For whatever reason, you are considering pursuing a new job. For some of you, this is your first foray unto the job market. This means, you will be asked to provide a number of documents, letters or certifications to become eligible for a job interview.
But also, you might be gearing up to study at a reputable university and you were asked to provide certain documentation.
One request, which is often made in these instances, is for a personal reference letter.
Many of us are more aware of a professional reference letter, which is usually sourced from a former supervisor or work colleague. Well, the personal recommendation letter is similar, but it is not usually requested from anyone that we have worked with in the pass.
About the Personal Reference Letter
You often request this kind of letter from someone who knows you personally. Ideally, it conveys information about the applicant and highlights their character trait and other recommendable qualities.
According to Sample Templates, “A reference is a letter that is written to act as a testimony of a person’s skills, character and their achievements in personal or professional fields. These kinds of letters of recommendation for students are usually written for students wishing to study in a prestigious institution or young individuals seeking a job in a big company.
This letter holds the capacity of influencing the decision of the employees. It holds the capacity of making a person’s career if written in a proper way.”
So as you can see, it is not only for job hunting, but it might be necessary to have one of these letters if you are thinking about attending a particular university.
At times, it is the deciding factor, which helps to get you accepted into that institution.
This kind of recommendation, however, is not as formal as the one written by a former employer or coworker. It is more personal and informal. Even so, one must be careful to include the necessary information that will garner a more favorable outcome for any candidate.
Details to Include in the Personal Reference Letter
It is a common occurrence for professors, pastors or business people in reputable positions to be asked to supply a personal reference letter. As such, if you are in such a position, there are a few things to consider before accepting the request to provide one.
Stop and Think
Contemplate the responsibility that comes with writing a personal reference letter. Saying yes is easy, but you should deliberate properly before agreeing to vouch for someone else’s capabilities.
For some people, this is an easy task. But that is helped along when you know the individual that you are referring for a number of years. And it also helps if you have actually seen them in action.
If none of this is true about you, in relation to this individual, let them ask someone else who could vouch for them more accurately. A great way to let them down easy is by saying, “I think that I am the best person to write a recommendation letter on your behalf.”
Ask for Details about the Person Being Recommended
Once you have settled on your decision, before writing the first word, get some more information.
Know to whom and where the reference letter is going. Enquire about whether it is for a university application or a job application. Find out when it is due, so that you are not rushed into preparing the document, but can take your time to produce a great personal reference.
If it is for a job, then it is a great idea to ask for a copy of the person’s resume. This is necessary for double-checking the facts that you think you know about the person. It helps you to match the skills and traits that you already know of, as well.
Be Honest and Positive
Remember, do not accept such a request if you will find it difficult to give an honest, positive and supportive account of the person’s character, personality, personal and or professional capabilities.
A personal letter of recommendation ought to be positive and honest, not contrived. If you can meet the above stipulation then there are several more factors to consider.
Mention Who You are to the Candidate
Within the one or two sentences, the reader should be informed or have a clear indication of who you are to the person being referred. Clearly state how long you have known them.
So, you could say that you are a teacher, professor, dean or principal of an institution where the person attended classes for five years. In addition, you could say that you have been their religious leader or pastor for ten years.
Mention the Person’s Strongest Traits
Within the letter, most of the emphasis must be placed on highlighting the most noteworthy skills, talents, abilities and values of the person that you are referring.
Keep in mind the position that is being applied for and which skills could be most applicable in that instance.
Even though you are stating the good traits about the person, and what they are able to do, to prove and give credence to what is said, you must make mention of cases where the person displayed these traits. Not doing so, may cause the reader to disregard what is said in the letter.
It can cause them to question your reputation as well.
Include Your Contact Information
Before closing off this personal reference letter, ensure that you include your own personal contact information. And depending on the case, include your business contact information for the person to get in touch with you directly, if they wish.
Proofread and Edit the Letter
Double-check the details, which you have included in the letter. Check for punctuation, spelling and grammar errors. If necessary, have someone else read over its content. They can also vet whether the letter is correctly done, sounds credible and is absent of errors.
This thorough representation should not be overly long. It is acceptable to have anywhere from three to five paragraphs of relevant information.
Example of a Personal Reference Letter
Now that you have reviewed some of the details that are relevant for the production of a recommendation, let us take a look at an actual example. This will give you a better idea of how to construct one yourself.
To Whom It May Concern,
I have been an associate of John Black, for the past ten years and have had the opportunity to observe him in a number of capacities. He has been my son’s kung fu instructor for over five years. Also, he is the lead editor for our community paper and senior minister at our local church.
For eight year, he has aptly overseen the research, and editing of noteworthy content for both our paper and community website.
John is resourceful, thorough and tremendously proficient.
He often productively completes projects, ahead of schedule. He is also particularly prepared, and does not fall down on his direct obligations.
In conclusion, I am very much comfortable with recommending John for any job endeavor that he has sought with your esteemed institution. Of note, he will be a precious addition to your team.
Please feel free to contact me for further details.
How to Identify the Best Candidate to Write Your Personal Reference Letter
Are you scouting around for someone who can produce an exemplary personal reference letter?
In those early years, when we are first hunting for a job, sometimes we do not yet have adequate job experience. You might not have any job experience whatsoever. But, in these cases, it is perfectly acceptable to have someone write a personal recommendation for you.
Most employers are open to receiving a character recommendation letter as a substitute for, a professional reference letter. In addition, they also come in handy when you are seeking a bank loan. This will reassure the respective parties and make it easier to trust you.
There is no better way to garner a vote of confidence.
Some of the ideal candidates to ask include people that have known you for a while. It is better if they have known you for more than five years. This may include your vendors, customers, academic advisors, professors, teachers, committee members, neighbors or business acquaintances.
People whom you volunteer with are also some of the best candidates for writing such a letter. So consider your coaches, 4-H, Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts leaders. Think about your church group leaders who you have served with in various ministries and on different youth camps.
Have you done any babysitting or pet sitting jobs?
Then these parents will be happy to write you a recommendation, especially if you have done a great job over the years. They have an extra regard for your capabilities. Why is that? It is simple, because you have looked after that which they hold dear to their hearts.
If you examine your life closely, you will realize that it is not impossible to identify at least several people who could write a personal reference letter for you.