A reference letter is a piece of writing, typically by a colleague or professor, magnifying your skills and successes. Many people call this a letter of recommendation, as it is honing in on your personal strengths and explaining what you have to offer. There are many different types of reference letters, each specific to what it is needed for.
Reference Letter Examples
Thing to Include in Your Reference Letter
There are so many different kinds of reference letters out there, but there are some key elements and essential features to always include in your letter. One is to stay positive, but remain honest. Incorporating personal stories with the person is always a plus when writing a reference letter. Also, make key points and explain how the person is best qualified early on in the letter. Most people will get bored and become more forgetful toward the end of the letter, so be sure to squeeze it in there while you still have their attention. State how you feel about being asked to write the reference letter for this person. Getting a little bit of feedback from the writer is definitely a plus when you’re trying to persuade the focus group to choose the person you’re providing reference for.
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Do & Don’t (of a Reference Letter)
Many people have heard of Do’s and Don’ts of writing letters of recommendation. Do discuss how well you know the person, but do not reference characteristics that can very potentially be a platform for discrimination. Do not use overly used words, such as beautiful, rewarding, etc. State facts in your letter but do not go against supporting documents that have also been submitted with the applicant, such as resumes and cover letters. Be very specific when talking about the person, and be sure that you can prove whatever you are claiming in the letter. Honesty is key when writing a reference, and it can also be very good to mention minor faults or flaws. This creates the persona that “This person is not perfect, he or she definitely does have some things that they need to work on, but it’s definitely someone that we can work with.” Beefing up a reference letter may not always work out in your favor, it may actually have the complete opposite affect.
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