Home > Business > Giving a Reference by Letter

Giving a Reference by Letter

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 23 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Giving A Reference By Letter

You might find yourself being asked to provide a written reference for somebody who is usually about to take on a new job. Perhaps you are a team leader a supervisor or you may hold another position which makes you ideally ‘qualified’ to write such a letter. Alternatively, you might simply be somebody who knows the person who needs the reference really well and it may not even be with regard to a job application but may be needed as a character reference for some other purpose.

How to Write the Letter

The two most important things to establish before attempting to provide a written reference for somebody you know is for what purpose they need the reference and what kinds of things are they looking for you to include. This can often be determined by having a chat over the phone with them or it may be stated in the letter they send to you, if they have made a written approach to you for a reference. However, if you’re in doubt about what to include or feel that you are unable to provide them with a written reference for whatever reason; you should contact the person directly and discuss it with them further.

Another thing to bear in mind is the speed of your response. Quite often, a person who has asked you to provide a written reference for them may be relying on a fast response from you in order to meet a deadline for a job application, for example, so you should try to honour their request quickly if you agree to provide them with a reference.

Finally, ensure that your response is favourable and that it ‘fits’ with the purpose of the reference. If it’s job related, for example, the employer might want to know about their character and personality in addition to their skills and competence to do the job so if you’re unsure as to what to include, speak to the person requesting the reference first of all.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
The problem comes if you've been asked for a reference and you don't think the person deserves a really good one. It's difficult to be lukewarm without seeming offensive, although it can be tempting to give an excellent reference to get the person out of your department! It can be best just to list their skills and good personality traits, like excellent team member, and let someone else make the decision.
Caroline - 27-Jun-12 @ 11:05 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • ssa
    Re: Letter to Insurance Company Placing a Claim
    I need a letter format of prolong stay in hospital for submit mediclaim
    26 September 2019
  • Petition for Rights
    Re: Writing to Your MP
    This is an extremely helpful website, I am a 15 year old student who is writing a letter to my MP to hopefully get the attention of parliament…
    20 September 2019
  • Esperanza
    Re: Writing to Your MP
    I would like a letter sample to write to the local MP regarding my concerns for my sons diagnosis test. The hassle I’ve had with CAHMS not…
    2 September 2019
  • Kibob
    Re: Letter to a Judge to Defend my Case?
    In my opinion, you all are educated idiots. The law is law, policy is policy, which. we have to much of! WE WILL MAKE…
    28 August 2019
  • Heat67
    Re: Writing a Letter of Complaint to Your Bank
    I need help with a letter to Barclays Bank , my husband and I had a joint account we split up And I had to get…
    20 August 2019
  • Rana
    Re: Writing to Your MP
    I wanted a sampleletter to our local MP for transfer from Lakhimpur to Rangia railway station
    19 August 2019
  • Shrimpy
    Re: Writing to Your MP
    Hi i wrote a letter to Matt western I need to know where to send it please concerns offer buying and selling houses and the process is wrong
    12 August 2019
  • dulla
    Re: Letter of Complaint to the Council
    Road name of Our residence use by couple of places in our Local Council so need to write a letter to Chairman of the…
    8 August 2019
  • Sam
    Re: Writing to Your MP
    I want a sample letter to our local MP for transfer/change of working zone from pune to Delhi on the bases of father's health
    3 August 2019
  • Santana lees
    Re: Letter of Complaint to the Council
    Hi could you help me to write a complaint letter to the council? My 2 year old daughter was at the park and the gate to…
    31 July 2019