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60 Reference Letter Samples & Templates – Tips, Format & Templates (Free Word Doc)

A reference letter is frequently requested as part of the application process for jobs, college admission, and scholarships. The letters are meant to be written by someone other than the applicant to the person or body that requested the reference letter. It could be a company, university, or group. These letters are usually signed documents describing the applicant’s performance, work ethic, skills, education, abilities, leadership, ambitions, and character. It is good to understand the differences between a reference and recommendation letter.

Format for writing a letter of reference:

  1. Start with a formal salutation and introduction: Address the letter to the recipient by name, if possible. Introduce yourself and your relationship to the person you are providing the reference for.
  2. Describe the person’s qualifications: In the body of the letter, describe the person’s qualifications, skills, and accomplishments. Use specific examples to support your statements.
  3. Discuss the person’s character and work ethic: Explain why you think the person is a good fit for the opportunity they are seeking. Discuss their character, work ethic, and any other relevant personal qualities.
  4. Provide your personal experience: Share any personal experience that you have had with the person, including any interactions that demonstrate their skills or character.
  5. Provide your contact information: Include your contact information in case the recipient has any questions or needs further information.
  6. Close with a positive statement: End the letter with a positive statement about the person and your recommendation.

Remember to tailor your letter of reference to the specific opportunity the person is seeking. Use strong and positive language to help the person stand out and highlight their qualifications and strengths.

Tips for writing a letter of reference:

  1. Be specific: Use specific examples to support your statements about the person’s qualifications and character. This will help the recipient get a better sense of the person’s strengths and abilities.
  2. Use strong and positive language: Use strong and positive language to help the person stand out and highlight their qualifications and strengths.
  3. Be honest: Don’t exaggerate or make false claims, as this could harm the person’s chances of success in the opportunity they are seeking.
  4. Focus on the person’s relevant qualifications: Make sure to focus on the person’s relevant qualifications and experience as they relate to the opportunity they are seeking.
  5. Tailor the letter to the opportunity: Customize the letter to the specific opportunity the person is seeking. This will show the recipient that you have taken the time to write a thoughtful and personalized letter.
  6. Keep it concise: Keep the letter concise and to the point, but make sure to include all necessary information.
  7. Proofread: Make sure to proofread the letter for spelling and grammar errors before sending it. A well-written and error-free letter will be more effective and professional.

Remember that a letter of reference can greatly impact a person’s chances of success in their career or academic pursuits, so take the time to write a thoughtful and well-written letter that accurately represents the person’s qualifications and character.

The remainder of this article provides details on how to write a reference letter and samples and templates of reference letters for different applications.

How To Write A Refence Letter

Samples and Templates of a Reference Letter

To write a good and acceptable reference letter for official purpose or otherwise, the follow steps rules should be followed.

The introduction, body paragraph(s), and conclusion make up the three sections of a reference letter. Although some reference letters are written haphazardly, most letters adhere to a specific format and should be written in a professional tone. The content can be more detailed depending on how long the writer has known the person they are writing the reference for, most often referred to as the candidate. The length of a reference letter, however, is less important than its content. The letter should also be written to serve as a persuasive argument in favor of the candidate. To this effect, the letter should highlight the candidate’s qualifications and personal characteristics. Below are further explanations on the steps of writing a reference letter and what the three sections of a reference letter should contain.

 Step 1 – Introduction

The first paragraph should introduce the candidate and the writer, their relationship and the length of that relationship. It should also include the position for which the candidate is applying and the reasoning for the writer’s reference.

Step 2: Write the Body Paragraph (s)

A reference letter’s body paragraph(s) is where the writer details the applicant’s skills, qualifications, and accomplishments. The writer should provide enough examples to back up these claims, assuring the reader that the letter comes from a credible source who can attest to the applicant’s eligibility. The number and length of paragraphs will vary depending on the type of letter, but the main goal is to form a convincing argument on behalf of the candidate in as many words as necessary.

A reference letter is typically used for a specific purpose, and it is up to the writer to determine its purpose. The referral can then include the applicant’s strengths and skills relevant to that particular line of work, the field of study, etc.

Step 3 – Conclusion

The conclusion paragraph should summarize the writer’s final thoughts about the applicant’s qualifications and reiterate their support for the applicant. Unless otherwise specified, the writer should include a way for the reader to contact them if they require additional information. The writer’s contact information can be included in the conclusion paragraph, on the letterhead, or after the signature. Some letters of reference require more precise formatting, but it is customary to use a formal-sign off and include the writer’s signature, name, and contact information at the bottom.

