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How To Write A Reference Letter That Inspires True Confidence

Aug 17, 2007
In order to learn how to set up the format for a reference letter in the litigious culture of today, many important factors must be taken into consideration. If you approach it from the stand point that anything you write may end up in a court of law, you will write an excellent sample reference letter.

You have been asked to write a letter of reference letter for an employee. This person values your opinion, and you are glad to be of help. The problem is you are unsure how to go about writing a reference letter.

Reference letters are generally written for prospective employers, scholarship applications, and character reference. An effective reference letter will contain the following:

1. You must know enough about the person and their skills, abilities, and their character to write clearly and truthfully.

2. You should know whether your organization allows you to write a letter of reference. Some do not!

3. State your title, position, and any other pertinent information.

4. State the title of the person, position, primary responsibilities and professional associations. Also include dates of employment.

5. Use a business like but courteous and warm tone.

6. Do not make vague statements like such as he was respected among his coworkers. But rather say that James led the way in increasing production by 20% over the last year.

7. Describe certain instances where James really shined. You could mention that he stayed late to complete a critical project. Also that he worked diligently to help a customer make a product decision.

8. Say how James is a keen observer and that he knows how to make customers eventually buy. He stays with them every step of the way if they have questions. As you write, give a true, in depth knowledge of the type of person James is.

9. When completed, print five of these sample reference letters on company stationery and give them to James. This gives him additional letters for any other positions that he may apply for in the future. It saves you from having to write them again.

10. If you know it, put the address of the company to whom the letter is being sent, as well as the name of the person who will be collecting these reference letters. A personalized greeting is far better than a general To Whom It May Concern salutation.

11. Leave the address area blank in the other four copies, so that the employee can use them for other job opportunities that may arise.

If you are stuck on what to write, ask James to write a letter about himself in his own words. Use this letter to jog your memory or to give you starters if you get stuck. This is a great time saver if you are struggling to put the right words on paper.

Make sure the reference letter shows James how much you value him. It will help him feel more confident when he moves on to the next level.
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