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Tips to Write a Good Reference Letter

If you are approached by someone requesting you to write a reference letter for a job application, scholarship program, or employment promotion purposes, then you’ll need to know the how reference letters work. Bear in mind that the significance of writing a reference letter cannot be understated.

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The reference letter format can vary according to the usage and application of the letter. However, you should first consider if you’re legitimately qualified to write a reference letter. Reference letters are professional letters and thus must be written with utmost confidence and honesty. You are attesting that the particular person you’re recommending has the said qualifications and credentials.


What Information Must not Be Included in a Reference Letter?

Sample reference letters showcase the salient features and components of reference letters. In connection to that, you should also know the types of information that you should avoid or remove in a reference letter.

  • Limitations and weaknesses of the candidate. In writing a reference letter, you should emphasize more on what a certain applicant or candidate can offer rather than his or her weaknesses. It would defeat the purpose of reference letters. Reference letter formats will give you an idea how you can effectively divide your letter into sections in order to make it more coherent.
  • Adding informal elements in the letter. You should always remember that a reference letter is a formal and professional letter. The language used must be business-like and professional. Jokes and other informal languages are not welcome in a reference letter.
  • Including personal and confidential information. You should not include the applicant or candidates’s political background, religious beliefs or other personal information that are not relevant to the purpose of reference letters.

And lastly, your letter must be free from grammar and spelling mistakes. Proofread and check the content of your letter before sending it.


Writing Tips for Reference Letters

Writing a high quality and substantial reference letter would require time and effort. Other than the reference letter examples, you can also refer to the following tips and tricks:

  • Consider the reader’s point of view. In dealing with reference letters, you should take into account the context of those who will be reading it. Ensure that the letter is simply written and easy to comprehend so that the recipients can immediately understand what you’re trying to communicate to them.
  • Stick to the relevant information. According to research, here are some suggested areas that you may discuss in the reference letter in relation to the candidate or applicant’s context:
    • the relevant work experiences
    • the professional skills
    • the measurable accomplishments of the candidate
    • answers as to why is the candidate fit for the particular job position or scholarship position
    • and any other information about the candidate’s competence.
  • Ensure to send the letter promptly. You should inquire about the schedules for submission and when it is due.

And lastly, be honest and genuine. Avoid entering false information which can bring about negative consequences not just on your end but also the status of the candidate’s application.

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