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How to Write a Reference Letter For an Employee in 2024 (With Templates & Samples)

Updated: Jun 28

Writing a solid reference letter for a colleague or former employee can significantly boost their job prospects. You can vouch for their skills, experience, and character, highlighting the value they would bring to a new role.

Studies show that including reference letters increases callback rates by 61% and helps employers select the most capable candidates. Your reference letter can benefit both your colleague and their potential employer.

Additionally, reference letters can positively impact salary negotiations, resulting in an average increase of 7-12%.

Need tips to get started? We’ve got guidelines and three useful sample templates for you below.


What Should an Employee Reference Letter Say?

Employee Reference Letter

When writing an employee reference letter, it's essential to detail your identity and professional relationship with the individual. Are you their former employer, manager, or colleague? What kind of work experience do you share with them, and how well do you know their skills and performance?

The content of your letter will vary depending on whether it's a general reference letter or a specific recommendation letter. While some use these terms interchangeably, others see recommendation letters as tailored for a specific position, while reference letters are more general.

Regardless of the type, your letter should highlight the person's experience, professional qualities, and positive traits. For a recommendation letter, tailor your content to the specific role, emphasizing relevant skills, experience, and characteristics that will enhance their application.

Before you start writing, have a conversation with your former employee. Ask about any milestones or achievements they’d like you to mention. This will ensure your letter is both accurate and impactful, making it more likely to resonate with potential employers.


Tips for Writing an Effective Employee Reference Letter

Letter of Recommendation for Employee Templates

When writing a reference letter for an employee, it's essential to follow proper formatting and include personalized content. Here are key guidelines:


  • Proper Format: Start with your contact details, personal information (name, job title, address), and the date. Address the recipient with a salutation, write the body, and conclude with your name and signature. Check our sample templates for reference.

  • Professional Relationship: Mention your relationship with the person, detailing whether you were a colleague, line manager, or employer, and how long you've known them.

  • Contact Information: Include your email and/or work number, and encourage the recipient to reach out for further information.

  • Highlight Their Strengths: Emphasize the employee's skills and experience, explaining why they would be a great fit for the new role.

Following these tips is crucial, especially since around 80% of hiring managers have changed their decision based on positive reference letters.


3 Instant Employee Reference Letter Templates

Employee Reference Letter

Prepare to craft your employee reference letter with the help of three inspiring templates. While you can use these as a foundation, remember to customize each letter to suit the specific role and incorporate personal anecdotes for a unique touch.


Former Employee Reference Letter For Employee


Dear [Recipient's Full Name],


I am delighted to recommend [Candidate's Full Name] for a position within your esteemed company. [Candidate's Full Name] served as [Job Title] in our organization from [Start Date] to [End Date].


Throughout [Candidate's First Name]'s tenure, they consistently showcased exceptional{list skills and qualities}. Their expertise and adept team management skills significantly contributed to our achievement of [Specific Milestone] within the designated timeframe.


[Candidate's First Name] excels in communication and interpersonal abilities, fostering strong relationships with both our team members and clients. Their proficiency in{insert specific quality} is truly commendable.


[First Name] consistently exceeds expectations in their assignments, demonstrating a proactive approach and a willingness to support others. Their meticulous organization, accountability, and impeccable track record of meeting deadlines are noteworthy. As responsibilities evolved, [Candidate's First Name] embraced additional tasks with enthusiasm and consistently delivered outstanding results.


I have full confidence that [Candidate's First Name] will bring immense value to any role they undertake, given their exceptional skills and dedication. I wholeheartedly endorse [Candidate's First Name] for any future endeavors.


Should you require further information or have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me at the details provided above.


Warm regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Job Title]



Reference Letter For A Close, Personal Colleague


Dear [Recipient's Name],


I am pleased to compose this letter on behalf of [Employee's Name], with whom I have collaborated closely for [duration] at [Company Name].


[Provide insights into the employee's character, work ethic, and contributions].


What distinguishes [Employee's Name] is not only their technical expertise but also their personal attributes such as [mention qualities like empathy, leadership, etc.]. Their capacity to build relationships with both colleagues and clients has been truly invaluable.


Should you require additional personal anecdotes or details, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Best regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Position]


Reference Letter For An Employee Who Has Been With the Company During Different Tenures


Dear [Recipient's Name],


I am reaching out to offer my recommendation for [Employee's Name], who has been part of [Company Name] for multiple terms, most recently from [most recent start date] to [end date]. [Employee's Name]'s decision to rejoin our team on multiple occasions underscores their dedication and alignment with our company's values.


Throughout their tenure(s), [Employee's Name] has shown remarkable growth and adaptability. Initially joining us from [first period of employment], they excelled in [mention specific skills or achievements]. Upon their subsequent return(s), it was clear that [Employee's Name] had further developed their abilities, bringing [mention new skills or experiences gained].


Their seamless reintegration into our team and quick adjustment to evolving company demands have been particularly impressive. [Employee's Name] consistently demonstrates professionalism, a strong work ethic, and effective collaboration with colleagues and clients.

[Employee's Name]'s unique journey with us reflects their resilience, commitment, and continuous personal and professional growth. I am confident that these qualities will greatly benefit any organization.


Should you need further details or specific examples of [Employee's Name]'s contributions, please feel free to reach out.


Best Regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Position]

[Company Name]

[Contact Information]


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