There comes a time in everyone’s life, when they may be requested to write a letter of reference for some one. This someone may be a friend, student or even an employee. If you are wondering how to write a reference for a friend, then you should continue reading further.

The following is everything that one may need to know regarding writing a letter of reference in a way that is the most effective.

11 Steps on How to Write a Reference for a Friend


Know the Conventions for Writing a Standard Formal Letter

Like all the professional communications, the reference letter too has to follow some general rules, as well as, guidelines. The address must always be written top right part of the letter. This should be followed by date on which the letter was written (spell out the date).

Follow this up with the recipient’s name and the address on the left. Once all of this is done with, the letter should begin with a greeting that is absolutely formal, like Dear Sir/Madam or Dear Mr. Smith, if you know the name of the recipient. This is very important when you are wondering on how to write a reference letter for a friend.


Write the Lead

When you are looking for tips on how to write a reference for a friend, always remember to never jump directly to the recommendation part. Always begin these kinds of letters with describing how you met the person that you are writing the letter of recommendation for. Also mention how you know this person you are recommending. This helps the person especially if he/she is your peer or works under you.

While writing the letter, it is better to mention your professional position as well. The better you are placed at work, better are the chances of the friend that you are helping out.


Specify the Qualifications of the Candidate

Instead of just mentioning the general characters of the person, it will always help if you write about the qualifications that the candidate possesses. When we say qualifications, it does not mean just the academic qualifications, but also the position that the person held in his/her office. If you are a peer at work or a senior, then you should add how the person’s presence at the office helped the company, and also how well the candidate did their duties.

Do not generalize the qualifications of the candidate, but specify. However, it is also a bad idea to go in great detail. Always remember this, while thinking of how to write a reference for a friend.


Make Comparisons

Everyone who has applied for a job some place would like to show everything that they have accomplished at their previous workplace. In order to help your friend get an edge over the others, it would be a great idea if you showcase some comparisons.

For instance, you can show how the person who is being recommended helped complete a particular project, faster than anyone else has, or that he/she completed it with fewer people on board.


Never Exaggerate

We all understand that you would like to help your colleague or friend in any way possible. But exaggeration is definitely not the way to go. Stick to the facts, because going overboard with the praises may reduce the chances of your friend getting hired anywhere at all. This is the best tip you can get regarding how to write a reference for a friend.

In case your exaggeration does help them out, by doing so, you are setting the bars a little too high. After getting hired, they will be expected to showcase the very same qualities which were mentioned in the recommendation letter.

Although we do like to mention all the positive things there are about the person, do not hide their Achilles’ heel either. Again, as with the good things, do not exaggerate with this either, but simply mention it.


Avoid Being Vague with Your Recommendation

The best way of portraying the positive qualities, as well as, the shortfalls is by being direct. Write everything in a clear and direct tone. This is a much better way of helping them out, instead of taking the long way around, while showcasing the authenticity of the recommendations.

Beating around the bush, if anything, will work against the person you are writing the recommendation letter for.


Do Not Be Too Brief

While writing a reference letter, remember this is an official letter, and hence, it is expected to be written in a professional manner and you are expected to stick to the point. However, being extremely brief may not help either. If the person reading the letter sees, that the letter actually is just a short note written using a couple paragraphs, then it will lead them to thinking that the letter is short because you do not have much to say about the person. Remember to never keep rambling about the skills the person possesses. Try to finish the letter in about a page.

If you keep rambling on and on, then the reader will lose interest and the letter will be of no help whatsoever. Keep this in mind, when you are wondering on how to write a reference letter for a friend.


Try to Make It Active

The person that you are writing the letter of recommendation for will have increased chances if you open the letter with a punchy line. An active affirmation, which outlines the qualities and characters of the person, will help him a great deal in landing the job. Try to give the reader a positive outlook on the person. Make the letter enthusiastic and filled with energy, and never make it boring.

As already mentioned, stick to finishing the letter in a single page. In your attempt to affirm the qualities of the person, do not go overboard and write a lengthy letter. Always remember this while trying to figure out how to write a reference for a friend.


Close Affirmatively

Once you have put in everything that is needed, reiterate the recommendation that you are writing for the candidate. If it seems to be appropriate then you can always ask the reader to contact you for further confirmation of the qualities of the person.

You can close the letter with something that goes like, ‘If you have any further questions to ask about MR. XYZ, then please feel free to contact me anytime at the number that has been mentioned above’.

This will reaffirm the fact that you truly believe in the person’s capabilities. However, as already mentioned above in several instances, do not push it overboard. This is a very important tip to remember on how to write a reference letter.


Sign Your Name with a Business Closing

Everything can go wrong; if you have written the most formal letter you could ever write and end up singing it informally. Every time that you close a recommendation letter, use closing lines like ‘Thank You’, ‘Best Regards’, ‘Sincerely’ or others like these.

It is very important to sound completely professional from start to finish in this letter. Always remember that this letter can make or break someone’s chances to get accepted into a particular place. Hence, try to make sure that you letter helps them in every possible manner by sticking to writing a professional letter. This is very important to remember when you are thinking of how to write a reference for a friend.


Get a Feedback

Writing a letter of recommendation can be a difficult thing to do, largely because a lot is at stake. Hence, if you are not very sure about your skills in letter writing then ask a colleague or a friend to look into it and suggest changes that may need to be done.

Remember, that this letter no just puts the reputation of your friend or colleague’s on the line, but yours as well. So, you would always want to make sure that it is best letter you have ever written. Remember these guidelines on how to write a reference letter.


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