Character Reference Letter Example and Tips

Young woman writing on computer
Hero Images / Getty Images

A character reference (also known as a personal reference) is a letter of reference provided by someone who can attest to your personality and character. Most often, a character reference is written by someone other than an employer, such as a family member, friend, or acquaintance.

The following is a character reference letter example written by an acquaintance. Below are also tips for both writing and requesting a character reference.

Character Reference Letter Example

To Whom It May Concern,

I have known Jane Doe in a variety of capacities for many years. She has been my daughter's riding instructor for the past several years. In addition, she is my partner in a small business where she is responsible for writing and editing articles and website content.

Jane is efficient and extremely competent. She often successfully finishes a task well before the deadline. She is extremely organized, and never misses a deadline or forgets an assignment.

Jane also has an excellent rapport with people of all ages. She has taught riding to both young children and the elderly, and every age in between. Her excellent communication skills (both written and verbal) allow her to connect with all kinds of people.

In summary, I highly recommend Jane for any position or endeavor that she may seek to pursue. She will be a valuable asset for any organization.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


John Smith

When to Provide a Character Reference

Some employers request character references in addition to letters of reference from former employers. These references give employers a sense of your personality.

Some job seekers choose to use personal references for their first job search, since they may not have any former employers.

Some people also use character references if they worry their bosses will not write positive references. Sometimes a strong character reference can help make up for a weaker employer reference, or a lack of employer references.

Tips for Requesting a Character Reference

Think carefully about who you want to ask to write a reference for you. Make sure you pick someone who knows you well enough to offer insight into your personality. Pick someone who you think will speak positively about you. You can ask a family member, friend, or neighbor. You can also ask a teacher, advisor, volunteer leader, coach, or business acquaintance.

Be sure to ask your reference as early as possible, so she or he has time to write the letter. Offer to send them your resume or update them on your life if they would like some more information. Afterwards, send them a thank you note to show your appreciation.

Here are more tips on how to ask for a reference.

Tips for Writing a Character Reference

When asked to write a character reference, only say yes if you can speak positively about that person’s personality and work ethic.

If you say yes, be sure to include a few key elements in your letter:

  • First, state your relationship with the job candidate, and how long you have known him or her.
  • The body of your letter should focus on one or two of the candidate’s strongest qualities or skills that you think will make them stand out in the job search. Try to support each claim you make about the person with a specific example.
  • At the end of the letter, provide any contact information that you feel comfortable sharing with the employer.

Be sure to thoroughly edit your letter before sending it. You also want to make sure your letter is thorough, but not too long.

Three to five paragraphs is enough – no more than one page.

Read some reference letter samples to get started on your own letter.

Read More: Character and Personal References | Employment Verification | Requesting References | Sample Letters of Reference | Will Employers Check Your References?

Find Your Next Job

Job Search by