Reference Letters (25+ Sample Letters and Templates)

A referer provides an applicant’s prospective employer with information about the individual’s personal traits and characteristics, which may increase their chances of getting employed. In this article, we have provided professionally crafted reference letter samples, but first, let us understand what a reference letter really is:

A Reference Letter is an official letter, required by employers, written to endorse another person’s skills and personal attributes to get employment.

That means a referer should know how to write a reference letter correctly. Such letters usually focus on the applicant’s positive nature, for instance, how well the applicant can fit in an organization and their exemplary work performance.

There are different reasons that a referer will be required to write a reference letter for someone.

Here are some of these reasons:

  • A referer may have to write a reference letter for a candidate as part of the job application process in some companies.
  • A reference letter may also be required for school applications.
  • Professional organizations may also need a reference letter.
  • In other cases, like for lenders, landlords, or condo boards, a referer may have to craft this letter for an individual.

Note: A reference letter usually provides information, about the job applicant, from the perspective of an outside source known as the referer. This means that the referer should provide the recipient with details like the applicant’s traits, qualifications, skills, strengths, achievements and add a personal touch regarding the job they are applying for.

The referer should request the following information from the applicant to write a proper reference letter:

  • A recent résumé or Curriculum vitae
  • Work history
  • Professional experience
  • Voluntary work
  • Hobbies and
  • Achievements

Reference Letter Templates

Pre-built templates can provide you with greater ease when crafting a reference letter. Here is a collection of free downloadable templates for your ease.

copy of a reference letter

copy of a reference letter

Reference letter template with free download

Printable reference letter sample for free

Printable reference letter sample for free

Printable reference letter form for free

Downloadable reference letter template in Word Format

    Types of Reference Letter

    A referer must be aware of different types of reference letters to craft the letter appropriately.

    Here are some types of reference letters along with the respective reference letter samples a referer may be required to write:

    Free Professional Reference Letter Sample

    Professional reference letters

    The referer who writes such a reference letter is usually someone who knows the individual's accomplishments in relation to their work or profession. This letter describes the job position of the person, their abilities, skills, what they contribute to the company, and how long they have been working there.

    The referer can be a supervisor, colleague, or even a client. A professional reference letter is also referred to as a business reference letter.

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Free Downloadable Character Reference Letter Template

    Character/personal reference letters

    This type of reference is usually written by someone who knows the individual's personal traits that make them fit for a particular job position. The referer can be a mentor, neighbor, family member, or even a friend.

    This letter should provide information about the relationship of the referer and the applicant while discussing the attributes that make them outstanding in a place of work.

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Academic Reference Letter - Free Downloadable Sample

    Academic reference letters

    The referer for such a letter may be a professor, teacher, or even an advisor, as they are most aware of the individual's educational successes and academic background.

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Employment Reference Letter - Free Downloadable Template

    Employment reference letters

    Employment reference letters are usually written by employers of the individual, co-workers, vendors, or even clients. Such a letter must be crafted by a referer who knows the individual's past and current employment details.

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

      Sample Reference Letter - Free Format

      Job Reference Letter Format

      • A job reference letter outlines the values of a previous employee or professional contact.
      • A job reference letter is a great way to assist a current or former employee to secure a potential job opportunity.
      • A job reference is offered to a prospective employer as a way of assuring them that the candidate is the right person for a vacant position.
      • A job reference letter can be written by an employer, professional contact, teacher, or other trustworthy contacts.

      Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

      Free Sample of Business Reference Letter - Download

      Sample Business Reference Letter

      • A business reference letter can be used to reassure potential clients of the quality of a service provided by a business.
      • Reference letters for a business are often provided by long term clients, preferably in a trusted position.
      • A reference letter for a business should be professionally presented and clearly outline the qualities of the business.
      • A reference letter can be used as a powerful sales tool for securing further contracts.

      Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

      Free Downloadable Sample of Reference Letter

      Sample Reference Letter from Teacher

      • A reference letter from a teacher is crucial for students applying for a position.
      • Whether you are applying for a job or academic opportunity a reference for a teacher can go a long way.
      • If you are a teacher writing a reference for a student providing a quality reference letter can be one of the best ways you can help them with their future endeavors.
      • Furthering the goals of a great student can be made simple by providing a great reference.

      Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

      Free Employment Reference Letter - Template

      Sample Employment Reference Letter

      • Supervisors and managers are often called upon to provide references to employees who are looking to move on.
      • As part of a supervisory role, it is important to provide references to hard-working employees.
      • An employment reference letter may be the key to a candidate securing a position.
      • Employment history is one of the most crucial things to demonstrate when applying for a job.

      Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

      Reference Letter for Employment - Free Printable Template

      Sample Employment Reference Request Letter

      • Employment reference request letters allow employees ask for a written reference to pass on to a potential new employer.
      • Requesting a letter from an employer in order when applying for a new job is essential to securing the position.
      • Simplify the daunting task of asking for a reference with a reference request letter.
      • Making a written request for a reference is a great way to ensure that your request gets noticed and fulfilled.

      Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

      Sample of Work Reference Letter - Free Download

      Sample Work Reference Letter

      • Work reference letters convey the virtues and positive characteristics of an employee or contractor.
      • Working on several sites may mean that your reference letter needs to be approached in a slightly different way.
      • Contract work also requires quality references in order for a candidate to secure a position.
      • Providing a reference for people who have done work for you is a great way to continue a great working relationship and show gratitude for a job well done.

      Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

      Reference Letter for Scholarship - Free Download Available

      Sample Scholarship Reference Letter (From teacher to different institutes)

      • A student scholarship reference letter from a teacher gives a scholarship board information about the qualities of a student.
      • Recommending an excellent student for a scholarship is a great way to help the student achieve future success.
      • Offering reference letters for your student enhances student-teacher relationships enhancing learning.
      • A reference from a teacher can make or break a scholarship application.

      Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

      Landlord Reference Letter - Free Template for Download

      Sample Landlord Reference Letter (From Ex Landlord)

      • A landlord reference letter gives a landlord the opportunity to help a loyal tenant secure other accommodation.
      • A landlord who provides references will foster better relationships with tenants.
      • Show your gratitude to a great tenant by providing them with a helpful reference.
      • A reference letter may be essential to your former tenant securing new accommodation.

      Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

      Free Printable Interview Reference Letter - Download Now!

      Job Interview Reference Letter Format

      • An interview reference letter extols the virtues of a candidate who is seeking an interview.
      • An interview reference letter may help a job seeker to secure an interview which might not have been available to them otherwise.
      • Many employers will not consider applicants for an interview without a reference from a trustworthy source.
      • Letting a potential employer know why you are perfect for the job can be made easy by asking a teacher or professional contact to write an interview reference letter.

      Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

        How to Format a Reference Letter

        Since a reference letter is a formal letter, specific ways should be followed when formatting this type of letter. The style and format of this letter are also as essential as the content you will write.

        There are some main factors that a referer should always consider when formatting a reference letter before and after writing it.

        These main factors include:


        A reference letter should be concise and comprise about three paragraphs with main details about the candidate. The letter should be one page long as this length will provide clear reasons why a referer is endorsing that particular candidate.

        Shorter letters suggest that the referer does not know the individual well, while the recipient might avoid longer letters due to the many applications they have to go through.


        A referer should use a 1″ margin for the page’s top, bottom, left, and right. In addition, they should single-space the text and align it to the left. There should also be space between each paragraph. This manner of formatting makes the letter neat and easy to read.


        The best font types that are preferred in most formal letters include Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. A referer should use one of these fonts and maintain a font size of 10-12. This makes the letter easy to read. With the proper font and font size, the referer will have a one-page letter.

        How to Write an Reference Letter

        A referer who is sure about writing a reference letter for an individual looking for employment can follow the procedure below. These steps will help a referer write a proper and effective reference letter that will increase the job applicant’s chances of getting the job.

        These steps are:


        A reference letter is a formal letter and must always include a header.

        The header will contain the following information:

        • Your personal information: The referer’s personal details should be well-written in the header. This includes their official name, contact information, and address.
        • Date: The date on which the letter was written must also be clearly written in the header of this letter.

        Hiring manager’s contact information

        The recipient’s details must be included in the letter, including their full name, address, and contact information such as email address.

        Note: If as the recommender you choose to email the reference letter, your contact information should be written after your email signature. There is no need to write either the date or your contact information at the beginning of the letter.

        Also, a reference email letter must have a subject line that contains the name of the job candidate, the job position they are looking for, and the reason for writing the letter.


