Writing a professional reference letter or letter of recommendation can be a challenging task. Your goal is to create a well-written piece that successfully showcases a person’s professional accomplishments and abilities. You need to emphasize the person’s strengths and show the recipient why the person is a solid choice.There are a few common mistakes you may run into while writing such a document, such as using excessive flattery and failing to proofread. If you overdo it on a reference letter, you can come off as fake. Errors in your note may show you didn’t take the time to carefully craft your piece.If you want to avoid these mistakes and write an overall exceptional letter, use our professional reference letter templates. By doing so, you can ensure your note is presentable and accomplishes its goal.
Professional Reference Letter Template
Below is a reference letter written by Maria Green. The person referred is a former employee, Victoria Johnson. Victoria is applying for a job and needs a professional letter of recommendation for the hiring manager. The document needs to show why the hiring manager should choose Victoria for the position. Maria does an excellent job of pointing out all the reasons why the hiring manager should consider Victoria, and she does it in an honest way that is not over the top.
It is my pleasure to recommend Victoria Green for your project manager position with Bright Lighting Designs. Victoria and I previously worked together at Innovative Solutions Project Management, where I was her supervisor from 2010 to 2015. During my time working with Victoria, I learned she is an outstanding individual and employee. Her exceptional leadership skills helped her excel as she managed numerous projects and teams. She is a hard worker with solid analytical skills, but she also has an incredible ability to think outside the box and develop creative solutions when necessary. Victoria enjoys a good challenge and takes on problems with strategic planning and confidence.
Victoria is also highly responsible and dependable, which lead to us choosing her to manage some of our most critical and complex projects, ranging from $1 million to $5 million. Her excellent professional skills and talents additionally helped increase our company revenue by 20% during her time with us.
Without question, I recommend Victoria with confidence to become an asset to your team at Bright Lighting Designs. Her knowledge, abilities, and outstanding personality make her a truly beneficial addition to any organization. To further discuss Victoria’s qualifications and accomplishments, please contact me at 555-789-1234.
How to Write a Professional Reference Letter
A professional reference letter explains to someone why she or he should choose the subject for something such as a new position or promotion. The person asking you for a recommendation may be a former student or work colleague. This type of letter should be carefully thought out, and its purpose is to confirm a person’s job tenure, explain his or her abilities, and emphasize any relevant accomplishments and strengths the individual has.
It is essential to be specific when writing a reference letter and avoid generalized statements and clichés. You must show the reader the subject is a desirable asset without sounding vague. Point out specific responsibilities, work experience, and measurable accomplishments to show exactly how the person stands out. Remember to think about the position applied for and focus on the professional skills and abilities needed to succeed. Provide examples of how your former workmate or student utilized his or her talents to solidify the mentioned qualifications.
In addition, talk about the subject’s personality and work ethic. In the professional reference letter template, Maria talks about Victoria’s outstanding personality and mentions she is a creative as well as a hard worker. This provides further insight to the reader regarding the type of person the subject is.
It is also important to keep your note concise and sincere. Keep the document to the point, and ensure the language is professional. Avoid unnecessary information and flowery language, because it can seem insincere. Your goal is to only write about the aspects of the subject you truly appreciate and provide reasons why. Include a strong conclusion that ends on a good note. You may include your phone number and mention that you are willing to further discuss the person’s qualifications.
What To Avoid in Your Professional Reference Letter
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when writing a professional reference letter is using unnecessary flattery. If you use too much praise, the reader might think you are being insincere or that you are overselling the subject in question.
Another mistake to avoid is not proofreading the letter. If there are grammatical errors and spelling mistakes throughout, it shows you didn’t care enough to take your time with writing a thorough recommendation for the subject.
Additionally, it would be a mistake on your part to write a professional reference letter for someone if you can’t actually provide a good and thorough review of her or his character and performance. Perhaps you didn’t work close enough to the person to give an honest recommendation. Maybe you simply can’t write an outstanding review of the individual’s work ethic. Whatever the reason is, it is essential to say no to writing a reference letter when necessary.
How To Follow Up After Sending Your Professional Reference Letter
As the writer of a professional reference letter, you are not required to follow up because you are not the sender or subject. The person you recommend may want to follow up with the employer or organization with which she or he provides your letter to ensure the appropriate person received and read the document. Additionally, you can follow up with the subject and ask for feedback on the letter you wrote if you like; however, this is not necessary. If this is your first reference letter, this is an effective way to see how well you did. You can also ask if the individual if she or he secured the position.
Top 5 Professional Reference Letter Writing Takeaways
1. Remember to be as sincere as possible
When writing a reference note for someone you like, it’s easy to overdo it with the flattery. This makes it look like you’re trying too hard or even being fake. Be honest and realistic in your writing.
2. Specifics are key
You are trying to prove the subject is an outstanding person and worker. To prove your statements, provide specific and measurable accomplishments or responsibilities of the subject, using numbers when you can. This makes it easy for the receiver to form a good impression of the subject.
3. Check your work
Make sure your letter is error-free before sending it to the subject. This helps the subject in question look better to the receiver and shows you carefully took your time with your writing.
4. Include your relationship to the subject and how long you’ve known him or her
It is essential the receiver knows some information about the person who wrote the letter. Mention whether you taught, managed, or worked with the person, and include how many years you have known the person.
5. End with a strong conclusion
Finish the letter with a positive conclusion that sums up your recommendation of the subject. State the person’s name and the name of the reader’s organization to tie everything together.