Although I have written a number of articles that deal with various aspects of writing letters of reference, I have never before itemized in one place the important steps you need to follow when writing a reference letter. Following is a list of those key points:
Make Sure It IS A Reference LetterAs I have detailed at length elsewhere, there is a lot of confusion between reference and recommendation letters letters. So make sure that the letter you are about to write is actually a letter of reference and not a letter of recommendation. For more on that, check out the following link:
Determine Your Approach and StrategyDepending on the specific situation you are dealing with, your approach and strategy to drafting the reference letter will vary. First and foremost, are you the best person to be writing this letter of reference? Then there will be questions as to how direct and forthcoming do you need to be? Also, is it appropriate to write something negative about the person being recommended? For more on reference and recommendation letter writing strategies, check out the following link:
Structure Your Letter AppropriatelyLetters of reference will normally follow a three-part structure: 1.) opening statement, 2.) assessment statements, and 3.) closing statement. For more on what these “reference letter power statements” are all about, you can check out the following link:
Review Your Letter CarefullyWhether you are writing a reference for yourself or for someone else, it is likely to be among the most important letters you will ever write. Letters of reference have the power to change people’s lives. That’s why it is imperative that you carefully review the letter of reference that you have drafted and make sure it is phrased appropriately and is absolutely correct in terms of spelling and grammar. For obvious reasons, a reference letter is one that needs to be as close to perfect as possible.
For a lot more information on how to write different types of letters of reference and recommendation for various situations, PLUS 79 fully-formatted templates that you can download into your word processor to create your own recommendation and reference letters quickly and easily, you'll want to check out my best-seller on this subject:
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