Sample 10 – For a Teaching Job


Dear (Title, last name)

I have the pleasure of referring Mr. David Lawson for the music teacher position at Beaverton High School. As principal of Douglas Elementary, I have witnessed David’s contributions to the school firsthand, and finding a replacement for such a dedicated teacher will be difficult.

Our school has recently experienced budget cuts, and some programs will have to be reduced or eliminated from the curriculum. We have an extensive music program, to which David makes significant contributions, but this is one of the areas that must be condensed. Mr. Lawson will now be looking for other work because the head of the music program will be teaching all of the classes. This is in no way a reflection of his abilities as a teacher; it is simply an unfortunate circumstance that has resulted in the loss of a highly skilled educator.

David began working at Douglas Elementary in 2008. The music classes we offer were initially quite general. Still, David dedicated time and energy to expanding the program to include more options for students who are more serious about pursuing music as a career. He added new classes to the curriculum and spent countless hours working with smaller groups of students, even offering one-on-one lessons after school. David’s musical expertise, as well as his organizational skills, will undoubtedly benefit whatever school is fortunate enough to have him.

David is, without a doubt, one of the children’s favorite teachers. As I make my rounds around the school, I stop by Mr. Lawson’s classroom and am always amazed at how engaged the students are in his classes. His teaching style is lively and captivating. The kids always seem eager to finish their other classes so they can play music with Mr. Lawson. He quickly establishes rapport with his students, but he also takes the time to listen to their parents’ concerns or comments. On more than one occasion, parents have approached me to thank David for his positive impact on their child’s education.

David has boundless patience, and his love of music is well-known. His enthusiasm will be missed at Douglas Elementary, but we are confident that his experience will be valued if he is accepted into your faculty. If more information about Mr. Lawson’s application is required, I would be happy to provide it.

Best Wishes

Rolland Doe

Principal of Twin Bridge College

(421) 229-87039

Sample 20 – For a Cooking Job

December 19th, 2008

Dear Abigail Marshal,

I am writing to express my support for Mr Donald Dang’s application for the open cook position at Rest Ville. During my eight years as a supervisor at Randon Restaurant, I have seen many cooks come and go, but Mr Dang stands out as one of our most valuable employees to date.

Mr Dang was hired in 2015, and, despite having no prior experience, he quickly learned the methods and techniques. He is efficient, organized, a fantastic team player, and an incredible multitasker. He brings a lot of energy to the kitchen and keeps the atmosphere upbeat.

We have a lot of turnover in the kitchen, but Dang has been extremely loyal and trustworthy. Dang has always come to my rescue when a cook fails to show up. He also assists in training new employees, ensuring they are at ease in our kitchen.

I strongly advise hiring Dang as a cook in your fine establishment. He is driven, inventive, and has a keen eye for detail. I am sorry to see him go, but I am confident he will approach his next job with the same zeal. If you have any further questions, please call me at (660) 911-4190.


Harry Randon

Back of House Supervisor

Sample 30: Customer Service Representative


Re: Reference for Susan Adams

Dear Hiring Manager:

Susan Adams’s enthusiasm, communication skills, and professional demeanor initially impressed me when I hired her four years ago as a customer service rep in Callout Inc. call center. Susan consistently demonstrated all these qualities and more during the two years she reported to me (I have since moved on to a different department), and I wholeheartedly recommend her for any customer service position.

Susan is dependable, dedicated, and always cheerful. Her ability to calm angry or frustrated customers is unrivaled, and it is because of her skill in this area that I have repeatedly asked her to mentor new call center employees. Susan multitasks well and can handle a large volume of work. Her weekly call center metrics (including customer satisfaction, call volume, and response time) were consistently met or exceeded, and her daily written reports were accurate and thorough.

As a former call centre manager, Susan’s enthusiastic embrace of change, team player mindset, ability to work with minimal supervision, and unwavering commitment to exceeding customer expectations were particularly valuable to me. Customers frequently expressed their appreciation for Susan’s exceptional level of service, professionalism, and follow-through.

Sharon, who is organized and diligent, quickly learned unfamiliar technology systems and software when she first started with Callout Inc.. She also attended optional professional-development seminars offered by the company. She is taking evening classes at DEF Community College to earn an associate’s degree in business.

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Susan is a dedicated and high-performing customer service representative. She has my highest referral, and I am happy to provide more details if you require them.


Caroline Ather

Call Center Director

Callout  Inc.

