A reference letter praises a person's personality, educational background and work experience. It helps show that the person would be a great addition to a business or academic program. Anyone can write a reference letter, but people of significant standing hold more power to sway hiring managers and admission staff.
When writing a reference letter for a person, refer to that person's professional skills, academic achievements and character. Focus on traits that are relevant to the profession or academic field that the person is applying for. For example, a current employer may talk about his worker's organizational skills and financial expertise if the worker is looking for another employment in a financial environment. For a student applying for university scholarships, a referring teacher can extol his student's aptitude and proficiency in specific subjects. Describe the referred person's virtues and support these claims with compelling facts and anecdotes.
Coordinating with the person requesting a reference letter is important. This helps tailor the content of the letter so that it meets the needs of the requester. Faults and weaknesses can be included in the letter, but the letter must also show how the person has overcome these negative traits and turned them into strengths. Like other formal letters, a reference letter needs to be free of spelling and grammar errors. A poorly written reference letter may cause the person to lose a great job or academic opportunity.