Given how most recruitments today around the globe are conducted based on referrals, it is most likely that you will be asked to produce a reference letter at some point during the process. Therefore, knowing the correct way to address, frame, phrase, and write a reference letter, is absolutely imperative in the present scenario.

What is a reference letter and why is it important?

Before beginning to write a reference letter, it is essential to understand the purpose of writing one. Whether it is a new employment opportunity or a unique professional role, most recruiters ask for such letters after reviewing your CV and cover letter. To put it in simple words, a reference letter is a confirmation of the professional credibility and capability of an individual applying for such a position. Such letters are usually authored by individuals who may have closely worked with the person or who may have mentored the particular individual, for a certain duration and is truly aware of the skill sets possessed by the same person.

The basic purpose of a reference letter is to put forth a conclusive assertion as to why the author of the letter believes that the particular candidate will be a good fit for the role they are applying for. Since such a letter of recommendation might make or break the chances of an individual getting recruited by an organization or enterprise, it is extremely important to craft it with the utmost care and caution.

In case you have been asked to furnish a reference letter for a particular employee or an acquaintance, here is a list of pointers that you must keep in mind while you sit and pen down this vital note that will determine their success to some extent.
1. Adequate information is key

Even if you have known an individual for long, it is wiser to make sure that you actually have all the necessary information in place while you write a reference letter. Make sure that you do not miss out on any of the new skill sets that the person might have developed or a unique accomplishment that they may have recently garnered. Only an up-to-date reference letter will imply that you can truly vouch for the credibility of a particular candidate to fit in the role that they might be applying for.
2. A proper structure is non-negotiable

A recommendation letter that is well-crafted will bring in a sense of professionalism and will facilitate better articulation. A standardized format is an absolute must that should begin with proper salutation to the person concerned. The initiating paragraph should shed light on how you know the particular candidate and the association that you two have had in relation to a particular capacity or role. The following paragraph should incorporate specific details and qualifications about the person concerned to imply why they would make an ideal fit for the position that they are applying for. The concluding section should encompass your firm assertion that you sincerely recommend the particular individual for the position in question. Alongside, you should furnish details about your contact information so that the employer can reach out to you in case they have certain queries or if they seek to verify any of the details provided, in first person.
3. Emphasise on the key intent

It is important to remember that the objective of a reference letter is to ensure that the person concerned actually ends up getting hired or chosen by the recruiter for the opportunity that they have applied for. The very introductory paragraph should highlight that the purpose of writing the letter is to wholeheartedly recommend the particular person for the role. Also, mention your particular designation to enhance the credibility of your viewpoint. Feel free to read up a bit about the organization’s vision and objectives to illustrate how the capabilities and skill set of a person will be aligned to the requirements of the enterprise concerned.
4. Furnish particular instances and anecdotes

In order to convince the recruiter that you truly and adequately know the candidate concerned, it is necessary to provide details of such incidents and instances where you saw the said person performing admirably or handling crises remarkably while on the job. Such anecdotes will add weightage to your recommendation and ensure that the employer actually takes into account your affirmation as to how the aspirant will indeed make a valuable asset to the company, before making the final call.
5. Edit and revise before sending in

The reference letter that you send in must exude acute professionalism to ensure that your opinion about the candidate is truly taken into account. Reread, edit and revise multiple times to make sure that there are no spelling errors or misprints before you go ahead and send in the final copy to the recruiter.
6. Pay attention to minute technicalities

Since the reference letter is meant for professional purposes, it is imperative that you pay heed to technical details while you write a reference letter such as in terms of the choice of font as Times New Roman or Calibri at most. The letter should be well-spaced and should be a little longer as compared to usual formal applications. A considerable length will ensure that you do actually know the person so as to vouch for him or her. Alongside, it is also important to make sure that the letter remains concise and well-articulated in essence to duly communicate your approval regarding the person concerned.

A reference letter is no less than a detailed endorsement validating the credentials of an aspirant so as to ensure that they end up bagging the opportunity or occupational role they are applying for. Keeping these few pointers in mind while you write a reference letter will ensure that you actually further the chances of selection of the candidate through the letter that you send in, to their recruiter.