Download Reference Letter Template for free

Reference Letter Template

If you have a leadership job title in your company, chances are that people request references from you all the time. The next time you get a request for a reference letter to your email address, you can use this reference letter/letter of recommendation template to get the job done quickly.

Getting regular requests for reference letters adds to your workload and having a template on hand ensures you’ll still be able to oblige when a deserving employee approaches you. Let’s take a closer look at how you can get your referencing game on using this professional reference letter template.

Here’s a sample Reference Letter template that can be easily customized and adapted to meet your requirements. This reference letter sample is free to download and use.

What’s a reference letter template?

First off, a reference letter, which is also called a letter of recommendation is used to endorse someone you know well. It’s often required when a candidate applies for a job, internship, or college.

The letter must be written by someone other than the applicant and it provides an overview of the applicant’s skills, abilities, and character. A letter of reference also highlights the relationship between the applicant and you, the person who’s endorsing them.

Now, a letter of reference template is a handy document that allows you to quickly come up with a glowing recommendation letter in a short space of time and with little hassle. Our reference letter template word or pdf document already contains the important bits and all you have to do is flesh it out with any relevant contextual information.

This template also works well as a character reference letter template. Typically, a character reference letter focuses more on the candidate’s personal attributes rather than their professional qualities. However, it also has the same purpose of giving potential employers insight into whether or not the candidate will be a good fit.

You can reference their leadership skills, mention if they're a team player, if they have a positive attitude and more. Besides relevant skills, these soft skills make for a compelling letter that will set your candidate apart.

The Basic Building Blocks of a Reference Letter Template

If someone has asked you to write them a reference letter and you’re not sure what to or what not to write about, then our reference letter template is the perfect tool to show you the way.

Generally, make sure you introduce yourself properly and explain your reasons for writing the letter. You don't need to know the typical business letter format to write a strong letter - our reference letter tips can help you out.

You must also spend some time detailing why you think the person deserves the position they’re applying for. Conclude by providing your contact information and inviting the company or institution to get in touch if they want more information. Here are in-depth details about the outline used in our letter of reference template.


This is a simple line that varies depending on whether or not you know the recipient’s name. If the name of the recipient name is known, you can include a salutation, such as Dear Mr. Smith. However, if the recipient is unknown saying “To whom it may concern” may suffice. Sometimes it’s also appropriate to skip the salutation.

However, great letters of recommendation are directed towards real people. If you want this recommendation for employees to really help out with their job application, go the extra mile to find the recipient.

First paragraph

Paragraph 1 sets the context for the reference letter. It explains how you’re connected to the person you’re endorsing and why you’re writing the letter. This section of the letter also explains your qualifications so the person understands why you are the best person to give the recommendation.

A glowing reference letter sets the stage and explains why the person writing is the right person to give key recommendations for the employee in question.

Second paragraph

Paragraph 2 of our reference letter template dives deeper into the attributes of the candidate. It focuses on their qualities, what they have accomplished, and any specific examples that support the named attributes and explain why they're an excellent employee and a valuable asset to a team.

It’s essential that you include the best anecdotal information you have on the candidate to help them stand out from the competition. Keep things short but don’t hesitate to use another paragraph if you feel that additional information is needed to give enough weight to the reference letter.

Third paragraph

Our reference letter template wraps things up in paragraph 3 with a final endorsement of the candidate’s skills in light of the job posting. It also states that you’re willing to communicate further with the recipient to provide any extra information that may be needed.

Include your phone number or applicable contact details, including a return address. At the end politely close the letter and then add your signature, name, and title.

How to get the most out of this reference letter template

Customize the template.

Fill in the candidate’s name and any other relevant information that gets rid of the gaps. Refresh your knowledge about the person so you know their exact title during the time when they were part of your team. Check any files that may offer useful notes about the candidate.

Make sure to reference any extracurricular programs if you're writing one for a student. For employees, mention the certification programs that will help them with the application process.

Give the template your personal touch.

Remember the template is just a guide. Write what you feel is important to increase the letter’s effectiveness. There are many different types of reference letters so try to make your both valuable and unique.

Don’t go overboard

While the general idea is to market the candidate’s skills, refrain from embellishing as this may raise red flags. Instead, focus on mentioning several qualities that best characterize the candidate and provide specific examples that support these qualities.

Don't go too far and wide explaining how they're a true team player and an all-around great person with a bright attitude. It will just sound cheesy.

Provide as much specific information as possible.

If possible, obtain as much information as you can about the recipient, so you can tailor the letter to any specific requirements.

Benefits of a Letter of Reference Template

It helps you maintain positive relationships

When you write a positive letter of reference for any employees who are planning on leaving, you’re showing them that you wholeheartedly approve and support their career progress.

Ending things on a good note with your top-performing staff means there’s always a chance that the employee may one day return to continue adding value to the organization.

However, keep in mind that you don’t have to write a letter of recommendation for every employer who asks. There are several reasons why you might be reluctant to pen a reference letter, including the fact that you don’t know them well enough, or you feel there’s not much positive information you can write about the candidate.

But for those employees who manage to win your favor, having a reference letter template can be a win-win situation for all parties involved. Give an accurate job description, detailing what they did and how, and with this personal letter, you can potentially win them back later.

It demonstrates your professionalism

While it’s sad to see some of your best employees go, it’s essential that you give them the support they need. If word goes around that you provide employees with top-notch reference letters, this can go a long way toward demonstrating your professionalism to your prospective pool of talent.

It also increases job satisfaction as existing employees will feel secure knowing their employer is willing to give them a leg up on the career ladder. With our simple and easy reference letter template, you can enjoy these far-reaching benefits and change your organizational culture for the better.

It improves your leadership qualities

Taking the time to sit down and write something positive about your employees helps you to focus more on the value your employees bring and it makes you a more appreciative leader. Also, when you have a handy template to simplify the process, you won’t have to turn down some requests because you’re too busy - a sample letter can help out a lot.

You will be able to easily come up with a letter that might change the course of another person’s life in no time. As a leader, there’s nothing more fulfilling than giving back to the same employees who helped move your organization forward.

The Bottom Line

Writing a letter of reference for someone is a huge responsibility that needs to be taken seriously. Our professional reference letter template helps you to impact people positively and change lives for the better. The best thing about having this template on hand is that you can achieve all this quickly, easily, while still being able to shape the template to fit your voice and intentions.

If you found this template useful #share it:

If you found this template useful #share it:

You may also like to check these out.

Explore the extensive resources compiled by experts in the field.


Employee Time Off Request Form

Streamline leave requests with our free employee time off request form. Facilitate formal employee requests for PTO, vacation, sick leave, and more.


Zero Hours Contract Template

Facilitate flexible hiring with our free zero hours contract template. Perfect for non-guaranteed work hours, ensuring clear and fair arrangements.


Employment Contracts Templates

Optimize your hiring process with our selection of free employment contracts templates. From casual worker contracts to zero-hour agreements.


We've got more awesome content!

See all posts

Focus on the fun parts of work!

Let Unrubble handle all your boring stuff.

Automate work schedule planning, work time tracking, pto management, and much more.

Start unrubbling for free
Unrubble's happy user

This website uses cookies, pixel tags, and local storage for performance, personalization, and marketing purposes. We use our own cookies and some from third parties. Only essential cookies are turned on by default.