Reference Letter Examples – Influential and Inspiring Reference Letter Examples

| April 24, 2012 | 0 Comments

The reference letter examples you’ll find on this page can be used as recommendation letters for a number of situations. There are basically three major types of reference letter – an employment reference, an academic reference, and a character reference. Of course there are multiple variations of these types in addition to various social reference letters such as those for club membership. If you need someone to write a reference letter for you, or if someone has asked you to write one for them, you’ll make a first-class impression using one of our influential and inspiring reference letter examples.

Tips for Using Our Reference Letter Examples

Before using one of our reference letter examples there are some important tips you might want to consider. Remember, you are not just asking for a letter, you are asking for a recommendation, so you’ll want to ask the right person at the right time. When you are considering who you should ask to write your reference letter, ask yourself the following questions about them:

  • Is the person happy to write a letter for you?
  • Are they capable of writing the letter competently?
  • Do they know you well enough to write the letter?
  • Do they hold a respected professional or social position?
  • Do they have experience writing reference letters?

Who you ask to write your reference letter is of the utmost importance. If the person doesn’t know you well they won’t be able to say very much about you; your letter won’t carry much weight. Also, the higher the position they hold, the more effective your letter will be.

If you’re asking for a letter of reference it is good practice to give the person ample notice. You should also be honest about what you need the letter for, especially if it is for a character reference letter. Examples would be – for an adoption agency, a court appearance, or a tenancy reference for or from a landlord.

It is a good idea not to pressure someone too much if you get the feeling they are uncomfortable writing a reference letter. There could be many reasons for this, not necessarily related to you. Some people have stage fright; others may not consider themselves good writers. If you get a sense the person is uncomfortable, it might be wise to ask someone else. One way to alleviate a person’s nervousness about writing is to present them with one of our reference letter examples to use as a template.

How to Use our Reference Letter Examples

The best way to make use of our reference letter examples is to follow the format, substituting your name and address and personal information for that contained in our reference letter examples. The best way to do so is to Download One of Our Reference Letter Examples and edit it on your home or personal computer. First however, let’s break one down so that you have a complete understanding of the structure and contents of a professional reference letter.

Follow the Structure of our Reference Letter Examples

Letters of reference are normally between 200 and 800 words in length, depending on whether they are for employment, academic, or social purposes. They are written in a standard business format, after which comes a short introduction or opening, the body, and then a persuasive closing. We’ll start from the very beginning however – the name, address and contact information of the person writing the recommendation, followed by the date of writing. It should be placed in the top left corner of the letter unless the letter is to be written on official stationery with a letterhead containing the contact details of the author. In this one of our reference letter examples we’ll use the scenario of a student requiring a reference for college. It will begin like this:


David Johansen
Senior Guidance Counselor
Theodore Roosevelt High School
Madison, VA
Tel: 313-234-5674

March 14, 2007

Because a reference letter will most likely be used in a number of situations and given to different people at different times, it is addressed generally like so:

To Whom It May Concern:

Now it’s time to generate the body or content of the reference letter. If you’re writing a reference letter, put yourself in the reader’s place. Think about what would impress you if someone was being recommended to you. A reference letter is very much a sales letter, so you’ll want to capture their attention quickly, and then “sell” the candidate.

The author’s own credibility will help to do this to an extent, but the candidate’s qualities will inevitably be the deciding factor. We begin our reference letter examples by qualifying the writer with a sentence stating the purpose of the letter, followed by one introducing the writer, the writer’s relationship with the referee, and how long the writer has known the subject.

It is with great pleasure that I write this letter of reference for James Smith to be admitted to your university. As his guidance counselor for the last four years I have come to know James very well, and seen him develop both personally and academically into an outstanding individual.

The goal of the body of our reference letter examples is to highlight the individual’s outstanding qualities and/or qualifications.

James is extremely intelligent as is reflected in his SAT scores, but more than that he is a generous, compassionate individual. While maintaining his grades at an above average level, he has consistently participated in a variety of extracurricular activities, many of which are charitable endeavors. 

One such organization that James regularly volunteers with is Meals on Wheels where he works as a chef two evenings per week, and delivers on one other. James is highly valued by the organization, respected by his colleagues, and very much liked by those he serves. James often takes the time out of his weekend schedule to regularly visit many of the senior citizens he delivers to.

James is absolutely focused, and unlike many students of his age, knows exactly which field he plans to pursue. His involvement in Meals on Wheels has nurtured and developed a passion for Social Services, a subject in which he aspires to obtain his Doctorate in Social Work.

Before finishing, reinforce your willingness and desire to recommend the person.

As a member of the school track and debating teams, James has demonstrated his well-rounded development as a young adult. He would make an awesome addition to any organization, and it is with the utmost confidence and extreme pleasure that I recommend him for enrollment in your institution. 

Finally, upon closing, invite the person to contact you if they require further information, and provide the details to do so before signing off.

If you have any further questions regarding James or myself you may contact me at your convenience on my personal line at 313-234-4444 between the hours of 8 and 5:30 pm Monday – Friday.

Sincerely,

David Johansen
Senior Guidance Counselor
Theodore Roosevelt High School

Our complete reference letter examples will look like this:

David Johansen
Senior Guidance Counselor
Theodore Roosevelt High School
Madison, VA
Tel: 313-234-5674

March 14, 2007

To Whom It May Concern:

It is with great pleasure that I write this letter of reference for James Smith to be admitted to your university. As his guidance counselor for the last four years I have come to know James very well, and seen him develop both personally and academically into an outstanding individual. 

James is extremely intelligent as is reflected in his SAT scores, but more than that he is a generous, compassionate individual. While maintaining his grades at an above average level, he has consistently participated in a variety of extracurricular activities, many of which are charitable endeavors. 

One such organization that James regularly volunteers with is Meals on Wheels where he works as a chef two evenings per week, and delivers on one other. James is highly valued by the organization, respected by his colleagues, and very much liked by those he serves. James often takes the time out of his weekend schedule to regularly visit many of the senior citizens he delivers to.

James is absolutely focused, and unlike many students of his age, knows exactly which field he plans to pursue. His involvement in Meals on Wheels has nurtured and developed a passion for Social Services, a subject in which he aspires to obtain his Doctorate in Social Work.

As a member of the school track and debating teams, James has demonstrated his well-rounded development as a young adult. He would make an awesome addition to any organization, and it is with the utmost confidence and extreme pleasure that I recommend him for enrollment in your institution. 

If you have any further questions regarding James or myself you may contact me at your convenience on my personal line at 313-234-4444 between the hours of 8 and 5:30 pm Monday – Friday.

Sincerely,

David Johansen
Senior Guidance Counselor
Theodore Roosevelt High School

Download This One of Our Reference Letter Examples and edit it to include your relevant personal information.

Tips and Useful Sentences you Can Use with our Reference Letter Examples:

  • It is a genuine pleasure to recommend…
  • A longer letter is not necessarily a better letter.
  • Use the format contained in our reference letter examples.

Category: Personal Reference Letter Examples

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