30+ Employment Reference Letter Samples and Writing Tips (Word | PDF)

Company employees change jobs for many reasons. Some will transfer to other jobs within the company, while many will seek employment in other firms to further their careers or return to school to take specialized courses that will also help their careers. During the application process, employees may ask current employer to provide a reference letter to help them obtain the job or student position they have applied to.

There are different types of employment reference letters, and your company may have guidelines about providing employment reference letters on behalf of employees in their company. Before agreeing to write an employment reference letter on someone’s behalf, check with human resources to ensure that this is an acceptable process.

This post covers what an employment reference letter is, how to write one, tips to consider, and some of the frequently asked questions many supervisors and managers have when requested to prepare a reference letter.

What Is an Employment Reference Letter?

An employment reference letter is also known as a recommendation letter providing information about an employee’s work history with the company, their achievements, and it can also be perceived as an endorsement of the employee. The letter is usually written by the employee’s direct manager or the human resources manager. Take into account your relationship with the employee, how they performed on the job, the areas they excelled in on the job, and the skills they bring to the job.

Always confirm your company’s policy regarding employment reference letters. Some companies frown on providing these letters, particularly if they are perceived as endorsement letters. In addition, if you feel that you cannot provide a positive-sounding employment reference letter, you could do the employee more harm than good. It would be better to decline the request in this situation.

What is Employment Reference Letter Template?

If you have never written an employment reference letter or have to prepare one often, using a template can speed up the process and also ensure consistency and professionalism. While what you write about the employee is extremely important, how you write it and the impression a letter makes on the reader is just as important. A professional-looking letter formatted in a business-like way makes a positive impression before the reader reads the letter.

If you are setting up a template for your company to use as a standard employment reference letter, use company letterhead, add space for the contact information and address of the person sending the letter, the date, the contact information for the person receiving the letter and the salutation.

The entire letter should be no more than one page, which suggests 3 to 4 paragraphs, including the introduction and closing, your signature, printed name, and personal contact information. We provide several examples later in this post.

Before Writing an Employment Reference

One of the keys to writing a great employment reference letter is preparation. Collect all of the information you will need to write the letter. The employee should be prepared to provide information that will assist in the process. Information that will be useful to anyone preparing an employment reference letter is as follows:

  • Copy of the position advertisement the employee is applying to
  • A copy of their resume
  • Past performance reviews
  • Examples of performance and activities that support your thoughts
  • Review current job description details
  • Educational qualifications
  • Your relationship with the employee
  • Company policy concerning preparing employment reference letters

In addition, consider if you are comfortable preparing the employment reference letter. A letter that is not strongly supportive can do more harm than good. If you are uncomfortable preparing the letter, you should tell the employee and explain why you are not comfortable.

You may be able to soften the rejection if you can recommend another person in a better position to write the letter.

How to Write

Once you have reviewed all of the above details and are prepared to write the employment reference letter, it is time to compose the letter. Remember it should be no more than one page in length, follow a professional format with no spelling or grammatical errors.

Consider the following suggestions as you formulate and organize your thoughts regarding the letter:

  • Prepare for the type of employment reference letter – academic, job, lease, immigration, etc.
  • Focus on the job advertisement – match skills and experience of the employee to requirements.
  • Add examples – of how the employee demonstrated skills the new job is aiming for
  • Quantify the results – adding numbers helps to demonstrate their success
  • Stay positive – recommend with no reservations, hire them again, etc.
  • Provide your contact information
  • Follow the submission requirements for the letter
  • Know what information you can share and not share, e.g., employee salary

Sample Employment Reference Letter for Landlord

The following is a sample employment reference letter that might be provided to a landlord from an employer considering a prospective tenant:

[Your Name]


[Address and Email]


[Name and address or To whom It May concern]

Subject : Rental Reference Letter for [Name ]

I am writing in regards to [Name] and their application as a potential tenant of your rental unit. I am the [Name of organization and title] where [Name] currently works. I am her immediate supervisor.

[Name] has been employed at [Company] for the past [Number] years, and I have worked with her for the past [Number] years. [Name] is in good standing with our company, has a stable job and income.

With no hesitation, I can recommend [Name] as an excellent tenant for your property. [Name] demonstrates responsibility, accountability and meets all job tasks on time. [Name] is honest and trustworthy. [Name] handles company budgets, pays contractor invoices, and is considered a team player.

