What is a Reference Letter?

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What is a reference letter? It's a letter that shares information on your skills, expertise and qualifications. A reference letter attests to the academic background, employment history, and/or personal characteristics of a person.

When You Need Reference Letters

You need reference letters, typically about three of them, when you you apply to jobs, internships, volunteer positions, colleges and graduate school programs.

A reference letter is a positive endorsement of your skills and attributes, written by someone familiar with your work, character, and accomplishments.

The reference letter explains why the reader should select you, and what qualifies you for the opportunity you're applying for.

Letters may be requested by the organization that is considering the individual for employment or acceptance at an institution, or they may be offered by the job seeker or applicant.

What is Included in a Reference Letter

A reference letter is a positive endorsement of your skills and attributes. It explains why the reader should select you and what qualifies you for the opportunity you're applying for.

A professional reference letter is usually written by a supervisor, colleague, client, teacher or professor that is well acquainted with your accomplishments in a work-type setting. It typically includes a description of your position and responsibilities, the duration of your time at the company, and your abilities, qualifications and contributions to the organization.

A character, or personal reference letter can be written by a family friend, mentor or neighbor who can attest to the traits that would make you a good candidate for the position you are seeking. It explains how the writer knows you and discusses your personal attributes as they would apply in a job setting.

How Long a Reference Letter Should Be

Most reference letters are 1 - 2 pages long, and are written by current or former employers, colleagues, clients, teachers or personal acquaintances. A reference letter should be written for a specific job or industry, and include the qualifications and accomplishments that would be relevant to success in the position.

Reference Letter Examples

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