A Character Reference Letter for a Friend is a letter written to a potential employer, on behalf of a friend, relative, or neighbor, who is applying for a job position in a company.
It introduces the applicant to the employer while highlighting the applicant’s character and personality to persuade the employer to hire them.
You can write a character reference letter if you are a friend, relative, or neighbor to the applicant. As the referrer, you are expected to be familiar with the applicant enough to give detailed information about their character and personality. Additionally, you can write a character reference letter as a business associate, professor, customer, or academic advisor.
As a church group leader, school camp, 4-H, or a voluntary program, you can refer members through a character reference letter. Members within other groups, such as sports groups, can also refer to each other. Fundamentally, suppose you have interacted with an applicant in a capacity that explicitly demonstrated their character and abilities enough to be referenced, for example, babysitters. In that case, you can write a reference letter for them.
Anytime a friend, colleague, or relative requests you to write a character reference letter, there are certain things you ought to consider before you begin the writing process. These pre-writing considerations ensure that a character reference letter for a friend accomplishes its intended purpose.
These pre-writing considerations are:
Make sure you are qualified
There should be a meaningful relationship or interaction between the referrer and the applicant for a character reference letter to have weight or influence. If you are close acquaintances, you will be better positioned to give insight into the applicant’s character. A qualification consideration often used by employers is how long you have known the candidate; the longer the friendship or acquaintance, the more qualified the referrer. Always consider how much you know about the applicant, how well prepared or positioned you are to answer additional questions from the employer, and if you have the time to create a well-prepared character reference letter.
Know your audience
Always strive to know to whom the letter will be addressed. Check with the applicant if the letter is for a specific application or generic for all their applications. Once you have established who you are addressing in the letter, you can write a letter aligned to the application at hand. For example, the contents of a character reference letter for a teaching position will be different from that of a security guard position.
A detailed and factual character reference letter is more effective than a simple and ambiguous letter. Therefore, gathering information to input in the letter will always be positive towards creating a quality reference letter. Ask the applicant to submit a copy of their resume and the job specifications. Information in these documents adds substance to the letter.
Think carefully before saying yes
Before agreeing to write the letter, contemplate whether you can write a positive character reference letter. If there is a hint of doubt or you are uncomfortable referring the applicant for whichever reason, politely decline the request. Saying no is always better than writing a substandard reference letter.
How to Write a Character Reference Letter for a Friend
Once you have chosen to write the character reference letter for a friend and have the information you need, proceed with the writing process. How you format and present the letter will greatly impact how effective the letter will be in improving the candidate’s application.
Below are steps to guide any referrer as they write their reference letter for a friend:
The letter, like most official documents, begins with a header. A header introduces the sender to the recipient. It should be formatted as with most job-related letters.
The details to include in the header are:
Include your personal information
Your personal information such as name, job title, and mailing address should be included. Ensure to use your official name and a valid address. Providing personal details is important for identification purposes; the employer will always want to know who exactly is referring the applicant so that the letter’s authenticity can be ascertained. Contact details include a phone number, email address, and any other contact information such as LinkedIn URL.
20 Williams street,
Cheshire, CO 7492
City and date
A character reference letter for a friend ought to be dated and show the sender’s location. While providing the mailing address, ensure to include the city where you are located. The date comes after the sender’s details. Therefore, write down the date by indicating the day, month, and year when the letter was written.
August 20, 2021
Hiring manager’s details
The next section should outline the recipient’s (employer) details. Indicate their full name, position in the company, company name, and the physical company address. Finding the employer’s name should be done before beginning to write the letter. While sometimes getting the actual name might be a lot of work, but it is worth the wait. Addressing the recipient by their name is important for engagement. In the mailing address, provide the city, street address, and ZIP code.
Kreotix Networks Co.
58 Clarendon Avenue,
Roland, CA 59421
To finalize the heading section, provide a formal salutation. Ensure to use the appropriate titles; Mr. Mrs, Ms, Dr., etc. The title should precede the hiring manager’s last name.
Dear Mr. Harrison,
State your relationship with the candidate
The next step is to start the letter by stating your relationship with the applicant. At this point, you can declare how long you have known the candidate or in what capacity you interact or have interacted with the applicant. Use a few lines to declare this information and let the recipient know the exact applicant you are referring to.
I’m writing this reference letter as a colleague and friend to Ms. Victoria Bells for the secretary position at BlinkIn Associates. I’ve known Victoria for five years now, and she is a devoted employee who would excellently fill the position at your company.
State applicant’s character
Once it is clear who is being recommended and the relationship you have with the candidate, you can proceed to highlight desirable personal traits (character) that make them suitable candidates for the job. State at least one or two qualities. As much as possible, try to align the qualities or traits with the job specifications. The given traits should be relevant to the position the candidate is applying for.