In summary, I believe [Name] will be a responsible and good tenant.

Please feel free to contact me if there any additional questions. Please use the email provided earlier in this letter.


[Your Name]

Sample Employment Reference Letter for Immigration

The following is a sample employment reference letter for immigration purposes. Note that there are various immigration programs offered by each country. Your letter should be tailored to the immigration program and country you are seeking to immigrate to. It should also be accompanied by the business card of the person signing the letter and include the companies and the person’s contact information. A sample follows:

[Company Letterhead]

[Your Name]


[Address and Email]


[To whom It May concern]

Subject: RE: [Name] [Passport Number]

Dear Sir / Madam

This letter is to confirm and certify that [Name] has been an employee of [Name of Company] since [Date] to [Date]. [Name] currently holds the position of [Position Title]. [names] total annual salary is [$xx. xx] and works full time for a weekly minimum of [Hours] per week. The following are the details and specifics of their job duties and current responsibilities.

[List Job Duties and Responsibilities]





This certification is issued on request of [Name] for whatever purposes it may serve.

Thank you.


[Your Name]

[Your Title]

Employment Reference Letter (Templates & Examples)

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Letter of Recommendation Example



Writing a Letter of Recommendation

    Types of Employment Reference Letters

    There are several types of Employment Reference Letters. They are as follows, along with a short explanation of each:

    Employment Reference Letter – provide a recommendation for a candidate for a job. Many companies in North America provided limited reference support due to liability concerns.

    Academic Reference Letter – provided by teachers or professors provides input regarding your academic skills, project completion, and ability to complete academic challenges.

    Character Reference Letter – provided by someone who has no information concerning your work skills and performance. Instead, they provide a reference concerning your character traits. A non-family member should prepare a character reference.

    Immigration Reference Letters – are specialized recommendations of support for anyone wanting to immigrate to a country. Each country has a variety of programs and specific requirements for reference letters.

    Employment Reference Letters can be prepared by managers, colleagues, advisors, teachers, or community members.

    Employment Reference Letter for Mortgage

    As the name suggests the employment reference letter for Mortgage would be by the Mortgage Processing to the employer of the candidate in order to find certain and relevant information. Reading the relevant content would be a good idea to understand or write this kind of letter.

    Employment Reference Letter for Mortgage

    Employment Reference Letter for Software Developer

    Employment Reference Letter for Software Developer

    Employment Reference Letter for Visa Application

    The employment reference letter for visa application as the name suggests would highlight that a certain person is working with a particular company or employer as the employer would address the position and title of the employee in the letter.

    Employment Reference Letter for Visa Application

    Basic Employment Reference Letter

    Basic Employment Reference Letter

    Employment Reference Letter Sample

    As the name suggests the reference letter from the current employer would be written by the current employer for an employee. The purpose of any kind of reference letter whether it is written by a former or current employer is to highlight the skills and abilities of a potential candidate.

    Employment Reference Letter Sample

    Employment Reference Letter (PDF)

    Employment Reference Letter PDF

    Employment Reference Letter (WORD)

    Employment Reference Letter WORD

    Employment Reference Letter (DOC)

    Employment Reference Letter DOC

    Employment Reference Letter: Best Practices

    Given below are some of the tips on writing an employment reference letter, which can be of great assistance:

    Mentions skills of the person: When writing an employment reference letter, it would be a good idea to get information on the job description and write the letter in accordance with the skills and abilities of the employee, which match with that particular job description. It is always a good idea to match the skills of the employee and the relevant job description.

    Ask for resume/CV: When writing an employment reference letter for someone it is always a good idea to ask for their CV/resume as it would provide a summarized version of their skills and abilities. It would highlight the potential of the person for a specific job.

    Give Examples: When writing the employment reference letter it would be a good idea to provide examples on the occasion when a person had been quite useful in a certain situation; however, this example should show leadership or other required skills of that person.

    Provide Contact Information: It would be a good idea to provide the contact information when writing the employment reference in order to make it more legit.

    Be Aware of Guidelines: It is always a good idea to be aware of the guidelines and rules and regulations when writing the employment reference letter for someone.

    Say Yes when You Mean it: Only say yes on writing the employment reference letter for someone when you actually mean it.

