A personal letter of recommendation is also known as a character reference.
A personal letter of recommendation is a letter written by a recommender to boost an applicant’s job, house, club, or school application through insights into the person’s character by outlining positive attributes, morals, and values.
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 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.
Free Templates & Samples
When are Personal References Used?
A personal letter of recommendation should be written by a recommender well known to an applicant. A recommender should therefore be aware of instances that would warrant the writing of a personal reference. The following are instances where a personal recommendation can be used:
Suppose an applicant would like admission into an institution, a personal recommendation should be written to boost his/her academic profile. However, in some institutions, a personal recommendation letter can only be written under the discretion of the admission’s board.
If required by professional associations and guiding bodies
Professional associations and guiding bodies may require an applicant to submit a personal recommendation letter before incorporation into the organization, society, etc. For instance, lawyers seeking admission to the bar require a personal recommendation letter.
Jobs applications by college or high school college students
College and high school students with no employment history can use a personal recommendation letter. The letter can stand in place of professional references for first-time applicants with no work experience.
When purchasing or renting big living spaces
A property owner may request an applicant to obtain a personal recommendation letter before making any property or rental agreements. The information in the letter will provide more insight into the applicant and help in boosting the trust of the property owner.
Who can write a recommendation letter?
The personal recommendation letter is a personal referral that can be written by the following individuals:
- A Pastor
- Former/Current Employer
- Fellow student/graduate from an education program
Note: Recommendation letters from family members are believed to be biased and hence are less likely to be taken seriously.
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.
Writing the Personal Recommendation Letter
A personal recommendation letter should adhere to the following procedures when written in the email format:
Step 1: Subject line
First, the subject line for the personal recommendation letter should include the purpose of the letter, the name of the applicant the recommender is writing about, and, if known, the position the applicant is applying for. The following are examples of a subject line for a personal letter of recommendation:
Subject line: Personal Recommendation Letter for John smith
Subject line: Personal Recommendation Letter for Ann Willerby, Sales Agent
Step 2: Salutation
Secondly, a personal letter of recommendation should include a salutation that either specifies the recipient’s name or addresses the recipient in the manner of ‘To whom it may concern’ should the letter be general in nature. The following are examples of salutations a recommender can write in the personal letter of recommendation:
Dear Mr. Adams,
To whom it may concern,
A recommender can also choose not to write a salutation and go straight into the first paragraph of the personal recommendation letter.
Step 3: Body paragraphs
Next, a personal letter of recommendation should contain the body paragraphs that provide the recipient’s recommendation information. The recommender should hence include the following information in the body paragraphs of a personal recommendation letter:
The introductory paragraph of the personal recommendation letter should explain the relationship the recommender shares with the applicant, the length of time he/she has known the applicant, and what qualifies the recommender to write the referral. The following are examples of introductory paragraphs for a personal recommendation letter:
I am honored to be writing a recommendation letter for John Smith. John and I are friends, and we have been co-workers for five years at Anderson’s Realtors. In my seven years as a sales agent, I have never seen anyone put in as much hard work and dedication as John has.
I am delighted to recommend my hardworking and dedicated student Ann Willerby for admission to Belmont University. I have known and taught Ann for four years at Smithstone High. Ann is an innovative, obedient and talented student whose also goal-oriented.
I have known Zack Samson for 15 years. Zack and I met as boy scouts of the Atomic Wizards patrol, where we become close friends. Knowing him for so many years, I believe that he would make a great nurse at May’s field Hospital.
3.2: Applicant’s skills and qualifications
The second paragraph of the personal letter of recommendation should state the skills and qualifications the recommender has observed of the applicant in relation to the position applied, for example:
John has displayed communication skills, time-management, and good listening skills in the time that I have worked with him. He has always taken the initiative to go beyond the client’s expectations and deliver what they are looking for. For example, John once helped a client find a two-million-dollar condo in a highly coveted neighborhood in Los Angeles that was conveniently a short distance from the client’s workplace.
Ann has always been a grade ‘A’ student with incredible leadership skills. She has been the chairperson of the math and journalism department for two years. Ann is a disciplined, diligent, and responsible student who I believe would be a great addition to your prestigious institution.
Zack is a kind, considerate and loving person who always takes care of others. His social nature and well-mannered behavior make him a joy to be around. Zack also has great attention to detail and is wonderful at solving problems.
