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How to write an Employee Reference Letter

There are a few simple guidelines for writing an effective reference letter.

Firstly if you don’t feel comfortable writing the reference or don’t feel you can’t say anything positive about the person involved then its better to tactfully decline. It is far better for the individual to find another person who can provide a positive reference for them.

References should contain the following points –

  • Date
  • Name and address of recipient if known.
  • Salutation , for example, ‘To whom it may concern’, ‘Dear Sir / Madam’ or ‘Dear ‘Name’
  • Statement of Confidentiality – if written to a specific organization for a specific purpose rather than just a general reference. – optional
  • State the dates of employment, job title and capacity under which the individual was employed.
  • State any other details that may be relevant eg, salary, benefits – optional.
  • State the persons responsibilities – optional.
  • Confirm that the individual’s performance and attitude was satisfactory or exceptional.
  • Briefly describe the individual’s skills, talents, strengths – optional. Aim to be specific rather than vague.
  • Say that you would re-hire the person – optional
  • Offer to provide further information or provide your contact details for same – optional
  • Signature – Yours Faithfully or Yours Sincerely if writing to a named addressee.

It’s up to you how much information and detail you provide in the reference letter.

Be as factual and honest as you can and remember if you can’t say something nice about someone – don’t say anything at all.



Human Resources in the Workplace Document TemplatesIf you require other Documents or Forms for managing staff please see our Human Resources in the Workplace Document Template Package.