How to Write an
Employment Reference Letter

The employment reference letter is an important asset for any job-seeker. Job offers can be made or lost on the basis of employment references. For the employer it provides proof of the candidate's suitability for the job opportunity.

A job seeker can create a file of letters of recommendation that can be used at the job interview or when requested. Generally these will be followed up with a verbal employment reference check by the potential employer but they are very useful as a ready-made job reference when needed.

The reference letter template will help you to formulate an effective job reference letter. This Sample Reference Letter will also provide a practical guide to writing your own employment reference letter.

As an employer, you can adapt the employment reference letter template to fit the particular circumstances of the employee and target it to the job the employee is applying for.

Sample Reference Letter Template


Greeting

Your Name
Your Company
Your Company Address

Date

To Whom it May Concern

Dear Sir or Madam

Dear Mr Jones (if it is intended for a specific individual)

Paragraph 1

This outlines the reference's connection to the person they are writing about. It describes the length of time they have known the person and why they are qualified to comment on their abilities and performance.

As Sales Manager for XYZ Company, John Candidate has reported to me for the last three years in the position of Sales Agent

Paragraph 2

Outline the individual's position and responsibilities.

John was responsible for marketing and selling both new and existing company products to the local market. This included completing insurance applications, interpreting policies and explaining coverage and financing services to customers. John also provided quotes and organized payments.

Paragraph 3

Highlight the individual's qualifications, skills, abilities and accomplishments.

John is skilled in (list skills) and has demonstrated the following abilities in this job (eg. ability to handle pressure, manage time, organize and plan, communicate, work as a team member).

During the time that John reported to me I was impressed by his overall job performance and in particular by his ability to develop new accounts. His specific customer base grew by 15 percent during his time at the company.

I would describe John as a hard-working and proactive salesperson who was able to come up with new approaches to achieve his sales targets.

Paragraph 4

Sum up why you are recommending the individual in a few lines.

While understanding John's decision to leave our company his presence is sorely missed. He got on very well with his colleagues and was highly respected as both a person and a professional by management, his co-workers and customers. I can unreservedly recommend John for a sales position. He will be an asset to any employer.

Closing

The final paragraph should include an offer to provide further information and give your contact details.

If you have any further questions with regard to John's suitability please do not hesitate to contact me on (phone number or email address).

Sincerely,

Jack Jones
Sales Manager

Make the employment reference letter work for the job seeker. Discuss  the areas that need to be covered in the reference letter using the above example.

Sample employment reference letter that can be adapted for your own use.

Sample references for when you are asked for a reference after a lay-off

Basic letter of recommendation template when you want to write a quick and easy recommendation letter.

Find out how to write a personal or character reference at sample character reference letter

Character Job Reference

Personal Character Reference

Reference Check Questions

Reference Check Form

Sample Letter Requesting Reference

Get help with writing your employment reference letter using these resources:

12 Core Job Competencies

List of Work-Related Strengths

Job Interviews > Job References > Reference Letter Template

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