        After the header, the referer should include the salutations. They can choose to start the letter with “Dear Mr. /Ms. Last Name” if the referer knows the recipient’s name. If the referer does not know the recipient’s name, they can start with “Dear Hiring Manager.” These salutations are suitable for a candidate applying for a job.


        The first paragraph is the introduction and should be all about the referer introducing themselves and stating their relationship with the candidate.

        This should contain the following information:

        • Introduce yourself: The referer should start by introducing themselves, and this can be done by mentioning their title or position. This will help to show that the referer is qualified to write the reference letter.
        • Your relationship with the candidate: The referer should explain the nature of their relationship to the job candidate and the duration of time they have known each other. Again, this information should be specific and factual.


        The body is made up of usually two detailed paragraphs. These should contain the following information:

        • Match candidate’s qualifications with job requirements: The information here should be about how the candidate is qualified and how these qualifications will benefit the job position they are applying for.
        • Candidate’s skills and qualities: A referer should always include the candidate’s skills and positive qualities that make them fit for the job. The reference letter should have about three personal qualities that will make the candidate beneficial to the company.

          These positive skills and qualities include leadership skills, communication skills, efficiency, honesty, responsibility, loyalty, discipline, diligence, and many other skills and qualities. Examples of these skills and qualities are also important.


        The closing paragraph is important as it summarizes the information in the letter and can impact the recipient significantly, depending on how the referer writes it. Ensure that as the referer, the closing paragraph has more information about the applicant and is powerful.

        Here is what to include in the closing of a reference letter:

        • Close with a statement of recommendation: The final statement a referer should write is their endorsement of the candidate for the job position they are applying for. A referer should always declare their recommendation.
        • Include your contact details for follow-up: It is also important to include either your phone number or email address in the closing. This is necessary for contact purposes in case the recipient requires more information or has any pending questions.
        • Thank the recipient for their time and consideration: The referer should not forget to thank the recipient for considering the letter and taking their time to read it.
        • Signature and name: The final part of the letter includes the referee’s signature and full name. The referer can also include their title or position, but this is optional.


        Here is a reference letter template that a referer can use as a guide and example to write an effective, proper, and powerful letter:

        (Name of referer)


        (Contact Information)

        (Date of writing)

        (Name of recipient)


        (Contact Information)

        Dear (Mr. / Mrs. / Miss Name) or (Hiring Manager)

        I am pleased to endorse (name of applicant) for the (job position) in your company. I have known him for 4 years as he worked at XYZ Company. As his employer, I have interacted with him and watched him grow my business as he worked well, alongside his colleagues.

        (Name of applicant) is hardworking, diligent, and has a great dedication at work. He is willing to work for longer hours and help others complete their tasks so as to attain the day’s objective. His ability to work well with a team makes him a great leader. (Name of applicant) used to rally his colleagues and guide them on how to complete tough projects.

        It is really sad to see him go but I believe that (name of applicant) will be a great addition to your staff. He is charming, responsible, and loyal. He always delivers his work on time and that makes him a valuable employee. The best part about working with (name of applicant) is his adaptability to different situations. This is what makes him outstanding and profitable to any organization.

        I highly recommend (name of applicant) for the (job position) at your company. I believe that his skills and personal attributes are great assets to have in an employee. Please feel free to reach out to me on my (phone number) or (email address) for additional information.

        Thank you for your time and consideration in regards to (name of applicant)

        Best regards,


        (Name of referer)

        Reference Letter Examples

        Following are some free downloadable reference letter samples for you:

        Editable Reference Letter Template - Free Download

        Reference Letter Sample - Free Download

        Free Example of Character Reference Letter

        Reference Letter Template - Downloadable Word Format

        Editable Reference Letter Example for Free

        Editable and Printable Reference Letter Sample

          Sample Reference Letters

          Free Reference Letter for Co-worker - Downloadable Template

          Free Sample of Negative Recommendation Letter

          Free Downloadable Positive Recommendation Letter

          Professional Reference Letter - Word Format Template

          Recommendation Letter Template for Summer Worker - Free Download

          Professional Reference Letter - Free Sample

          Reference Letter for Promotion - Free Download

          Reference Letter for Employee - Free Downloadable Example

          Editable and Printable Reference Letter Sample

          Sample Reference Letter from Manager - Free Download

          Free Downloadable Sample of Reference Letter

          Sample of Reference Letter for Teacher - Download Now!

