Reference / Referral / Recommendation Letter

A. Reference Letter


A reference letter is simply a report (supposedly neutral) verifying the employment history in the CV for prospective employers. It generally includes facts and not personal opinions. It is brief and should include the following:


1. a statement to the addressee (or "To whom it may concern") on the purpose of the reference;

2. the period of employment of the referee, with an account of the duties performed, or the referee's general qualifications.


B. Recommendation Letter


A recommendation letter is similar to a reference letter but carries an endorsement of the referee. It may include personal opinions on the referee and is intended to persuade the prospective employer on the ability, skills or character of the employee, based on factual information from the experience of working with the referee. In addition to the above, a recommendation letter would also include a  paragraph recommending the person to the position. One should try to give specific details to improve the chance of the referee getting the job. The letter should be brief, clear and to the point to ensure that it is read.


C. Asking for a Recommendation Letter


One should be polite and tactful when seeking a recommendation letter from a reference, especially if you have not been keeping in touch for a while. Make it clear that you do not want to put this person in an awkward position, but you would very much appreciate it if he / she can write you a letter of recommendation. You can even suggest preparing a draft for this person. Tell you about the job and company you are looking for. Do not include someone as a reference if he / she is uncomfortable or reluctant to assist in writing a letter of reference / recommendation. The person will be unlikely to put in a good word for you.