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How to Write a Reference Letter

Here are some quick tips to help you write a reference (recommendation) letter for a friend or co-worker.

Difficulty Level: average        Time Required: 30 minutes


Here's How:
  1. Start by identifying your relationship with the person for whom you're writing the reference letter.
  2. State how long have you have known or worked with the person.
  3. Picture the person in his or her job role.
  4. Point out a variety of positive traits while focusing on work ethics, accomplishments, skills, and significant contributions (use specific examples).
  5. If for business reasons you're sorry to see this person go, say so.
  6. Avoid vague, powerless words such as nice, good, fine and reasonable.
  7. Use words such as excellent, superior, instrumental, creative, innovative, efficient, dependable, articulate, meticulous, self-starter and confident.
  8. Start wrapping it up with a recommendation to hire.
  9. Offer to provide more information.
  10. State the best time and place the recipient can reach you.
  11. Proofread your reference letter and make corrections.
  1. If you don't feel comfortable writing a reference letter, don't. A vague or fabricated letter might do more harm than good.
  2. Type your reference letter in a standard business format.
  3. Keep it brief.

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