A reference letter is from someone who knows you well, like a former employer or teacher, who vouches for your skills, abilities, and character. It’s commonly required for a job or academic application and can help secure the opportunity you seek.
The time has come when your colleague or friend is leaving the current vocation or company to opt for a new job career. You are to be their reference and assist them with testimonials. How you can do it effectively, here are some tips:
7 Tips for a Good Reference Letter
1. Offer Yourself
Offer your support and say that you would be glad to refer them and would surely help with testimonials and endorse a good reference letter that would make him stand in good stead.
2. Study the Rulebook
Many companies have policies regarding references or how to endorse moving candidates. These policies ensure that the company does not have to face a lawsuit. The policies may vary from company to company. However, if there is no policy or details about the candidate’s role, contribution to the projects can be used. Prepare all the points beforehand.
3. Talk about the Positive Traits of the Candidate
When a hiring manager asks, speak about all the positive qualities you know about the candidate, including their performance and experience. Never talk about anything that might hamper the reputation. If you have any negative feelings for the person, politely decline the request for endorsement.
4. Concentrate on Relevant Points
Concentrate on the most relevant points and speak about any specific qualities you have seen in them. Take all the necessary information and see to it that nothing is missing. You can talk to the candidate if anything needs to be highlighted and focus on those points.
5. Put Down all these Points on the Paper
Make a draft of all the points in Word or Outlook so that you are ready with the points when you get the call or a reference email for the job.
6. Maintain Transparency and Authenticity
Be very truthful in what you are saying and speaking. Speak enthusiastically and authenticate with evidence on whatever you say about the candidate. But do not exaggerate about anything.
7. Offer to Write a Letter
Seek all the necessary information from the candidate. The information is about the job for which the candidate is applying, the name of the company and its hiring manager, or any other relevant data you should know about, including reference details from the resume. It is also equally important to collect the information that is relevant to the person.
After getting all the information, draft a preliminary reference letter.
What Does a Good Reference Letter Contain?
- A reference letter should be one or two pages long that contain all the information about the candidate and his role.
- Create a reference letter in three parts. The first paragraph is an introduction in which you describe yourself and your motivation for writing the letter. The third section is the main body, in which you discuss the candidate’s good character and conclude.
- Start with a brief introduction mentioning the candidate’s name, the position he is applying for, and the role he can play.
- Write about anything you know about the candidate’s exceptional qualities and how they differ from the competition. List their qualities and skills, especially their area of interest or reason for looking for a new job. Also, remember to reference the areas where you have the competency or prior experience. Write about the candidate’s abilities, academic qualifications, behavior towards colleagues, analytical abilities, and how they interact with others. This would allow the prospective employer to better understand the candidate and learn more about him.
- Highlight the key points you would like the potential employer to focus on. Make sure to elaborate very carefully on the points, but avoid repeating the same statement.
- Write about your qualifications and clearly state why a reader should show interest in your reference letter. Give your contact information to receive follow-up or for any further queries.
- Once the draft is ready, revise it to make it more authentic and correct it for any mistakes or any exaggerated words or sentences written. Make sure that the draft presents the candidate’s positive traits. You can read the letter louder to ensure that it sounds professional. And the information you have provided is per the company’s expectations.
- Edit the reference letter to correct mistakes, spelling, or punctuation marks, and make the letter readable.
Some more points:
- Be specific in your writing about the person, personal attitudes, interpersonal skills, contributions, growth, and performance.
- Be honest about what you are writing about the candidate, and do not exaggerate. Try to understand that there is a fine line between honesty and exaggeration. You would want to avoid it so that employers do not think your reference letter is deceptive.
- Mention how long your professional relationship has been with the candidate, the roles you performed together, and their contribution. Also, talk about how the person can be a valuable asset to the company. Substantiate your points with sufficient examples to authenticate their caliber.
- Make sure not to include any personal information about the candidate or write anything that could be biased.
- Do not mention any weakness that could draw a negative image in the hiring manager’s mind about the candidate and you.
A strong character reference letter strengthens the case of a candidate by making up for any weak points that the candidate might possess.
Directors or career services motivate the candidates to include their reference letters in the employment files to document their credentials and reference skills. On the other hand, potential employers/hiring managers often do the reference check and review the reference letters to verify their background.
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