Writing A Referral Letter

Referral letters are written to recommend someone for a job or position. These letters are usually written by a person who has worked with the candidate in some capacity. The purpose of the letter is to provide an assessment of the candidate’s skills, qualifications, and character. If you’re asked to write a referral letter, it’s important to take the task seriously and provide an honest and thoughtful recommendation.

Tips for Writing A Referral Letter

Before you start writing your referral letter, it’s important to consider a few key points:

  • Make sure you know the candidate well enough to provide an accurate assessment of their skills and qualifications.
  • Speak to the candidate before you write the letter to get a sense of what they’re looking for and why they think they’re a good fit for the position.
  • Include specific examples of the candidate’s work or accomplishments to support your recommendation.
  • Keep the letter concise and to the point.

Example 1: Referring a Colleague for a New Job

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am writing to recommend John Smith for the position of Marketing Manager at your company. I have had the pleasure of working with John for the past two years at XYZ Corporation, where he has been an outstanding member of our marketing team.

John is a creative thinker and a skilled communicator, with a talent for developing innovative marketing strategies that drive results. He is also a natural leader who has a talent for bringing out the best in his team members.

I have no doubt that John would make a valuable addition to your team and I highly recommend him for this position.


Jane Doe

Example 2: Referring a Former Employee for a New Position

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am writing to recommend Sarah Brown for the position of Sales Manager at your company. Sarah worked for me for three years at ABC Corporation, where she consistently exceeded her sales targets and was a key contributor to our team’s success.

Sarah is an excellent communicator and has a talent for building strong relationships with clients. She is also extremely organized and has a track record of developing effective sales strategies that drive revenue growth.

I have no doubt that Sarah would be an asset to your team and I highly recommend her for this position.

Best regards,

John Smith

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I decline a request to write a referral letter?

If you don’t feel comfortable writing a referral letter for someone, it’s important to be honest and decline the request. You can simply explain that you don’t feel you know the person well enough or that you don’t feel comfortable providing a recommendation at this time.

What should I include in a referral letter?

A referral letter should include an introduction that explains your relationship with the candidate, a brief explanation of why the candidate is qualified for the position, and specific examples of the candidate’s skills and accomplishments that support your recommendation. You should also include a conclusion that reiterates your recommendation and offers your contact information if the recipient has any questions.

Should I address the referral letter to a specific person?

If possible, it’s always a good idea to address the referral letter to a specific person rather than using a generic greeting like “To Whom It May Concern”. This shows that you have taken the time to research the recipient and tailor your letter specifically to them.

How long should a referral letter be?

A referral letter should be concise and to the point, generally no more than one page in length. It’s important to include enough detail to support your recommendation, but you don’t want to overwhelm the recipient with unnecessary information.

What should I do if I can’t think of any specific examples to include in the referral letter?

If you’re struggling to come up with specific examples to include in the referral letter, try asking the candidate for more information about their work or accomplishments. You can also speak to other colleagues who have worked with the candidate to get a better sense of their strengths and qualifications.

Is it okay to include negative feedback in a referral letter?

No, a referral letter should always be positive and focus on the candidate’s strengths and qualifications. If you have any concerns about the candidate’s performance or suitability for the position, it’s best to decline the request to write the letter.


Writing a referral letter can be a valuable way to support a colleague, friend, or former employee in their job search. By following these tips and taking the time to create a thoughtful and honest recommendation, you can help the candidate stand out from the competition and increase their chances of landing the job they’re after.