    Tips for Writing an Employment Reference Letter

    • Before you agree to write an employment reference letter, make sure that you have the information needed to write the letter and ensure that you can write a positive reference.
    • Request a copy of the job description or academic position and focus your comments on the requirements of the position.
    • Provide examples of how the employee illustrated the skills you are discussing while the individual worked for you. Use numbers wherever possible to quantify the results.
    • Provide a positive reference. If you cannot be positive or even just marginally positive, declining the request to provide a reference is suggested. A weak review can harm the person’s chances of being hired for the position.
    • Always share your contact information and offer to be contacted to answer additional questions.
    • Check for submission guidelines and follow the guidelines to improve the chances for the person you are recommending.


    The following are several frequently asked questions readers have about preparing employment reference letters, immigration reference letters, and more.

    How to write an employment reference letter for immigration to Canada?

    Among the items required by someone immigrating to Canada is the employment reference letter. Many people must also pass language testing, a medical exam, police certificates and provide documents to prove their identity. The specific requirements depend on the entry program you are applying through.

    Your employment reference letter must include the following information to substantiate your work experience and come from your employer:

    • Your name
    • Your company’s contact information
    • Your supervisor’s name, title, and signature
    • The positions you have held
    • For each position, provide
      • Title
      • Duties
      • Responsibilities
      • Job-status
      • Start and end dates for each job
      • Hours worked per week
      • Annual salary including benefits

    The letter should be printed on your company’s letterhead.

    How do I get a reference letter from my current employer?

    If you have worked for several companies, it is important to select the company that will, in your opinion, provide the best reference letter. If you have worked for multiple supervisors, the same applies; select the one that you feel will be willing to provide a positive reference for you.

    Before asking for a reference, confirm what the company’s policy is in respect to providing references. Some company’s do not approve of the process due to potential liability issues.

    Begin by selecting a company you have worked for and a specific supervisor you are on good terms with who will provide you with a strong positive reference. Always be polite in your request. Provide the specific details of the job or position you need a reference to be submitted to. Provide copies of your resume, the job posting, and any other important information such as contact information for the job posting. Provide any other submission guidelines that are required. Establish a reasonable time with your reference provider for the preparation of the reference letter and politely follow up at the appropriate time.

    How do you write a good reference letter for a co-worker?

    It is very important to write a great reference letter for a co-worker. You can make a huge difference in your co-worker’s life by helping them obtain the next job in their career. They may also return the favor sometime in the future when you need a reference letter. The steps are similar.

    • Review all of the information – job posting description, submission requirements, and their resume
    • After introducing yourself, explain your professional relationship to establish your credibility
    • Add examples of the accomplishments of your co-worker
    • Identify how your co-worker will help the new company achieve their objectives
    • Add your contact information

    How do you start a reference letter?

    There are three fundamental steps to follow when you start a reference letter.

    • Deciding to Agree to write a reference letter – is the first and most important step. You should be comfortable writing the letter and be able to make positive statements and recommendations about the person you are providing the reference for. If you are unable to make positive statements, it is better to decline the request
    • Collect the information you need – to write the letter. This includes the resume, the position description, the submission requirements, and the accomplishments and skills of the person
    • Begin writing the reference letter – by introducing yourself, how you are related to the person you are recommending, and establishing your credibility. Your credentials and position in the company should be clearly stated to establish that your comments should be taken seriously.

    What makes a good reference letter?

    A great reference letter has the following attributes:

    • Professional and business-like
    • Free of spelling and grammatical errors
    • The person providing the reference letter is very credible
    • Positive and strongly supportive
    • Illustrates the skills and achievements of the candidate
    • Ties these strengths to the new job requirements
    • Contact information provided for additional questions

    Key Points

    Providing an employment reference letter is an important part of the hiring process, which can have a significant impact on the career and quality of life of an employee. Agree to provide a reference letter only if you can provide a positive, strongly supportive reference recommendation.

    Prepare to write the employment reference letter by gathering all of the relevant information needed, e.g., resume, job description, and submission requirements. Be available to answer any questions the hiring manager may have.

    The reference letter should be a maximum of one page in length, look professional, typed on company letterhead, and free of all spelling and grammatical errors.

    There are several different types of employment reference letters, and there are letters specifically required to support immigration applications. Follow the format and details required for:

    • A character reference letter
    • An employment reference letter
    • Academic reference letter
    • Immigration reference letter

    Preparing reference letters for someone is an important activity and should be taken seriously. Make an effort to prepare a high-quality letter to help an employee, student, co-worker, etc., achieve their career goals.