15+ Free Personal Letter of Recommendation Templates

Free Personal Letter of Recommendation

If you’ve ever applied for a job, you have probably been responsible for gathering letters of recommendation. There are several kinds of letters of recommendation that may be requested and, if you don’t have a lot of work experience, you may be concerned that you cannot land your dream job. That’s where a personal letter of recommendation may be an important factor for you.

What is a personal letter of recommendation?

A personal letter of recommendation is also known as a character reference. These letters may be used in place of a job recommendation letter or they may be used for court hearings, parole hearings, or immigration cases. These letters speak more to a person’s character, or their personality, than their experience. Unlike other letters of recommendation, you may ask close friends to write these, even if they do not know the depth of your work experience. They should talk about your character traits and your work ethic outside of your employment but can also reference achievements you have made in your career.

When might you be required to give a personal letter of recommendation?

While many companies want you to gain letters of recommendation from a coworker or employer, there are other times when a personal reference may be needed. For instance, personal letters of reference might be required when you are making a big purchase or taking out a large loan. These may also be supplemental material for a college application or for volunteer opportunities.

If you should find yourself in legal trouble, character references can also help to give the judge or parole board a better picture of who you are aside from the current charges you are facing. It presents a fuller picture of your ties to the community that you live in and can help them to determine whether you are remorseful for any acts you have committed. These letters are most often requested by the court in DUI cases and custody cases.

There is one other instance where it is highly common for an agency to request one of these letters. When applying for immigration or citizenship, you often need to attain a character reference. These speak to the positive aspects of your personality and the positive things that you have done both in your home country and your adopted country. They allow for an immigration committee to determine your admission to a country and see if there is a possibility that you will make a positive contribution to society.

Who should you ask for a character reference?

There are several people that can be asked to give you a character reference. This list provides a few options for you:  

A Pastor: If you are active in your church community, you may attain a letter of personal recommendation from your pastor. They can speak to your positive impact of the community of the church.

A Teacher/Professor: Teachers or professors are great choices to write you a character reference. They can speak to your academic achievements and motivation within your school.

A Former/Current Employer: While you do not have to ask an employer for these references, they can speak to your work ethic and your interaction with members of a team. It is always recommended to approach a former employer for one of these letters, if you are able to maintain a positive relationship with them.

A Client: If you own your own firm or business, you can ask a client to write you a letter of reference. Clients with whom you have long-standing relationships with can often speak to your business dealings.

No matter who you ask, you should ensure that they can speak fully to your character and your accomplishments. You may want to prepare certain things for those that you ask for a reference.

What information should i give to write a reference?

You may want to gather the following information to give to anyone who agrees to write you a character reference:

Details about why you need the letter: The most important thing you provide the person with is why you need the letter. The letter could look very different depending on why you need it. Letters written for an immigration case will look much different from a letter written for a custody dispute. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing these details with the person you are asking, you should choose someone else to ask!

Contact information of the person you will be submitting the letter to: To follow a proper business format, the person writing the letter will need this information. It will allow your recommendation to look much more professional, which offers a much better first impression.

How long you have known the person: This might be helpful to jog the person’s memory of your relationship.

A draft of the letter you are seeking: Essentially, you should write the personal reference letter for them! This way, the letter includes all of the details that you want to be presented to the pertinent people. The only thing that will be left for the person to do is plug in their name and information and sign the letter!

How to write (Format)?

All character references should be formatted as a formal letter. They should include the following:

Heading: If you are writing the letter, begin with your contact information at the top of the letter. Follow this with the date you are writing the letter and finish with the contact information of who will receive the letter. If you do not have this information, make sure to ask for it from the person who needs the letter.

Even if you are sending this letter via e-mail, including at least your contact information makes the e-mail look much more professional. If you are sending an e-mail you should make sure your subject line reads “Recommendation for (Insert First Name and Last Name).

Salutation: If you are writing a letter of recommendation, you should begin the letter with a salutation. Beginning “Dear Ms. Jones” is stronger than “To Whom It May Concern” and makes the letter seem more personal. If you know who will inevitably be reading the letter, make sure you address it to them personally.

Introduction: Your first paragraph should introduce yourself. Explain who you are and how long you have known the person you are writing the letter for. Include why you feel confident writing the letter.

Specific Information: In your second paragraph, include the specific information that is pertinent to the candidate that you are writing for. Why are they qualified? What are the characteristics that make this person a good candidate?

Conclusion: Summarize the body of your letter. State that you highly recommend the person. Always make sure that you offer to provide more information and include your contact information again.

Free personal recommendation letter templates & samples

Sample Personal Recommendation Letter 02

Sample Personal Recommendation Letter 03


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Sample Cover Letter with Personal Recommendation

Example recommendation letters

Example Personal Job Recommendation Letter

Cassie Lane
1234 Any Street
Anytown, IN 12345
[email protected]
September 2, 2019
Dana Lewis
1234 Park Lane
City, CA 12345
Dear Mr. Lewis:
My name is Cassie Lane and I would like to recommend Hillary Cortez for the position of Administrative Assistant with your company. I have had the pleasure of knowing Ms. Cortez as her professor for the past 4 years and I believe that she has all of the qualities necessary to fulfill this position.
Hillary is an active participant in our church here on campus. She has taken leadership responsibilities with pride and she manages our worship schedule in conjunction with our lead pastor. Hillary volunteers her time with our youth outreach and is an active participant in our school community.
Ms. Cortez will make a great addition to your team and I recommend her for this position without reservation. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me as 555-555-5555 or by e-mail at [email protected]
With Regards,
Cassie Lane

Example Immigration Recommendation Letter

Martin Lawrence
1234 Park Ln
Anytown, CA 12345
[email protected]
January 22, 2019
To Whom It May Concern (Note: In an immigration case or a legal case, you may not have the option of knowing who will be hearing the case to address it to them directly.)
My name is Martin Lawrence and I proudly offer my recommendation of Kyrie Sato. Mr. Sato and I have known each other for 12 years as colleagues with Parson and Sons, Inc.
During my relationship with Kyrie, I have experienced an individual who is always early to work and is usually the last to leave. Mr. Sato always carries himself in a polite and respectful manner to all people, both colleagues and customers. In addition, Kyrie is a family man whose love for his family is one of his favorite topics of conversation. He is quick to offer advice and the first one to help a friend in need.
It is a great honor for me to personally recommend Mr. Sato for immigration. Should you have further questions, do not hesitate to contact me at 555-555-5555 or by email at [email protected]
Martin Lawrence

Example Legal Recommendation Letter

Benjamin Kirkwood
321 Anytown Ln
Anytown, CA 54321
[email protected]
March 4, 2018
To Whom It May Concern (Note: In an immigration case or a legal case, you may not have the option of knowing who will be hearing the case to address it to them directly.)
My name is Benjamin Kirkwood and it is with great pride that I offer my personal recommendation for Victoria Cornett. Ms. Cornett and I have personally known one another for 5 years as coworkers with Cala Lilly, Inc.
During our relationship, I have experienced an individual who will do anything she can to provide for her family. She is the first to show up for work and she is usually the last to leave. When her children are in need, she plans accordingly and allows herself to take time off to be with them. She always carries herself in a professional manner and is polite to all customers and colleagues. Victoria is extremely family-oriented and has always presented herself with grace and patience.
I unreservedly speak to Ms. Cornett’s character. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you need any further information at 555-555-5555 or at [email protected]

Ben Kirkwood

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