Harry is an ambitious and creative web designer. His love for IT and drive to make the world more convenient through technology shows his potential for the Chief Web designer position at your company. His discipline and integrity are impeccable, traits I have always admired in him.
Include specific examples
For every highlighted quality or trait, provide a real-life example that clearly demonstrates the applicant’s ability to use it. You can talk about how the candidate used the traits to help you or another person. Mention the applicant’s voluntary works, life goals they have achieved, and support they offer to others. You can try to match the examples with the roles and responsibilities associated with the job position.
Jane is a friendly neighbor and is known to help people whenever she can. She takes up roles during community events. Jane is also our homeowner’s association treasurer and has been for the second year now. She is devoted to any position she is given and spends long hours to make sure plans go as intended.
The improvement you have seen
Next, talk about the improvement or growth you have observed in the applicant throughout the period you have known them. For example, declare how they have matured in making better decisions, handling difficult situations, etc. reiterate that they are committed to becoming even better people personally and professionally.
Having known Jerry since he was a teenager, I have seen him mature in his decision-making and become a responsible individual who takes the initiative at work and in his personal life. It has been an honor to watch him become the esteemed accountant he is today, and I believe he has the potential to become even better.
Share your contact for follow-up
The character reference letter for a friend should then have an exhaustive conclusion that restates the key points discussed in the letter and thank the reader for going through the letter. Also, provide your contact details and invite the hiring manager to ask any further questions they may have. The contact details can be a phone number or email address.
With that being said, I sure do hope you will consider Mrs. Smith for the vacant position as she is able and qualified to take up the role. I’m available for further queries at 114-3299-050. Thank you.
Finally, close the letter with a complimentary close and provide a signature. A signature implies that the sender authenticates the information provided in the document. Note that if the letter is in email format, it does not have to be signed by hand; a professional email signature will be sufficient.
Character Reference Letter Template
City, State, Zip Code
Hiring Manager’s Name,
City, State, ZIP Code
Salutation (Mr./Mrs./Ms. Last Name or To Whom It May Concern if the letter is generic)
I’m forwarding this reference letter on behalf of [Name of applicant], who has been my neighbor for 10 years. [Name of friend] and I have worked together on several occasions as acquaintances as his/her skills as a [Name of the profession, e.g., web designer] is very reliable. Moreover, outside official capacity, he/she has been a close friend to my family and me.
[Name of friend] has always been an honest and trustworthy friend whom I occasionally entrust my home with whenever I’m traveling outside the country. He/she is social and has always gotten along with my kids and quality, which makes him an excellent teacher.
He/she is committed to the teaching profession; there are times he/she has been discouraged by the amount of pressure that comes with teaching teenagers but has always found the courage and will to give his/her best to his/her students.
[Name of applicant] will be suitable for the position, and if given a chance, he/she will prove to be an asset to your institution. I can answer any further questions regarding [Mr./Mrs./Ms. Applicant’s name]. My phone number is [Valid phone number].
Sample Character Reference Letters
Following are some sample character reference letters given:
Oakwood High School Basketball Coach,
8709 Charisma Street,
Los Angeles, CA 1160
July 5, 2021
Bibo Manufacturers Ltd,
438 Perth Street,
Cheshire, CO 77777
Dear Mrs. Von,
It is with great delight that I’m recommending William Brody for the Assistant Manager position at Bibo Manufacturers. Brody was my student at Oakwood High, and we developed a friendship that has blossomed for the last seven years. Based on seven years of friendship, I believe he has what it takes to excel in the assistant manager position.
In school, Brody was an organized and disciplined student and basketball player. He showed leadership on and off the field and always strived to get the best out of each player by supporting each player whenever he could. He was captain of the team for the last two years in school.
Brody is excellent at keeping time. He is never late for meetings and connects with different people incredibly. Brody occasionally volunteers at Oakwood Training center as he is a firm believer in maintaining a connection with the community and nurturing the younger generation. He can replicate the same commitment at work, as illustrated by his experience and professional accomplishments.
Do not hesitate to reach me at 555-555 555 or [email protected]l.com. I am happy to answer any additional questions you might have about Mr. Brody’s application.
July 3, 2018
Mrs. Kylie Jackson
987 X Street, CA
Dear Mrs. Jackson,
It is with immense honor that I recommend Corrine Wong, who is a close friend, for the Lead Writer Position at Bigworks Entertainment. I have known Corrine for 11 years now. For the longest time, Corrine has always had an interest in writing quality and compelling content. In the years I have known her, she has demonstrated exceptional skill and competence.
From the first time I met Corrine, I have always been amazed by her passion for creating high-quality written content. I remember once when she took part in a writing contest in school. Corrine won because of her creativity and prowess in writing.
