Remember: the aim of your reference letter is to convince the reader that your subject would be an asset to their professional environment. To that point, if you can’t write a glowing letter, the best thing to do is to politely refuse and recommend they approach someone else.
Keep in mind, your letter of reference should be specifically tailored to the subject’s unique personality and qualifications, as well as to the requirements of the job or the career path, as seen in our reference letter samples.
Be Specific: In a reference letter, it’s important to list the transferable qualities that make the subject of your letter a great asset to a workplace. Emphasizing their creativity or their ability to work in a team and/or individually can help the reader appreciate how the candidate can benefit their organization.
Be Focused: Tailor your reference letter to meet the needs of the opportunity the subject of your letter is seeking. Consider the exact requirements of the job your colleague or student is applying for and be sure to highlight any and all relevant experience that matches those needs, listing any specific training or achievements.
Be Sincere: When writing your reference letter, be sure to include only those qualities that you truly appreciate about the person. Overwriting your letter with exaggerated or overly flowery language may come off as insincere and do more harm than good.
Be Concise: Make a big impact by keeping your reference letter to the point, professional, and polite. Try and say everything you need to say in one or two well-crafted paragraphs. You'll find tone, length, and language suggestions in our reference letter samples.