How to Format a Reference Letter


A reference letter is a document written by someone who is endorsing another person who is applying for a specific job. This type of letter is commonly known as an employment reference letter where there is an overview of skills, abilities an experiences provided.

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Following proper format and guidelines in writing this type of letter is very important because this type of document is very crucial in the field of job application, thus adhering to some reference letter tips is an advantage in writing one.

Formatting a Reference Letter

Writing the said document can be difficult and tiresome, but still it is considered an honor to be writing it for the purpose of helping someone get the job. The two main things you need to focus first is about the formatting of the list of professional references and the basic format of a reference letter as being shown in most sample reference letters available everywhere.

How to Format a List of Professional References

Essential Elements of a Reference Letter

Writing the list of professional references is not really included in the reference letter however still very useful because a resume and a job application letter together with your reference letter comes hand in hand. In formatting, the following must be in a chronological order:

  • name of the professional reference
  • job title/position
  • name of the company
  • company address
  • e-mail address(if any)
  • contact number

Format of Reference Letter

  • The format of a reference letter starts with  a salutation  where you put your greetings such as “dear” or if name is not specified, “to whom it may concern” will do.
  • Then followed by a paragraph explaining your connection with the person you are recommending.
  • The second paragraph explains the basic information of the person including the skills, accomplishments and characteristics why he/she is capable of the job.
  • A summary of the letter must be included stating that you are highly recommending the person.
  • Lastly, a concluding statement, which contains further information of the recommended person as well your contact information.


Reference Letter Writing Tips

An effective reference letter adheres to reference letter formats and reference letter examples or observes the following tips and guidelines:

  • The very basic step before writing a reference letter is the process of collecting various information by asking the person directly or review the information in their CV. Also, you have to make sure to write the letter by hitting the target the job applicant wants to hit.
  • Make sure you are aware of the key elements of what a reference letter must contain, the body, conclusion and the appropriate type of information to include. A sample recommendation letter template  in DOC will do thus providing you an easy overview of what a reference letter must look like.
  • Always adhere to the basic business letter formatting where there is a header, salutation, body, conclusion and closing statement. Have it justified to convey a formal impression.

Things You Must Avoid Writing in a Reference Letter

  • Stating things that could cause libel.
  • Mentioning some of the candidates weaknesses.
  • Using of slang and some casual language.
  • Irrelevant information regarding the job applications.
  • Typographical errors, misspelled words.
Nevertheless, there is still a need to be wary in writing a reference letter  because this can affect you and the other person in terms of your records. It comes with necessity to know fully well the character, skills, and accomplishment of the recommended person in a company to see if the individual can be an asset in the company.

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