Personal Character Reference Letters by CrisLapuz

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									References Letters                                    The overall quality of the reference letter reflects
                                                      directly on the person that the letter refers to.
Here are samples and templates for writing            Ensure you are acting within your authority if
letters of references for employment, character       you are writing on behalf of an organisation
or personal reference.                                using the official letterhead. If, as a manager you
                                                      wish to give a reference but are not permitted
When writing a reference letter never include any     to do so by your organisation - which would be
 negative criticism or defamatory comments as         very unusual - you might consider providing
 this could constitute libel. If you have nothing     one in a personal capacity on your own private
 good to say about a person it is better to say       letterhead.
 nothing at all, and simply decline to write a
 reference letter.                                    For all requests for writing reference letters,
The same applies to giving references over the        remember the maxim ‘If you can’t say anything
 phone - negative verbal references could be          good, don’t say anything’. The extent to which you
 deemed slanderous. It’s better to approach           praise the person in a reference letter depends on
 requests for writing references letters positively   your own personal feelings - if you want to help
- everyone has at least one or two good qualities     the person a lot then do so: well-written, positive,
 which can be mentioned.                              reference letters can be very helpful indeed.

If your organisation has policies for managers        Reference Letters Structure/template
writing reference letters for employees or
ex-employees, follow the rules (for instance          • Addressee name and address if known
requiring reference letters to be approved by HR      • Date
department). If you require a reference from your     • Salutation (‘To whom it may concern’,
employer it sometimes helps to draft one yourself       or ‘Dear Sir or Madam’, or ‘Dear <title>
for your manager or HR department - many                <surname>’)
managers do not have the time or are unsure           • Confirm dates, job title(s) capacity, and salary
about what to write, so ask if a draft reference        and benefits details if required/appropriate.
letter would be helpful.                              • Confirm that the person’s performance
                                                        and attitude was (at all times) satisfactory/
Here are some examples and templates for                exceeded expectations or standards.
reference letters which cover most situations. If     • Briefly explain the person’s responsibilities
the addressee is not known or the reference letter      (optional)
is required for general purposes, use ‘To whom        • Briefly describe their skills/qualifications/
it may concern’, instead of ‘Dear Sir or Madam’.        strengths/characteristics (optional)
Obviously if the addressee is known then use          • State that you would willingly re-employ the
the full name and address as this will increase         person if the opportunity arose (optional, and
the professionalism, and thereby the credibility,       very re-assuring for the reader)
of the letter.                                        • Offer to provide more information if required
Character reference letters should be recently        • Yours faithfully (or ‘Yours sincerely’ if writing
dated, short and to the point, and very                 to a named addressee)
professionally presented. Poorly presented, two-
year-old, 5th generation photo-copied reference       N.B. It’s a matter for your own discretion how
letters full of spelling mistakes and coffee stains   much praise and positive information to include
will almost certainly do more harm than good.         in the reference letter, hence the optional items.
                                 [Name or Company Letterhead]
                         [Street • City • State/Province • Zip/Postal Code]
                                   [Phone # • Fax phone # • Email]

[Date today]

[Recipient’s address block - optional]

Dear [Recipient’s name] or To Whom it May Concern:

[First and foremost, if you don’t feel comfortable writing a letter of recommendation, don’t. A
vague or fabricated recommendation letter might do more harm than good. Start by identifying
your relationship with the person for whom you’re writing the letter. Are you the person’s
manager, co-worker or professor? How long have you known or worked with the person?]

[Picture the person in his or her job role. Point out a variety of positive traits while focusing on
work ethics, accomplishments, skills, and significant contributions (use specific examples). If
you draw a blank, ask the person to refresh your memory. If you have access to the person’s
merit reviews, refer to them for hints. If for business reasons you’re sorry to see this person
go, say so. Avoid vague, powerless words such as nice, good, fine and reasonable. Use words
such as excellent, superior, instrumental, creative, innovative, efficient, dependable, articulate,
meticulous, self-starter and confident.]

[Wrap it up with a recommendation to hire. Close by offering to provide more information.
Include your contact information if it’s not in the letterhead.]


[Sign here]

[Your name]
[Your title]

cc [Names for copies - optional]

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