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Writing an employment reference letter and template

An employment reference letter is an essential element of your effort to secure that dream job. Ideally, you should have multiple reference letters’ with you, but you are never required to present them all. In case you are requested to write an employment reference letter for someone else and you are in a good position to; make sure you know that person very well; so that the reference letter is genuine and relevant.

Update yourself about the subject of your reference letter

The most fundamental element of an employment reference letter is a listing or brief description of a person’s skills set. It would be apt for you to request for the person’s resume just to acquaint or update yourself with the person’s career progress. You should also get exact details about the specific job opening so that you can customize the employment reference letter to suit the job requirements.

Writing an employment reference letter

Essential tips for writing an employment reference letter

There are numerous styles of formatting a job reference letter. Focus should be on simplicity, brevity, and clarity; employers do not have a lot of time to scrutinize lengthy reference. Choose your words carefully; make sure you express your thoughts about the person as clearly as possible. Be unflattering; it is easy to see through flattery, exaggerated and undeserved accolades particularly in a reference letter. The inclusion of flattery in the reference letter will make you lose credibility as a referee. Lack of credibility for you as a referee reduces the worth of your reference letter.

Use reference letter templates to guide you

Reference letter templates provide the best guidelines for you to master the art of writing reference letters or to draft that one-off reference letter. The templates just provide the basic outline and formatting styles. It doesn’t give complete guidance; particularly on how to word. Be flexible, versatile and dynamic when using employment reference templates. I at this moment present a reference letter template based on the fundamental sections it should contain.

The basic elements of a reference letter – A guiding template

Your reference letter must have the format of a formal letter; with addresses of the sender as well as the receiver at the top left the corner. This is not a rigid requirement, though. Your employment reference letter must then have a professional salutation. Since it is a formal letter to someone you might not have met, you just indicate Dear Sir/Madam followed by a comma. After the salutation comes the reference letter title. Your title should aptly capture the essence of the letter; something like, "REF: PROFESSIONAL REFERENCE FOR RACHEL."

Your first paragraph should introduce you and your connection to the person that you are recommending. You should briefly detail how you met them and how long you have known them. Resist the temptation to be too detailed. In the second paragraph, delve into describing the specific skills of the person you are recommending. Use relevant examples to vamp up the reference and recommendation. The contents of your second paragraph might flow into a third or even fourth one. Do not forget that brevity is desirable; use words sparingly; select only the best ones.

Make sure to summarize your reference letter by recapitulating the person’s skills. This is the part where you have to extol the professional virtues and ability of the person in a subtle way. Remember, you must not appear to be giving undeserved flattery. Your summary might be tied in the same paragraph with the conclusion; where you should offer to provide more information if prompted. The conclusion is also where you provide contact details as the professional referee. Finally, sign off the letter in a formal manner.

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