How Do You Write a Letter of Personal Reference?


Quick Answer

Write a letter of personal reference by opening with a formal salutation, using the first paragraph to explain how you know the person, using the next paragraph to highlight that person’s specific positive qualities, using a summary paragraph to give an overall statement on the person and creating a concluding paragraph to share your contact information. Personal reference letters are typically written for individuals seeking employment or graduate education.

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Full Answer

A personal reference letter opens with a formal salutation to the reader. If the letter is addressed to a specific individual, it should greet her with a formal title. A general letter can use the generic “To whom it may concern.”

In the first paragraph of the letter, you should introduce yourself and explain how you know the person. This is also the time to give an explanation of your credentials and indicate why your recommendation matters.

The next paragraph should offer more specific details about the individual and what makes her qualified for a position. If you know the specific position or program the individual is applying to, you should explain what makes her a good fit.

The summary paragraph gives an overall explanation of the individual’s value and what she can bring to an organization or program. It should also offer an explanation of why you are recommending the person.

The final paragraph should let readers know you are available to offer further information. Include your phone number in this paragraph, and other contact information, such as an email address, in either the return address section or the signature section of the letter.

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