          Free Printable Reference Letter Template

          Sample Employment Reference Letter - Downloadable Template

            Sample Academic Reference Letters

            Free reference letter example in word format for student

            Printable academic reference letter sample for free

            Printable graduate school reference letter sample for free download

            Downloadable reference letter template for graduate school

            Editable reference letter from a teacher- Free Download

            Downloadable reference letter form from teacher

              Sample Reference Request Letters

              Reference Request Letter - Free Downloadable Sample

              Free sample reference request letter - Download now!

              Sample employment reference request letter - Download for free

              Sample employer reference request - Free Download

              Example of Reference Request Letter - Printable and Editable

                Tips for Writing a Great Reference Letter

                With the procedure and formatting style of the reference letter samples provided above in mind, there are some tips that a referer can use to make the reference letter great. With these tips, a referer can write a great reference letter that will make the job applicant stand out from the rest, increasing their chances of getting employment.

                Here are some of the tips a referer can use:

                Be positive  

                A referrer must be sure to write a positive reference letter. If they don’t feel sure, the best option is to refuse the request rather than write a vague and negative reference letter. It is important to know the person well to describe them and their traits in an exemplary manner. Avoid mentioning the candidate’s weaknesses and shortcomings. Instead, always stick with positive content in the reference letter.

                Follow business letter format

                A referer should constantly observe and maintain the business letter format when writing a reference letter. This can be achieved by mentioning your contact information, date, and details of the letter’s recipient at the top. However, if the candidate provides a form for you to write the letter, then the business letter format is not compulsory.

                Give context to each example

                It is important to provide examples that relate to the job candidate’s skills and personal traits. Therefore, a referer should always give specific examples in proper context, about two sentences, to help the letter’s recipient better understand the applicant. In addition, the referer can provide real-life scenarios that highlight the candidate’s qualities and relate to qualifying for the job position.

                Be concise

                A reference letter should always be brief and concise. Short letters are better since they are usually straight to the point and attract the recipient to read it to the end.

                Avoid private details

                Although a referer should include the applicant’s personal details, they should avoid writing private details in the letter.

                For example:

                Personal struggles and intimate issues should never be mentioned in the letter.

                A referer should always know where to stop when including personal details. Such private details will not help the candidate as they will overshadow their qualities and skills in front of their prospective employers.

                Be flexible

                A referer should always be flexible when writing a reference letter. That means that even though a referer is using a template to guide them in writing the letter, they should always use their voice and include what they believe is necessary for the candidate’s job application. A referer does not have to use everything mentioned in the template or be limited by it. Being flexible will help a referer write a powerful and effective reference letter.

                Be honest

                A reference letter should always be factual and truthful. That means that a referer must be honest and authentic when writing the letter. The examples, especially, must be real since some employers tend to follow up the information provided in the letter.

                Be targeted

                The referer should always write the reference letter based on the job position that the candidate is applying for. They should base the qualities, skills, and traits on the job position to ensure that their information is relevant.

                Proofread your letter

                The most important tip to ensure that you write a powerful reference letter is to always proofread and edit your letter before sending it. You can also ask for help to proofread the letter but always hide the candidate’s details for privacy. A letter with mistakes is viewed as unprofessional and might reduce the chances for the job applicant to get the job.

                Final Thoughts

                Employers usually request a reference letter as it helps them get to know their job applicants better. Therefore, a referer must write a reference letter highlighting the personal traits, abilities, skills, and abilities of a job candidate. If written in a positive tone and in a powerful manner, a referer might increase the chances of this individual getting employment.

                With this article, a referer can understand the procedure and format with the help of reference letter samples and tips they should observe to write an effective reference letter for any individual requesting them. However, a referer should only agree to such a request if they can relate to their qualities and have confidence in them.

                About This Article

                Haley S.
                Authored by:
                Resume Writing, Cover Letter Writing, Content Writing, Curriculum Vitae, Biographies
                Haley Sawyer has transformed the professional narratives of thousands, meticulously crafting resumes and cover letters that unlock the doors to their dream jobs. Whether it is sales, healthcare, or any other domain, Haley's expertise in creating ATS-compatible resumes always stand out in the crowd. Haley's portfolio spans a diverse range of industries: from Healthcare and Business to IT, Sales Leadership, and Engineering. She caters to professionals at all stages, from entry-level aspirants to seasoned C-suite executives. Beyond resumes, her services extend to cover letter writing, crafting compelling biographies, and content writing.

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