Additionally, Corrine has an excellent rapport with everyone. She is enthusiastic, humble, and honest. Corrine has excellent communication skills, which helps her connect with people of all ages. Whenever there is an occasion at home, she is always called upon to speak because she is naturally articulate.
Corrine is cherished, and I am honored to have known her for this long. I recommend Corrine Wong without reservation. She is an intelligent, competent, dedicated, and capable young lady. I am confident that she would make a valuable addition to your team. Please do not hesitate to contact me for further details.
July 3, 2018
Mr. Anthony Michaels
Gold Art Galleries
8709 X Street, CA
Dear Mr. Michaels,
I exceptionally recommend Barrack Johns for the job of an Art Gallery Manager at Gold Art Galleries. Barrack is my close childhood friend whom I have known for fifteen years. I watched his skills grow from humble beginnings ever since our college days where he majored in Management. I honestly believe he is the man for the job.
After our days in school, he diligently looked for employment and nailed an Art Gallery Assistant position locally. He is exceedingly passionate about his duties and treated them with the necessary seriousness. With his exceptional people skills, he helped staff members with their administrative responsibilities.
Unfortunately, the local Art Gallery suffered an unforeseen fire and is no more. Barrack is a hard worker whose passion and devotion will positively impact your Gallery.
I am confident to recommend Barrack for the post of Gallery manager. If you have any inquiries about him, do not hesitate to ask.
Related: Recommendation Letters by Supervisor
A reference letter will ordinarily contribute immensely to the applicant’s chances of securing the position. When you write a character reference letter for a friend, you should be aiming to come up with the best reference letter possible.
You can incorporate the following tips in the writing process to ensure the letter serves its intended purpose:
As much as you want to be more convincing to help your friend get the job, always be honest. Avoid exaggerating any quality of the applicant. There are always ways you can be more persuasive without giving false information. Falsifying information in the reference letter hurts the candidate’s chances of getting the job.
Make your letter easy to comprehend
Always create a reference letter that is easy to understand. Most reviewers will be scanning multiple reference letters to obtain the relevant information and keywords. Make it easier for them to get to know the applicant’s strongest qualities by structuring the letter appropriately. Use casual vocabulary, short, concise sentences, well-spaced words, short paragraphs, and avoid repetition. The easier the letter will be to understand, the easier it will be to go through it in its entirety.
Maintain a positive tone throughout the letter. Let the potential employer know the applicant’s most desirable qualities. The objective of the reference letter should be to help the candidate get the job; by focusing on the positives, the employer is more likely to review the letter I a positive note which might create a positive impression about the applicant.
Review samples and templates
Go through reference letter samples and templates available on the internet and note down the writing techniques and structuring adopted. This speeds up the writing process as you are now aware of the type of information employers are looking for.
Use business letter format
All character reference letters to be physically mailed should be written in a business format. The letter should have a header, salutation, introduction, body, conclusion, and a handwritten signature. However, emailed character reference letters do not have to be in the same business format.
As much as you can refer to samples, templates, and guidelines, tailor the reference letter to reflect the applicant’s individualistic experience. Vary the content outline in the letter from that obtained from examples. This goes a long way in making the letter stand out and creating an impression.
Follow the submission guidelines
Employers will often issue guidelines as to how a character reference letter for a friend should be submitted. Ask the applicant to outline any given guidelines. Guidelines will often relate to the document’s format, length in pages, method of submission, etc.
When outlining qualities, be specific. Generic qualities compromise the quality of the letter. For example, instead of stating the applicant is hardworking, choose more specific qualities such as resilience or persistence.
Focus on the particular job
Information given in the reference letter should be relevant to the job position the candidate is applying for. First, review the job requirements of the particular job from job listings. Then incorporate qualities, phrases, and words associated with the position. If the letter is to be a generic reference letter, ask the applicant to list the types of jobs they are interested in and link the letter to those jobs.
Proofread and edit
Always proofread the character reference letter for a friend before submitting it. Look out for any spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, typos, and sentence structure. If there are any, edit accordingly.
The reference letter should give sufficient information without being too monotonous or too long. One page is usually enough to include everything. The letter can have three to five paragraphs.
Following are some free downloadable templates for you:
A character reference for a friend is not a professional recommendation letter. However, it is an official document that goes on the applicant’s file and should therefore be formatted as such. As much as the letter should be persuasive, it should not be exaggerated.
Keep the letter honest and provide specific examples that demonstrate the applicant’s qualities instead of simply stating them. A character reference letter for a friend should be one page long; longer than that becomes monotonous and might not get entirely reviewed.
Lastly, before accepting to refer someone, always be sure to write a positive character reference letter. Note that writing a character reference letter for someone you are close to makes it easier to create an excellent reference letter.