Letters of recommendation from friends can help to obtain a club membership, lease on an apartment or a favorable decision in child custody cases or adoptions. They can also help land employment for those who lack work history or formal education.
Also known as character references or personal recommendations, these letters highlight various positive character attributes, such as interpersonal skills, which can be as important as hard technical skills in many kinds of jobs today. They can also be written by a neighbor, classmate, teacher, landlord, family member, co-worker, supplier, vendor or someone a person met while volunteering.
A positive character reference may swing the odds in one's favor, considering all other things equal, or when certain personal traits are high on an employer's wish list. When approaching a friend, one should first ask if that person would be willing to write the letter. The person should be sure to explain what the reference is for so the writer may customize the content to specific objectives. If the person refuses or is hesitant, it is best not to force the issue and approach another friend instead.
With electronic communications, the Internet and the proliferation of social and professional networking sites, character references are easy to solicit and give.