2 Reference Letter Examples and How to Write Yours

reference letter examples

Everyone at some point in their career will have to write a reference letter. It could be a friend, colleague, former team member, or acquaintance who asks you to write this letter. But how do you do it? And what are some the points that you should make sure are part of your letter?

We’re going to answer these questions, plus provide a simple template that you can use to start writing your reference letter, today.

In this guide we’re going to cover:

Ready? Let’s get started!

Table Of Contents

Situations Where You Might Be Asked to Write a Reference Letter

Here are some of the personal and professional situations where you might be asked to write a reference letter:

If some of these apply to you, keep reading.

How to Write a Reference Letter

Before you write your reference letter, it’s important to sit down with the person that you’re about to write about and ask them, “What are you going to use this letter for?”

If they give you insight that they are needing this letter for future employment, then you have an idea of what you should write about. For example, maybe their adaptability skills or communication skills.

When you start writing your letter, here’s what you should do:

1. Write down a few bullet points as to what you think your friend or colleague will need out of the letter. Does their future employer need to know about certain qualities they have? Write down one to three tactical ways you can make the letter great.

2. Write down a few bullet points that relate to those tactical objectives of the letter. These should be merits or achievements on behalf of the professional. For example, being able to launch a new product in 2019.

3. Think about the personal experiences that you’ve had with this person. Is there a short story that stands out? Think about stories that relate to empathy, adaptability, and being genuine. Those always go over well.

4. Start writing your reference letter with the templates you see below. Ensure that you reference the bullet points that you wrote down. Try to include them as natural sentences versus bullet points. Tell a short story. Keep your reference letter under 600 words total.

Simple Reference Letter Template

Your name
Your position
Your email address
Your phone number

Date

Dear [Name]—

I am writing this letter, recommending [their name]. From the time of which they were working at [company]. I had the absolute pleasure of being able to work with them. Their role as a [job title] was pivotal in the success of our work.

Some of the things that stand out to me as significant accomplishments were the ability to [insert accomplishment here]. And the leadership they provided in ensuring that our company was able to meet [insert accomplishment here].

If you have any further questions regarding [their name], I would be absolutely happy to answer them. You will not regret getting the pleasure of working with this [gentleman/woman].

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Example Reference Letter’s

Here are a few reference letter examples you can use to get an idea of what yours might want to look like. The first one uses the template that we provided above. The second one leans more heavily into your colleague or employee’s accomplishments.

Example one

Brian Smith
VP of Product
brian@smith.com
630-000-0000

May 1, 2019

Dear Mr. Doe—

I am writing this letter, recommending John Shoots. From the time of which they were working at Apple, Inc.. I had the absolute pleasure of being able to work with them. Their role as a graphic designer was pivotal in the success of our work.

Some of the things that stand out to me as significant accomplishments were the ability to fill more than 300 requests in Q2 of 2018. And the leadership they provided in ensuring that our company was able to meet the deadlines of the iOS 11 shipment.

If you have any further questions regarding Mr. Shoots, I would be absolutely happy to answer them. You will not regret getting the pleasure of working with this gentleman.

Sincerely,
Mr. Brian Smith

Example Two

Brian Smith
VP of Product
brian@smith.com
630-000-0000

May 1, 2019

Dear Mr. Doe—

I am writing this letter, recommending John Shoots. From the time of which they were working at Apple, Inc. I had the absolute pleasure of being able to work with them. Their role as a Product Manager was pivotal in the success of our work.

While working with John, I was able to see him hire more than 20 engineers in the San Francisco area. And accomplish more than 30 shipments of major milestones in his first year. His revenue generation was nothing other than unbelievable. And his ability to manage a P&L was remarkable. His shows true signs of becoming a leader.

If you have any further questions regarding Mr. Shoots, I would be absolutely happy to answer them. You will not regret getting the pleasure of working with this gentleman.

Sincerely,
Mr. Brian Smith

Tips & Best Practices for Your Reference Letter

Whenever possible, it’s best to follow some of these guidelines when writing your letter.

Additional Business Letter Resources

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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