3.3: Why is the applicant suitable?
The third paragraph should explain why an applicant is suitable for the job. The recommender can mention reasons such as the applicant’s skills, qualifications, or experience. The reasons provided in the personal recommendation letter should reflect the desired qualities the employer needs to fill the position, for example:
The five years of experience as a sales agent that John has acquired and his ability to deal with clients make him the perfect candidate for the position.
When Ann informed me that she was considering joining your institution, I was delighted. She has demonstrated self-discipline and diligence in her studies. Ann has a growth mindset and a deep desire to excel in her endeavors. I am confident that her work ethic and academic achievements will meet your standards.
Zack’s ability to empathize and care for patients makes him a great nurse. His attention to detail and sense of humor have enabled him to provide the best level of care for his patients. I, therefore, believe that he is the best candidate for the position.
The final paragraph of the personal recommendation letter should state the reason for the recommendation by the recommender, for example:
I can therefore undoubtedly guarantee that John’s excellent skill will always leave your client’s satisfied. It is for these reasons I recommend John Smith.
Ann’s determination, resilience, and desire to learn makes her a phenomenal student. I believe that she will be a great addition to your institution. It is for these reasons that I recommend Ann without reservations.
It is Zack’s commitment to the well-being of his patients that warrants my wholehearted recommendation.
Step 4: Conclude properly
A great way of concluding the personal letter of recommendation is the referee offering to provide more information about the applicant. The additional information may include the applicant’s character, morals, and values. In addition, the recommender can conclude the letter by providing his/her contact information should the recipient want to get in touch.
You are free to contact me with any further questions or details.
Should you have any further queries, kindly do not hesitate to reach out to me.
Step 5: Signature and Contact information
Finally, a recommender can end the letter by signing off with ‘Sincerely,’ ‘Best’ ‘Kind regards’ and providing his/her contact information, for example:
Mrs. Emma Denman
Personal Recommendation Letter Template
_ [RECOMMENDER’S NAME]
_ [RECOMMENDER’S STREET ADDRESS]
__ [ COMPANY CITY, ZIP CODE]
_ [RECIPIENT’S NAME]
_ [RECIPIENT’S TITLE]
_ [INSTITUTION NAME]
_ [INSTITUTION STREET ADDRESS]
_ [INSITITITION CITY, ZIP CODE]
Dear _ [Mr. or MRS (Recipient’s name)],
I am honored and pleased to be writing this letter to recommend my friend and former co-worker, Alice Bradfield. I have known Alice for about¬¬¬¬¬¬_ [number of months or years].
Alice is a hardworking, dedicated, and respectful worker. She is determined, flexible, and a great problem solver. Alice has excellent team-building skills, and this was evident in the 2014 Annual Company Sports Day. She led the public relations department to a 2-0 victory for the first time since 2010 in an intense soccer match.
Her years of experience in stressful work environments have made her a quick thinker. Alice is responsible and resilient, which makes her a great addition to your company
For this reason, I wholeheartedly recommend her for a position at_________ [name of company] as [title of the job].
For any further details, you may contact me at ____ [recommender’s contact information]
__ [RECOMMENDER’S NAME]
Personal Recommendation Letter Examples
Example personal job recommendation letter
1234 Any Street
Anytown, IN 12345
September 2, 2019
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 CLane@email.com
Example immigration recommendation letter
1234 Park Ln
Anytown, CA 12345
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 MLaw@email.com
Example Legal Recommendation Letter
Professional Tips on Writing
A personal letter of recommendation should be powerful enough to move the recipient. A recommender should therefore keep the following in mind when writing a personal recommendation letter:
- The recommendation letter should be positive: A recommender should only provide information that works for the applicant’s best interest. It is therefore critical that the letter positively convey the applicant’s character.
- Keep the letter short: The recipients of the personal recommendation letter are busy and have to consider several applicants; hence they are easily discouraged from reading a multi-page letter. Writing a short letter will encourage the recipient to read it entirely. It is also important that the information is not complicated or hard to read.
- Do not include private details: The personal recommendation letter should not go into intimate details about the applicant’s personal life. Providing private information can potentially ruin an applicant’s chances of attaining the position he/she seeks.
A personal letter of recommendation can strengthen an application. The recommender of a personal recommendation letter should ensure he/she includes positive attributes about the referee. The information contained in the letter should be evoke thought in the mind of the recipient.