by WriteExpress Staff Writers
Write a thoughtful, sincere reference letter and help a friend! Say the wrong things and you're a goat!
- Explain how you know the applicant.
Why should he/she be considered over other people? How does he/she compare to other people you have known? Do not state weaknesses. If you can't write a positive letter of reference, you should respectfully decline .
- Give specific examples to back up what you have said about the person's qualifications and character.
letter. On the other hand, be succinct. Make every word count. Here is a rule of thumb: a letter of reference for employment should be one page; a letter of reference for school should be one to two pages.
The letter of reference represents both you and the applicant.
Reference Letter Tips
- Make sure you know the person and the person's capabilities. If you are a relative, you are not a good choice.
- Be sure to ask for enough time if necessary (7-10 days, if possible) to write the reference letter.
- Ask for their goals and advice on what you might write to help achieve those goals. Be specific; general praise is a waste of space. Don't be shy. A reference letter is a sales letter to sell another. Now is the time to brag!
- Ask for a review of your conversation. Get suggestions for your reference letter. You may need ideas to help you write.
- State your connection with the person you are recommending. why he or she is qualified and the specific skills the person has.
- Write only complimentary, yet factual, observations. Avoid unflattering or derogatory remarks. If you cannot do this, you should decline to write the letter.
- Remember that potential employers are good at 'reading between the lines,' and any negative implication may destroy a person's chance at getting the new job.
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