How To Write Professional Reference Letters? (With 2021 Relevant Examples)

The value of making connections in this world could be hardly discouraged. We usually hear and often see a lot of people getting into respectable positions, availing opportunities, and moving ahead, all because of that strong social connection. In this economy of lower employment rates and stiff competition, it is necessary to involve oneself in consistent networking. There are various benefits of making strong social connections and bonds, with one being the ability to obtain a reference or recommendation letter. These letters are highly beneficial for an employee or a first-time job aspirant, as this enables an employer to instantly frame a trustworthy and credible opinion. There are various types of reference letters, however, in this article, we would be covering a professional reference letter.

What Is A Professional Reference Letter?

This can also be considered as a letter of recommendation, which refers and recommends an aspirant for a particular job profile by citing his or her achievements, unique abilities, personality, character, strengths, etc. It can be written by anyone who is closely connected and acquainted with the aspirant, such as his or her teacher, former employer, colleague, supervisor, etc.

Need For A Professional Reference Letter

A reference letter is demanded and wanted by interviewers at the time of making a job application process, so as to get insights into your personality, behavioral traits, strengths, and personality. In addition to this, employers also, generally have a short conversation with your references so as to authenticate the reference letter as well as your credentials and academic achievements.

Pre-requisites For Writing A Professional Reference Letter

No matter you are an industry veteran or an employee at the inception of your career, you will be surely required to write a professional reference letter at some stage of your professional career. Hence, it is necessary to understand the pre-requisites for writing such an important letter, which are mentioned below:

1) Make Sure You Know The Candidate Completely

For writing an effective and impactful professional reference letter, it is necessary that you are fully acquainted with the candidate and have the ability to translate his or her achievements and strengths into words. In case you feel that you are not completely aware of the candidate or can not do justice with the words, simply turn down the recommendation offer extended to you in a polite manner, explaining the reasons for rejection.

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2) Demand For The Latest Resume

Even though you are fully acquainted with the candidate and know him or her completely, it is necessary to always demand the latest resume, before writing a professional reference letter. This is primarily because of the reason that everyone keeps on learning and usually keeps on adding a few achievements, certifications, and professional degrees, which might require you to mention them in your reference letter. Hence, never rush and get yourself updated on the academic front.

3) Request For Job Profile

In case you are writing a reference letter in relation to a specific job opportunity, make sure that you demand the job profile for that particular job. Post this, you must read the job profile or duties to be performed exhaustively and create content that aligns and highlights the basic qualities expected in the job profile. This will not only enhance the relevance of the content of the reference letter but would also increase the chances of impressing an employer.

Format Of A Professional Reference Letter

While writing a reference letter, make sure that you are using your own letterhead so as to increase the authenticity as well as the psychological impact upon the readers. A reference letter could be written by following the format as specified below:

1) Mention Complete Address Of The Recipient

A reference letter must be started by mentioning the complete, accurate, and correct address of the recipient of this reference letter. The recipient of a reference letter is usually the hiring manager, HR director, or HR manager of an organization, who manages the entire recruitment process.

2) Write The Current Date

It is pertinent to mention the current date upon your reference letters, as undated letters are quite unprofessional and might seem fake or unauthenticated.

3) Provide An Appropriate Salutation

After mentioning the date, you are required to greet your recipient using a suitable salutation. Some of the most followed salutations used widely in the reference letters are mentioned below:

  1. Respected Sir/Ma’am
  2. Esteemed Hiring manager Mr. /Mrs.
  3. Dear Mr. /Mrs. ____________
  4. Honorable Mr./Mrs. ____________
  5. To whom it may concern
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4) Body Of The Reference Letter

The body of a reference letter could be divided into three paragraphs, such as:

Introductory Paragraph

This is the first paragraph or the first thing that would be read by a hiring manager. Hence, this must be catchy and written in aggressive language, which has the ability to immediately draw the attention of the reader. This paragraph should mandatorily contain the following items:

  • Name of the candidate referred
  • Position for which the candidate is referred
  • Name of the organization for which the reference letter is being made
  • Your relation with the candidate
  • Brief account of the primary or main abilities of the candidate

Main Body

This paragraph is the heart and soul of a reference letter, and must completely elaborate and explain the unique abilities as well as achievements of the candidate. The content to be written must praise the candidate and highlight his or her accomplishments with proven facts and figures. In addition to this, the selection of words must be carefully done, and only the words that are positive and productive must be used.

Concluding Paragraph

This is the last paragraph of a reference letter wherein you finally declare the achievements to be true and correct as per the best of your knowledge. Along with this, you are supposed to provide your official email address as well as a contact number to the reader of the reference letter.

5) Finishing The Reference Letter

The closure of a reference letter is similar and identical to the closing of any other letter. The writer of a reference letter must close it by using his signatures and a complimentary salutation. Some of the widely used complimentary salutations are mentioned below:

  1. Thanks and Regards
  2. Thanking You
  3. Yours Sincerely
  4. Yours Respectfully

Sample Professional Reference Letter

All the other elements apart from the body of a reference letter, remain the same and common in almost all the reference letters. Hence, we are mentioning a sample of the body of a professional reference letter:

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Sample One

Introductory Paragraph

I feel honored to recommend and refer XYZ for the position of (____mention the designation____) at your esteemed business organization, (____mention the name of the organization). I had a wonderful opportunity to teach a young and bright XYZ, at our premier educational institution. He or she is extremely bright, talented, and in possession of the right skills and knowledge which could help an organization to prosper and succeed.

Main Body

In addition to this, XYZ, is really punctual and disciplined, with a knack for executing projects well before the deadline, with precision and quality. Not only academics, but he or she also is a bright tennis player, and it was due to him or her, that we won our first inter-university tournament. I believe, XYZ is a complete package and would help the business organization with all his or her skills, perseverance, and labor.

Concluding Paragraph

With this, I want to conclude this letter, and with the greatest strength at my command, want to re-iterate the talent and skills that this bloke possesses. In case you wish to contact me in regards to this letter, feel free to contact me, at (_____mention your official email id____) and (_____mention your official contact number_____)

References

  1. https://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008656
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12904-021-00771-w