(674) 663-7291

Template 10:  Reference Letter From Professor


[Full Name]


[School Name]


[City, State, Zip Code]

Dear [Mr./Ms. Last Name]:

I am writing to express my support for [Mr./Ms. Full Name] and his/her desire to study at [University Name] for the [Program Title] program. Despite the fact that many students ask me to make this request on their behalf, I only refer students who I believe are well-suited to the program of their choice. [Mr./Ms. Last Name] is one of those students, and I strongly suggest that [he/she] be granted admission to your university.

I work with many students who have extensive knowledge of [Subject] as [Professor’s Title] of [Professor’s Department] at [University Name]. [Mr./Ms. Last Name] has consistently demonstrated such a strong desire to learn [subject] that I could not refuse [his/her] referral request.

I first met [Mr./Ms. Last Name] during the [Season and Year] semester in my [Course Title] class. [Mr./Ms. Last Name] received an [Grade] in the class, compared to the class average of [Class Average]. [Mr./Ms. Last Name] was evaluated on [explain the basis for grades, e.g., exams, papers, etc.] and performed exceptionally well.

[First Name] is a remarkable individual with a strong personality. [He/she] is capable of achieving outstanding results in a wide range of fields. [First Name] is/has [list of positive characteristics/skills, such as organized, motivated, and so on]. I’ve seen incredible results on complex projects with meticulous attention to detail and where quality was never compromised. Furthermore, [he/she] has a very positive attitude and truly enjoys learning everything there is to know about.

Though [First Name] has consistently outperformed in all areas of [his/her] coursework, a [paper/presentation/project/etc.] on [Work’s Title] provided the best example of [his/her] intelligence. By demonstrating [embellish here], the work demonstrated [his/her] ability to deliver a clear, concise, and well-thought-out presentation with a new perspective.

[First Name] volunteered at [Club or Organization Name] in addition to [his/her] coursework. [His/Her] job required [him/her] to [list of responsibilities]. Volunteering, he/she believed, was an important leadership role in which [he/she] learned [list of skills]. Volunteering has provided [First Name] with skills that will be useful in all of [First Name’s] future endeavors.

[First Name] can manage and organize [his/her] time and schedule so that it does not interfere with school. [His/her] experience at [Name of Club or Organization] provided [him/her] with the aptitude required for graduate school and a career in [name of career].

[First Name] is destined to be a leader in [type of field] and is thus an excellent candidate for your school, in my opinion. I strongly advise you to consider [his/her] application because [he/she] will be a valuable asset to your program. I’m confident you’ll find [him/her] to be a student whose abilities will shine even brighter as you progress through your graduate program. I hope you will admit [his/her] to your university.


[Professor’s Name]

[Professor’s Title]


Template 20:  Letter of Recommendation – (specialty) Residency Program

RE: Letter of Recommendation for [Candidate]

Dear Program Director:

I am writing this recommendation letter with genuine enthusiasm. As an assistant professor in the Department of (specialty), I have had numerous interactions with [Candidate]. When [Candidate]applied to work with me on a summer research project, we first met. During that summer, we surveyed medical students to assess preceptor behaviors that students observed and found contradictory to what they had been taught in the pre-clinical years. [Candidate] was a valuable member of our team who was enthusiastic about her work. I was very impressed by her ideas and understanding of research topics. She quickly mastered the somewhat complex SPSS software data entry and analysis system and created an extensive database. She also conducted interviews and contributed to the analysis of qualitative data. She delivered an excellent presentation to our faculty board on our findings.

I have also had clinic sessions with [Candidate] over the last two years. Her most recent elective was a month at our rural clinic in [Name of the rural clinic], Missouri. She is very good at gathering information during a history and physical exam and has proven to be very good at developing a differential diagnosis and treatment plan. She is brilliant and well-read. She communicates well with patients and can quickly establish a rapport.

As evidenced by her CV, [Candidate] is very involved with several medical student organizations and has demonstrated excellent leadership in these capacities.

[Candidate] is the best medical student I have ever worked with. She is highly professional, courteous, motivated, enthusiastic, and caring. She will be an enormous asset to the family medicine residency that has the honor of employing and training her.

I wholeheartedly support [Candidate] and strongly recommend her for your (speciality) residency program.

