How to Write a Formal Reference Letter [10+ Templates to Download]

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Reference letters are a staple in the job-hunting industry. That is why, if you want to be taken seriously for a job, you need to request formal reference letters from your bosses, colleagues, or clients. This article will help you (and anyone who regularly have to write reference letters) create reference letters that accord professionalism and competence for the person being recommended.

2562+ FREE LETTER Templates - Download Now Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word (DOC), Google Docs, Apple (MAC) Pages, Microsoft Excel (XLS), Google Sheets (SPREADSHEETS)

5 Steps To Make a Formal Reference Letter

Listed below is a step-by-step guide on how to create formal reference letters. These steps will apply whether you are creating a letter template for a recommender to sign or if you are the recommender yourself.

Step 1: Review the requester’s resume.

First, you need to review the requester’s resume or CV. This allows you to look at how an individual is suitable for a position that he or she is applying for.

Step 2: Familiarize yourself with the basic format of a reference letter.

Next, you should familiarize yourself with the reference letter format and how it can help a person’s career. Just like any kind of letter, a reference letter should include a header; the recommender’s designation and contact information; an introduction; more than two paragraphs of information on the letter’s body; a closing paragraph, and a signature line.

Step 3: Write the letter’s content.

Once you know all the parts of a reference letter, it’s time to start writing its content. Reference letters should state the reasons why you can vouch for the person’s character and/or work ethic. The more comprehensive a reference letter is, the more weight it may have on the person’s application.

Step 4: Alternatively, download a printable reference letter template.

Alternatively, you may also download a pre-formatted formal reference letter template (multiple examples are shared below). These templates come with ready-made reference letter wording that you can personalize to match the type of reference letter you are writing. By using these printable templates, you can save time in formatting your reference letters according to current letter-writing conventions.

Step 5: Print and submit the reference letter.

After making sure that your formal reference letter is free from typos and grammatical errors, save the final document template file. Print it out on high-quality paper. Then, submit the reference letter according to the instructions given by the person whom you have recommended.

10+ Formal Reference Letter Templates

Take a look at all the free and premium formal reference letter templates shared below. Each template is fully editable and they are also available as Google Docs, Apple Pages, and MS Word template files.

1. Personal Recommendation and Reference Template

personal recommendation and reference template
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The Personal Recommendation and Reference Template (shown above) is a two-page document template that is perfect for those managers and bosses who want to vouch for an individual’s work ethic. This template may be used by former/current employers, professors, or anyone who personally knows the endorsee but is not related to him or her.

2. Letter of Reference Long Template

letter of reference long template
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If you are looking for a more comprehensive reference letter template, check out the Letter of Reference Long Template featured above. This two-page template allows endorsers to write down all the relevant qualifications and reasons for their recommendation.

3. Bank Reference Letter for Company

bank reference letter for company
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The Bank Reference Letter for Company (pictured above) is designed for organizations or entities who want an official and formal letter showing their relationship with a financial institution. If you are a business owner, you may have this signed by your bank representative and you can then use the document for other business transactions.

4. Character Reference Letter for Courts Template

character reference letter for courts template
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Any document required for court proceedings should be formal and accurate. Use the Character Reference Letter for Courts Template (shown above) if you need to submit a reference letter in such situation. You may edit this one-page letter template to match the endorsee’s case and the amount of confidence you have of him/her being innocent of an alleged crime or misdemeanor.

5. Employee Reference Letter for Visa

employee reference letter for visa
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Size: US & A4

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The Employee Reference Letter for Visa is best issued by employers who want to aid in the visa processing of an employee. This letter template includes wording that attests to the individual’s employment, compensation benefits package, and the reason for needing a visa. This document template may be prepared by your company’s human resources department and then signed by the CEO or manager.

6. Financial Reference Letter From Accountant

financial reference letter from accountant
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Size: US & A4

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The Financial Reference Letter From Accountant (shown above) is a type of a formal reference letter that attests a person’s financial capability. What sets this reference letter template apart is that it is created (or signed) by an accountant. When using this template, make sure that you include your accounting firm’s letterhead or logo design.

7. Formal Reference Letter Example

formal reference letter example
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Use the Formal Reference Letter Example (screenshot shown above) if you are recommending a current employee who wishes to apply to a new position within your company or in another company. The template includes a pre-formatted border design that you can customize to match your current company’s branding identity.

8. Free Formal Reference Letter Template

free formal reference letter template
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Reference and recommendation letters need to be an honest and compelling summary of the reasons why you are recommending a specific person. With the help of the Free Formal Reference Letter Template (pictured above), you will have an easier time crafting a formal reference letter that reflects those characteristics.

9. Professional Reference Letter for Apartment Application

professional reference letter for apartment application
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Size: US & A4

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Renting an apartment is a formal process that adults need to go through. With the help of the Professional Reference Letter for Apartment Application (shown above), you can ask a colleague, boss, or professor to write you a positive reference letter and, hopefully, help you get a new apartment. If you intend to use this template, do not forget to tell your recommender that he/she may customize the template’s wording according to his/her wishes.

10. Reference Letter for Administrative Officer

reference letter for administrative officer
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The Reference Letter for Administrative Officer Template (shown above) may include wording for an administrative officer’s job application but you can easily change this to match the type of job that your endorsee is applying for. This is a concise letter template packed with every important thing that a job reference letter should include.

11. Reference Letter For Senior Accountant

reference letter for senior accountant
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  • Google Docs
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Size: US & A4

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When applying for jobs in the banking industry, you will typically need formal reference letters. The Reference Letter For Senior Accountant (shown above) is a sample reference letter template that you can use. Download this template and ask your recommender to fill out according to his/her knowledge of your educational background and professional achievements.

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