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How to Write a Letter of Reference

A Great Sample That Shows How to Write a Letter of Reference

Those who are thinking of writing a letter of reference need to understand that it is a very important document, whose purpose is to give genuine assurance of a person to the receiver of the letter.
Stephen Rampur
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
A reference letter is a written document which serves the purpose of giving an assurance of an individual's character and capabilities to another person or entity. A reference letter is usually confused with a recommendation letter. Both of them have a similar format, but are used for different purposes. A reference letter is used when addressing an unknown entity, whereas a recommendation letter is used when addressing a known entity.

Steps in Writing a Letter of Reference

The first thing you need to write on a professional letter of reference is your name, company address, and date, as written in a formal business letter. You then need to write 'To whom it may concern' on the next line. Start from the next line by mentioning your identity as a recommender, which includes your post, where you are employed, your relation with the applicant, how long you have known the applicant, and other necessary details.

Then comes the body of the letter, which comprises all the good qualities of the applicant. In this section, it is recommended to mention the good qualities of the applicant in two or three paragraphs. The conclusion should include a confirmation from your side that the candidate is trustworthy, and also state that the receiver may get in touch with you if he requires some additional information regarding the applicant. After the conclusion, write 'sincerely', your name, and sign the letter at the end.

Sample Format of a Reference Letter

This sample reference letter format is from a technical manager of a previous company to a prospective employer of the applicant.

(Your name and company address)


To whom it may concern,

I am (technical manager's name), working as a Technical Manager in (company name). I am greatly honored to refer (applicant's name) to your company for the post of a technical executive. Mr. (applicant's name) has been working under my supervision for two years at (company name), and I must say that he is a very bright performer, right from the start of his first project.

As far as I have known (applicant's name), he has never lagged behind in completing his work, and always helped our team perform better and provide deliverables well before time limits. He served as a technical service specialist for all users in the organization. He is also a very efficient team player with good leadership, communication, technical, and interpersonal skills.

In my opinion, (applicant's name) will certainly make a truly dedicated employee and team resource in your company.

(Your name and signature)

The sample provided above is just a basic format of a reference letter. The pattern may change according to the job specification and any other conditions.