It’s an honor to be asked to be someone’s character reference. But even if you’re excited to help out a friend or co-worker, you might feel a bit intimidated by the prospect of putting the proverbial pen to paper and crafting a formal reference letter.
If you’ve been asked to write a character recommendation letter, there’s no need to panic. In the following guide, you will:
- Find out what a character recommendation letter should include.
- See a sample character reference letter.
- Get key tips for writing that important letter.
What is a character reference letter?
When a person applies for a job or to enter a school, they may wish to submit a character reference letter with their application. This letter is written by a colleague or a friend and demonstrates his quality of character.
A character recommendation letter should be different from a professional recommendation letter. A professional recommendation letter is usually written by a former manager or boss. A character reference letter is instead written by a personal contact. These letters are always professional in nature, but they do not require the writer to have held a managerial position.
Sample Character Reference Letter
Here is an example of what your character reference letter might look like. If you are sending the letter by mail, include contact information at the top of the letter, as shown.
If you are sending the letter by e-mail, you do not need to include this information. In an email, your letter will start with your greeting and should include a subject line; contact information will appear under your name at the end.
4545 Absolute way
Springfield, Michigan 49037
July 1, 2022
Director, Client Relations
63 alley of the bird lady
Austin, Texas 78701
Dear Mr Stanford,
I have had the pleasure of knowing Kindra Langfield for the past 12 years. During those 12 years, Kindra volunteered at my cat shelter, where she helped me take care of countless animals. Additionally, Kindra has become an important figure in our local community, where she helps lead a literacy program with underserved populations.
Kindra is compassionate, intelligent and articulate. She frequently brings new ideas to the table at the shelter, helping us increase our reach in the community. Not only that, but Kindra is extremely reliable and always keeps up with the tasks given to him.
Additionally, Kindra has the ability to connect with others on a meaningful level. This allowed him to forge deep relationships in our community and was a tremendous asset to our team when raising funds for our shelter. When Kindra commits to do something, she does it with all her being.
In conclusion, I give my highest recommendation to Kindra for any position she wishes to hold. She will be an invaluable asset to your organization and will bring a rich set of skills to the position.
If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me anytime.
Professional Writing Tips for a Character Reference Letter
Writing a character recommendation letter is a great opportunity to help someone you know get a job or get accepted to a school. Use the following writing tips to help your friend or colleague in the best possible way.
Ask for details
Before writing your letter, ask the person who requested the letter for some details. Questions to ask include the following:
- What is the purpose of the letter? Is the person trying to get into a school or applying for an internship or a job? Ask for more details about the position or school to better know what to include in the letter.
- Who is the recipient of the letter? Find out his name, contact details and title.
- How soon should the letter be sent?
A character recommendation letter should be professional, but it should also be sincere. Unlike a professional reference letter, which focuses on a candidate’s professional accomplishments, a character reference reflects how a person stands out on a more personal level.
Include ways in which you have seen the person’s quality and uniqueness demonstrated. The goal is to paint the person in a completely positive light.
Although you want to include enough information to highlight the personality and character of the person you’re writing about, you don’t want to get carried away with the letter. Limit yourself to three or four short paragraphs containing valuable information.
If you think your letter is too long, go back and remove redundancies or reduce the length of the stories. Either way, never send a letter longer than one page.
Check your letter before sending it
Even if you’re a professional writer, chances are your first draft will contain a few errors. Take the time to double-check your letter before sending it. When you do your final check, make sure your letter contains:
- A personal greeting.
- An introduction.
- A closing.
- Your contact details.
It may also be helpful to use Grammarly or another online tool to check your letter for spelling or grammatical errors. Additionally, you can ask a friend or family member to review the letter to make sure the body of the letter is logical and easy to follow.
The dothe sand don’ts of a character reference
Need some extra tips for writing a character recommendation letter? Keep the following dothe sand don’tit is convenient.
- Include a quick introduction: Begin your letter with a brief introduction of who you are and how you know the subject of the letter. Remember that the person receiving this letter may know nothing about the person you are referring to. Your introduction will help establish why you are qualified to be a reference for this person.
- Offer detailed information about the person’s strengths: The purpose of a character reference is to put the subject of the letter in a positive light. Focus your letter on the strengths of the person you are writing about. The more detailed your examples, the more compelling the story.
- Provide your contact information: In some cases, a hiring manager or candidate evaluator may want to ask you questions or double-check the information you’ve included. Providing your phone number or email address can make it easier for them.
- Put your heart in the message: Don’t be afraid to express your admiration and share personal stories about the topic of the letter.
- Talk about yourself: Although you want to start your letter with a quick introduction, you don’t want to spend the letter talking about yourself. This letter concerns the person who applies for a job or for a school. Focus on their character, not yours.
- Don’t accept the task if you don’t want to do it: If someone asks you to write a character recommendation letter and you don’t have time to do it, or you’d rather not write letter of recommendation on them, don’t accept it. It is perfectly acceptable to gently decline the request. It is far better to refuse than to write a half-hearted letter or take too long to write the letter, as this could cost the person a significant opportunity.
- Speak in vague terms: remember that you are painting a picture of the subject of the letter. Don’t just make statements like “Sarah is organized.” Instead, use specific examples to drive the point home.
- Mention anything political or religious: Avoid mentioning anything potentially polarizing in the letter, even if it’s areas the person you’re writing about is passionate about. Instead, focus on topics that will appeal to any audience.