Sincerely yours,




Template 30: Business Letter of Reference


[To Whom It May Concern][Dear _______]:

It gives me great pleasure and honor to recommend CANDIDATE for a position with your company. I have worked closely with CANDIDATE for ______ [number of years] years in my capacity as ____________________ [title] at _________________[company]. ____________________________________ [describe responsibilities]. CANDIDATE has proven to be a hardworking and responsible individual during [his/her] time here, and I am delighted to provide this letter of recommendation on [his/her] behalf.

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I have seen tremendous growth in CANDIDATE during [his/her] employment and am confident that the skills and abilities [she][he] has developed will enable [him/her] to excel in any job. CANDIDATE’s exceptional business, management, and communication skills qualify [him/her] to serve as a ________ [describe position applying for] with your company.

I have managed CANDIDATE in stressful and complicated projects requiring high levels of intelligence and understanding: [he/she] met every challenge, deadline, and goal thrown at him/her and tackled every problem with grace and ease. Many of the solutions proposed by CANDIDATE were insightful and practical, and [he/she] demonstrated a remarkable ability to divide significant problems into manageable chunks. [His/Her] creative ideas and solutions increased our company’s profits and efficiency, and [he/she] contributed significantly in other areas.

CANDIDATE was a valuable individual asset to our company and a cooperative and attentive team player. Our other employees were consistently inspired and motivated by [his/her] actions. [He/She] recognized when colleagues were confused, lost, or off-track and brought them back on track without judgment. [He/She] was also aware of schisms forming during group projects, and his/her management abilities reunited teams without making either side feel defensive or alienated.

Over the years I have known and worked with CANDIDATE, I have developed a deep admiration for both [his/her] work ethic and problem-solving abilities. I am confident that CANDIDATE would be a valuable addition to your company, and [he/she] has my highest recommendation. [If you have any additional questions about [his/her] background or qualifications, please contact me at the number listed below.]






Template 40

Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. [Last Name],

It gives me great pleasure to recommend [Name] for the position of [position] with [Company].

For [length of time], [Name] and I [relationship] at [Company].

I had a great time working with [Name] and learned that [him/her] is a valuable asset to any team. [He/she] is trustworthy, dependable, and extremely diligent. Aside from that, [he/she] is a fantastic [soft skill] who consistently [result].

Our entire office benefited greatly from [his/her] knowledge of [specific subject] and expertise in [specific subject]. [He/she] used this skill set to [specific achievement].

[Name] has always been an absolute pleasure to work with, in addition to [his/her] undeniable talent. [He/she] is a true team player who consistently fosters positive discussions and brings out the best in other employees.

I wholeheartedly recommend [Name] to join your team at [Company]. As a dedicated and knowledgeable team member and an all-around great person, I am confident that [he/she] will be an asset to your organization.

If you would like to discuss [Name qualifications ]’s and experience further, please contact me at [your contact information]. I would be elaborate to elaborate on my recommendation.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Template 50


[Recipient Name]




[City, ST ZIP Code]

Dear [Recipient]:

This reference is being written at the request of [Name], who is applying for a position at [Company Name]. [Name] has worked in [roles] with me at [Company Name] for [number of years].

I would like to highlight some of [Name’s] strengths. He possesses exceptional technical abilities. For instance, [insert specific example]. [Name] is also a quick learner. [Increase your strength.]

Finally, I would strongly recommend [Name]. If his performance in my [work group] indicates how he will perform in the available position, [Name] will be a massive asset to your company. If you require additional information, please contact me at [telephone] or [email address] at any time.


[Your Name]


Template 60

{Your address}

{City, State, Zip}



{Recipient’s address}

{City, State, Zip}

Dear {Name}:

I am writing to strongly recommend ___________ for your National Honor Society program. I have taught _____________ for the past ________ years. I can attest to his academic commitment and his role as a valuable member of volunteer work, extracurricular activities, and community functions.

________ is a fantastic student who frequently brings insightful questions about the material to me after class. More than just getting the work done and out of the way, he strives to comprehend and apply the material in everyday life. He is always on time and insightful with his work, and he frequently contributes in class. He has received numerous awards for _________ and will apply for scholarships in _________ and ___________ when he applies to college next year.

Aside from academics, ____________ is also talented in singing and acting. He frequently appears in school and community musicals and plays and volunteers as a senior centre performer. His dedication to art and providing entertainment for others is inspiring and commendable. I can think of no better way to honor such work than to welcome him into your community.






Writing an effective recommendation letter would necessitate both thought and time. Before you begin writing the letter, it is essential to spend time with the candidate to discuss their objectives and goals. You can also use the reference letter samples and templates provided in this article to save time and effort.