If a friend has requested you to write a reference letter for them especially if its for a job application, you as the writer need to be very sure and confident of what you say in the letter and how you say it. Reference letters make a world of difference to the job applicant and if its drafted well can influence a prospective employer to hire the applicant.
Reference letters are usually written with positive depictions on a person’s personality. But how one writes it is what matters.
Sometimes, companies make it compulsory for applicants to submit reference letters along with their application. And other times, even if it isn’t compulsory to submit a reference letter, adding one to your application can help bag the job.
Reference letters can either be given by the company where the employee actually works or by peers and friends too. The ones written by friends hold value in the sense that it can give a better actual view of a person’s capabilities. Peers wouldn’t overstate points about their friends as much.
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Here are a few things to remember while writing a reference letter for a friend:
- Keep the letter short, simple and brief. As is the case with most documents related to job applications (CV / Resumes / etc) – the reference letter should also be brief and to the point. Writing a lengthy letter will not assure chances of your friend getting job.
- State your friend’s name and qualities clearly. The one thing that should stand out and be easily located on a reference letter is your friend’s qualities. Every employer looks for their version of the ideal candidate after-all.
- Write a little about how long you have been friends with the person. The employer would ideally want to know how long you two have been associated for so that there is more credibility to what you are saying in the reference letter.
- Don’t over do it. Don’t make it too flowery and exaggerate about how great your friend is. No one is going to believe that. Keep it as realistic as possible and stick to bare facts. If your friend has ever performed a courageous act, mention that. Write true facts and events of their life.
- Emphasize on your friend’s positive qualities. Your friend is sure to have negative qualities too, everyone does. But its okay to avoid mentioning those. Write about his positive attitude and winning behavior when you write.
- If you can, give examples to support what you say about the candidate. For instance, if you say he is a team player, write how and why. Give examples from their previous work set-up or examples from school too.
- The reference letter should always be formal and polite and written in the language of business communication. Assume that you will be writing to a senior member of an organization so your tone would need to be drafted accordingly.
Given below is a basic sample of a reference letter:
Whomsoever it may concern,
I have known Mr. xxxx since the last several years (xx no. of years) and I have had the good fortune of getting to work closely with him too. As a friend and ex-colleague I can sincerely vouch for his character and can also add that he is a team player who likes to take initiatives that can help companies reach their targets.
He is hardworking and pays attention to detail, when I worked with him, what our seniors admired the most was his accuracy levels and willingness to learn more. I think he will be an asset to the organization if hired as he has a lot to offer in terms of quality work.
Lastly, might I add that Mr. xxx is reliable and capable to fulfill any duty assigned to him.
(Name of organization presently working in and designation there)