Reference Letter Format

The reference letter format generally will assess the personal qualities of a candidate such as their integrity, involvement in the community, interests and personal attitude. When writing a recommendation letter format, the focus is more on the professional attributes rather than personal. This is a way to confirm how the candidate would be a good choice and put emphasis on how they are the right match for this position from a personal standpoint. Tips and advice for recommendation letters and reference letters includes specific points on what keywords should be used.

Guidelines for the Reference Letter Format

The outline for writing a reference letter is similar to when writing a recommendation letter. Make sure that beforehand you have all the information you need, whether that be the candidates CV or application details for the position they are aiming for. If you are still unsure what else to include, check out some tips on writing a reference letter.

  • Formal addressing: the name and title of the person that will be receiving the letter
  • Opening paragraph: explain your connection to the subject of the letter, your title and why you are the right fit to be writing this letter
  • Main body: specifically about the subject of the letter, describe their personal traits, interests, attitude with examples if possible

  • Closing paragraph: link the qualities of the person to the specific application and why they would be the best candidate
  • Signing off: your name and title, contact details optional but preferable

A letter of reference is most likely to be handed in with the rest of the application so should be formally typed in standard font and size. In the case that it is to be emailed, aim to send it as an attached PDF document, leaving the text of the email as concise and simple, drawing the receiver to the main reference letter document.

How to Hand In a Reference Letter

It is most common for a reference letter to be sent by email, in which case a signature is not needed but simply a printed version of your name. If you are sending a printed copy of your reference letter to the subject then it is more likely that a signature is required. Find out in advance what copy the referee will be needing and whether they would prefer it to be sent via email or in printed form.

Recommendation letter samples and reference letter samples may provide you with a good guide.

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