This template shows the format of a typical reference letter. A reference letter should provide information on who you are, your connection with the person you are recommending, why they are qualified and the specific skills they have. In addition, contact information for follow-up should be provided.
The following format is appropriate for an employment reference, as well as for a graduate school recommendation.
Reference Letter Template
If you are writing a personal letter of reference, include a salutation (Dear Mr. Marina, Dear Ms. Templeton, etc.). If you are writing a general letter, say "To Whom it May Concern" or simply don't include a salutation.
The first paragraph of the reference letter template explains your connection to the person you are recommending, including how you know them, and why you are qualified to write a reference letter to recommend employment or graduate school.
The second paragraph of the reference letter template contains specific information on the person you are writing about, including why they are qualified, what they can contribute, and why you are providing a reference letter. If necessary, use more than one paragraph to provide details.
When writing a specific letter referring a candidate for a particular job opening, the reference letter template will include information on how the person's skills match the position they are applying for. Ask for a copy of the job posting and a copy of the person's resume so you can target your reference letter accordingly.
This section of the reference letter template contains a brief summary of why you are recommending the person. State that you "highly recommend" the person or you "recommend without reservation" or something similar.
The concluding paragraph of the reference letter template contains an offer to provide more information. Include a phone number within the paragraph, include the phone number and email address in the return address section of your letter, or in your signature.
Reference Letter Samples
It is helpful to review reference letter samples to see how reference writers have incorporated their recommendations into the reference letter template.
Reference Articles and Advice
- Requesting References
- Sample Reference Letters
- Student References
- Personal and Character References
- Official Transcripts
Please Note: This sample is provided for guidance only. The provided information, including samples and examples, is not guaranteed for accuracy or legality. Letters and other correspondence should be edited to fit your personal situation.