attributes are on display regarding the person in question.
- In your first paragraph, state the relationship you have with the person in question and how long you’ve had that relationship for.
- In your second paragraph or body paragraph, reference a specific example of a time when the person in question displayed their good character, good judgment, and character. These should speak to the good qualities that you believe the other party is seeking validation for.
- Be sure to include your contact information like full name, work phone number, and email address for contact. And to officially become the personal reference.
When being asked to write a character reference, be sure to speak with the person regarding their needs and have them clearly articulate what their objectives are with the letter. For example, in the instance of employment, the professional should provide you with their cover letter, resume, and job application as well as an outline of what their intentions are to help you write your letter.
Character Reference Formatting
A good character reference letter should be written in the following format:
- General business letter format.
- 9pt to 11pt font size.
- Use professional font faces, like Garamond or Calibri.
- Use the default page margins.
- Use 1.5” line spacing.
- Formal writing style with proper grammar and punctuation.
Sample General Character Reference Letter
Below is a character reference sample for general purposes. This can be used for a job candidate who is attaching this to their job application to provide to their potential employer. Or a personal character reference (personal reference letter) that can be used for real estate or loan application needs.
Character Reference Letter Sample for Court
Below is a sample letter for court reference. Or a character reference letter example for someone acting as a character witness.
Character Reference Letter for Employment
Below is a sample employment reference letter regarding a professional’s character for a prospective employer. It can be helpful to reference the professional’s cover letter, resume, and job application before writing a letter. For the job applicant, be sure to bring multiple copies of these letters with you during your job interview.
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