It is natural to feel flattered when asked to write a personal reference letter. However, it can also be extremely nerve-wracking. These letters carry a lot of weight, and yours could mean the difference between someone getting a great new job and losing out on a great opportunity. Take a deep breath, and remember that plenty of people have been in your shoes before.You may not know where to begin with writing this document. Even if you have known the person for several years now, you may wonder what information is pertinent to put in this kind of letter. You have little to worry about once you review our personal reference letter templates, which show you the suggested method of crafting these notes.
Personal Reference Letter Template
Below you will find a letter of recommendation written by Susan Patricios for a former employee of hers, Emily Stratton. Emily worked at Susan’s retail shop for two years before moving on to a more managerial position elsewhere. It has been a while since Susan last saw Emily, but she remembers Emily as a kind person who was always willing to go the extra mile for customers. Emily needs this note for a manager position, and she will submit it to that store’s current owner, Ralph Tragon.
I had the pleasure of working with Emily for two years, and it is my absolute pleasure to recommend her for the position of manager at Books, Tea, and Good Times. I believe she will make an incredible addition to your team, and you are sure to benefit from her presence for some time to come.
Emily is always willing to go the extra mile. I remember several instances when she stayed late or came in on a weekend to help customers who specifically requested her expertise. She also has great skill with conflict resolution. As you likely already know, anything can happen when working with the general public, but I never saw Emily lose her cool. She always maintains a professional demeanor, even in the face of adversity.
Along with her many talents, Emily is a true joy to work with. She works incredibly well as part of a team, and she is not afraid to share her opinion. In fact, I went to her often when I needed assistance reaching a decision.
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I recommend Emily to join your team as manager. Please feel free to reach out to me at 555-555-7633 if you would like to discuss Emily’s qualifications further.
How To Write a Personal Reference Letter
The primary goal of a recommendation letter is to draw attention to a person’s best qualities and work history. To accomplish this successfully, you should focus on specific stories rather than generalized statements. This also adds a more personal touch. You do not want the reader to think you copied and pasted this document from someone else. Make it feel as though it is coming from a real person and you will do a lot of good for the person the letter is about.
You also want to remain sincere. There is no need to exaggerate the person’s abilities because this can make the reader wonder if this is truly accurate. There is also no need to include a lot of flowery language. The best rule of thumb is to simply stick with the facts; that is all the reader wants to see.
You also want to make sure to keep the document concise. Even if you could write several pages about the person, you want to keep this letter to a few paragraphs in length. This keeps the letter to a manageable size so the reader does not become overwhelmed. However, you can end the letter by suggesting the reader contact you if he or she needs to discuss anything else.
Another point to consider toward the beginning of the letter of recommendation is mentioning the nature of your relationship with the person, as is the case with the personal reference letter template above. This does not have to be very long. You simply want to state how long you have known the individual.
What To Avoid in Your Personal Reference Letter
The biggest mistake you can make when writing a recommendation letter is saying anything negative about the person. If you truly do not have a lot of nice things to say about the individual in question, then it would be best to simply deny the request to write the note. However, even if you generally have nice things to say about a person, you want to avoid accidentally saying something an employer could misconstrue as negative. For example, you would not want to say something like, “She mostly keeps to herself but knows how to be part of a team when necessary.” A statement like that does more harm than good.
You also want to avoid clichés and generalizations. You do not want the reader to think you send the same personal reference letter to everyone who requests one. Make it personal so that it is a joy to read through.
How To Follow Up After Sending Your Personal Reference Letter
When you are the one writing the recommendation letter, there is not necessarily a need to follow up. However, if you want, you can reach out to the person who requested the letter a couple weeks after submitting it. This can be a quick follow up where you simply ask whether he or she received the new job. It is a great way to show you still care about your employees and acquaintances.
You may receive a follow up from the person requesting the letter if it takes you more than a few days to send one. Most people in need of reference letters require them promptly, so you should be good about being timely with your response. If you are simply swamped with work and cannot get to writing a personalized reference letter, then you may want to suggest to the person to contact someone else.
Top 5 Personal Reference Letter Writing Takeaways
1. Be specific
As an example, you would not want to simply say a person is a leader. You would want to provide a story of a time the person led a team to great success. Stories are much more memorable than generic statements.
2. Talk about the person’s personality and work ethic
The reader should get a good sense of what the person is like from just a few paragraphs. Make this document count by providing some information about what the person is like away from the job.
3. Keep it short
You want to keep this document to less than a single page in length. Any longer than that and you risk losing the audience’s attention.
4. Provide a way for people to contact you
At the end of the document, you want to provide your phone number or email address. The reader may have questions after reading your letter, and you want to make it easy for him or her to reach you.
5. Do not stress
Even if you do not enjoy writing these letters, they are great for showing your employees how much you really care about them. Keep it positive, and stick to the facts.