.Back to Glossary

Definition of Reference Letter:

Reference letter, also known as recommendation letter, letter of reference, or letter of recommendation is a letter in which the author assesses the qualities and skills of the applicant/candidate positively, deeming them as an ideal candidate for the job, scholarship, or the university they are applying. 

The person who writes the reference letter is called the sponsor, and they are often ex-employers, managers, teachers/professors who have previously worked with the requestor. 

Importance of reference letter for employees

A well-written reference letter takes away the hassle of calling the applicant’s ex-employer and asking for references. It is a testimony to the applicant’s skill directly from their manager, talking about their experience with the applicant, and giving you more clarity if the applicant is a good fit for the job. 

As a sponsor, if you think you do not have adequate knowledge about the employee, or don’t know them enough, let them know about it. 

Try to recall anecdotes and situations wherein the employee was at the best of their skills and how it helped your team and the company. In case you don’t remember them, ask the employee to share these details with you, so you can write a glowing reference letter for them. 

Things to keep in mind while writing reference letters

For a glowing recommendation, here are a few things you should include in your reference letter. 

Beginning:
Begin with the salutation. If you don’t know the name of the person you are writing to, address their designation. Else, you may write ‘To whom it may concern’

Introduction:
Introduce yourself, and talk about the background of your relationship with the person you are recommending, and how long you have known them. 

Main paragraph(s) :
This should span across at least three paragraphs, to make a strong case for the person you are recommending. Discuss the employee’s responsibilities, their achievements, and their personality traits that can help them land the new opportunity. 

Closing: 
Provide your contact information and let them know that you are open to a verbal recommendation or willing to answer questions they might have. 

Signature:
Sign your letter in the end. If you represent a school or an institution, include the company seal to validate the reference letter.