How To Write a Reference Letter for a Friend

As you go through life, at some stage, you will undoubtedly be asked to provide a reference letter for a friend. Perhaps your friend is applying for a job or renting a home. He or she may be applying to do voluntary work, for example, as a Sunday School teacher or delivering Meals on Wheels. He may be hoping to adopt or foster a child. They may even be adopting a pet from an animal rescue. They may be applying for a grant for a business or education. There are many situations where people are seeking a personal insight into someone’s life that would not be easily revealed simply by their academic record or job history.

A personal reference letter is generally in free form. You just tell the inquirer what they need to know about your friend. There are, however, some things that you might like to take into account.

When to Use a Reference Letter from a Friend?

Obviously, you should obtain a reference letter from a friend if a potential employer, landlord, or other person asks for one. You can also use a personal reference letter if you don’t have a good job history or if this is your first job, so you can’t offer a job reference.

What You Should Do Before You Write that Reference Letter

Make sure that you understand the purpose of the letter and that you are in a position to make a positive contribution to the picture that is being built up of your friend.

For example, if your friend is applying for a job as a babysitter, but you have only ever really played football with him or seen him at parties, you are not very likely to be able to make a sensible comment on his ability to look after children. If, on the other hand, your friend has come on camping trips with your family and has helped look after your younger brothers and sisters, and if you have seen him teaching Sunday School, then you are well placed to make a good and meaningful reference.

You must, of course, feel able to offer a truthful reference. If you don’t feel able to do this, then you should politely decline.

Follow the Guidelines

You should find out if there are any guidelines that you should follow. For example, should your letter be delivered in the post, by hand, or by e-mail? If it can be sent electronically, what format should it be sent in? Make sure that you know, and meet, any date deadline. And, of course, you should know where to send it and who to send it to.

The Essential Elements of a Great Reference Letter

  • Your contact details. Your address, phone number, and email should be clearly stated at the top of your recommendation letter
  • A title – “Re: John Smith – application for a position as a Child Care Assistant.”
  • An explanation of how you know the person and for how long you have known him
  • A firm endorsement of your friend, giving specific reasons why they would be suitable for the position or situation in question.
  • Actual examples of how your friend would be a good fit for the position
  • A conclusion and an indication of how and when you can be contacted for furtherinformation if needed.

Reference Letter For A Friend (Template)

Your name, address, and contact details

The name, title, organization name, and address of the requesting organization.

The date that the letter will be sent

The name of your friend

The position for which they are applying (if applicable)

Salutation – “Dear Ms…….”

“I am writing to offer a reference on behalf of (name)…………… I have been a friend/colleague/associate/teacher/minister/other of (name) …… ……..for …..years.

I have no hesitation in recommending (name)….. for the position of (state position). He is suitable for this position because (state reasons)…….

An example of how he has demonstrated suitability for this position is (state example/s)……

I have no hesitation in recommending (name)….for this position.

If you need to contact me to discuss this further, I am available at any time at the phone number above.

Yours sincerely,

(Your name)

Some Reference Letter For a Friend

Mary Smith

The Old Farm

Longshore Lane


AZ 12345

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 123 456 78910

Dr. John Carr

Chief Veterinarian

Tiny Fluffies Veterinarian Center

East Fulsome Rd


AZ 54321

20th September 2022

Re: Letitia James – Application for the position as a receptionist

Dear Dr. Carr,

I am writing in support of the application of Letitia James for the position of receptionist at Tiny Fluffies Veterinarian Center.

I have known Letitia for twelve years. She is the daughter of a neighbor, and since she was fourteen years old, she has helped out on my farm. She has been helpings me at weekends and during school vacations for four years. Her responsibilities have included:

  • The feeding of orphaned animals – goats, calves, foals, and sheep
  • Assisting in the birthing of kids, calves, foals, and lambs
  • Preparing special feeds for young animals
  • Cleaning animal accommodation
  • Grooming animals for show events
  • General farm duties

I should explain that Letitia was not an employee but was helping out because she wanted to learn about farm animals. She is now in a position where she needs to have paid employment to support herself while she continues her studies.

She has also stayed at the farmhouse overnight occasionally when I have had to be away. I have every confidence in her honesty and capabilities.

I found her to be a quick learner, very reliable, accurate in her work, and an excellent timekeeper. She is very trustworthy with animals and also with money. Letitia has a pleasant personality and a real affinity for animals. I have no hesitation in recommending her for the position of receptionist for your practice.

If you would like to discuss this further with me, I am available at the phone number given above, Monday through Saturday, from 5 am to 7 pm.

Yours sincerely,

Mary Smith

Another Example of a Reference Letter for a Friend

Bill Johnson

256, Golden Towers

Apache Drive


Ohio 123456

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 123 456 789010

Rev Natalia Obilsky

Church of the Holy Trinity

Maitland circle


Ohio 987654

20th September 2022

Re: Tom Jenkins – Application for Youth Leader

Dear Rev Obilsky,

I am writing in support of Tom Jenkins’ application to be a Youth Leader at your church.

I have known Tom since we were boys together – for thirty years. He has grown up to be a man of strong Christian principles and good character.

He has always been interested in sports and outdoor life, and he has been a volunteer with the local Scout troop, taking them on wilderness expeditions every summer.

He is a very responsible person and has good attention to detail. He is kind and sympathetic but is a good setter of rules and boundaries. If you need something done, then Tom is your go-to guy. My three kids love Tom and call him Uncle. He’s often at the center of their fun plans for the weekend.

I have no hesitation in supporting tom’s application for this position. I feel sure he will be a huge help in your ministry.

If you want to talk further, I am available any time by phone.

Yours sincerely,

Bill Johnson

What Your Letter Should Look Like?

You should make sure that your letter is neatly presented and that the spelling and grammar are correct. If you are writing online, you can run your letter through a free grammar and spelling checker such as Grammarly. If you are sending a handwritten letter, use nice paper and blue or black ink.

Some Personality Traits That You Might Highlight

It can be hard to think just what to put in a letter, even if it is for somebody that you know well. Here are just some of the personality and character traits that you might consider highlighting in your letter – provided your friend actually possesses them, of course! These are the kind of things that a friend might know that a previous employer might not be aware of, but that could be helpful for your friend’s bid to get that new position.

  • Punctuality
  • Reliability
  • Tolerance
  • Good work ethic
  • Honesty
  • Kindness
  • Sense of humor
  • Flexibility
  • Maturity
  • Loyalty
  • Determination
  • Good listener
  • Team worker

Why Should You Consider Writing a Reference Letter for a Friend?

Even in the current climate of high employment, it can be very hard to find the right job. There might be many applicants who are all very well qualified for a particular position. They may have the qualifications, experience, and personality that the employer is looking for.

Your friend may be just one among many. It may be that they are a little less qualified on paper than some of the other candidates. A reference letter can be the clincher; it can make your friend stand out from the other candidates.

It could be that the person who is asking you for a reference is somebody who has had a tough start in life. Perhaps you can highlight something in their character and personality that will help them get that job and get a foot on the ladder.