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Everything You Need To Know About A Reference Letter For A Friend

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If you have a friend who is looking for a new job or to get an internship, a volunteer position or to get into any college, the chances that he or she needs a reference letter is high.

It is a big responsibility, and you should take it seriously. It is best to research, so you can deliver a high-quality reference letter for your friend.

In all likelihood, you will be writing a personal reference letter. So, you will be vouching for their character.

Here we will look at the things you must focus on to deliver a great reference letter for your friend.

What Is a Reference Letter for a Friend?

When your friend is applying for jobs, they will need job-related references. Many references will come from former bosses, coworkers, and clients. However, they also will need personal references.

Personal references are references written by friends, family members, and people that know the person personally. A reference letter for a friend should highlight their best qualities, character, perseverance, and ability to work well with others.

What Friends Can You Write a Recommendation Letter For?

You can write a recommendation letter for anyone if they ask you, but you might not be qualified.

Do not be afraid to tell someone no if you are not comfortable writing a reference letter for them. If you are not comfortable, you are doing them a favor because you would be unable to do them justice.

Regardless, there are some people you are better suited for writing a recommendation letter than others.

Friends You Know Well

The most obvious group of friends you can write reference letters for are the ones you know well.

When your friends ask you to write a reference letter, you do not need to discuss how they perform in the workplace. You can touch on it if you are a coworker, but you probably do not work with them.

Instead, focus on personal qualities that make you like them as a person. If you know them well, you can speak about their best qualities.

Friends You Recognize Positive Qualities In

This group of friends goes hand in hand with the one listed above.

It is best to write recommendation letters for friends you recognize positive qualities in. However, there probably are not many friends that do not fit this category.

If you are friends with them, you should be able to recognize their positive qualities. Otherwise, you would not be friends with them.

Friends You’ve Spent Time with Recently

Although it is possible to write a recommendation letter for a friend you have not spoken to in a long time, it is not ideal.

Even if you have been friends with someone since you were five years old, not talking to them for a year means you have missed out on a lot. If you have not spoken recently, you cannot adequately speak to how they act in their personal life.

Friends You’ve Seen in Difficult Situations

Ideally, the friends that ask you to write a recommendation letter for them are the friends you have seen in challenging situations. The type of situation does not matter, but you should be able to speak to how they handled themselves.

It doesn’t matter if the situation was from work, school, or their personal life, you should be able to eloquently speak about how their handling of that difficult situation will help them perform at the new job they want.

What to Include in a Reference Letter for a Friend

When your friends ask you to write a reference letter for them, it can be challenging to figure out where to start. You might have an idea of what you want to talk about, but starting is not easy.

You have written essays before, but probably nothing that is supposed to be personal. You might not know how to reach the point where you are praising your friend in the recommendation letter.

Here we will discuss the top things you should discuss in a letter.

Introduction About Your Relationship and Its Relevancy

Unsurprisingly, the thing you will start with is an introduction. The introduction should discuss your relationship with your friend and how it is relevant.

Discuss how you met your friend, your relationship with them, and how often you speak to them. Anything you think would be relevant to your relationship should be in the introduction.

The reason you put so much focus on your relationship with your friend in the introduction is to give context to the rest of the reference letter.

You want to establish right away what kind of relationship you have, and why your recommendation is relevant. By establishing credibility, employers are more likely to put credence into your letter over others.

Lastly, your introduction should not be too long. Do not go over a paragraph or two. If you exceed this length, the employer might not read your entire letter or gloss over it.

Body Paragraph About Friend’s Strengths With Examples

The body paragraph or paragraphs should discuss your friend’s strengths. Each paragraph can discuss a specific strength, with you providing an example from an experience you had with them.

Remember that your friend is applying for a job, so try to stick to strengths that the employer would find relevant to the position. If you are unclear about the job, ask your friend for clarification.

The best thing you can do in this section is honest. While you should paint your friend in a good light, you should not stretch the truth too much. If you stretch it too much, your letter will not be believable, which could hurt your friend’s chance of getting the job.

Closing Paragraph With Summary of Why You Recommended Them

Your closing paragraph should include a summary of why you recommended your friend. You should reiterate the main reasons you think they are suited to the job.

There is no need to drag out the closing paragraph as you are simply summarizing things you discussed in the body of the letter. Keep it concise, and end with a glowing recommendation.

Your Contact Info

Finally, you must include your contact info in the letter. You should include your phone number and email if they want to contact you with further questions.

How to Format Your Reference Letter for a Friend

The top of your reference letter should have your name in big font, with your contact info below. You should then write the date of the letter followed by addressing the letter to the employer.

You can write your letter before signing off like any letter. You can include your credentials if you want, but it is not necessary for a personal reference.

How to Write a Reference Letter for a Friend

Writing a reference letter is not challenging, but it is crucial to research how to write one. Here is how we recommend laying out your reference letter.

How to Address the Letter

Even though it is a personal reference, the letter should be written formally. Start with a formal salutation to the employer or hiring manager.

How Do You Describe Someone’s Personality for a Reference?

When you describe your friend’s personality, it should be with the mindset of getting them the job. Try to use positive traits to describe their personality.

Use terms like ambitious, hard-working, and persistent. If you can convince the hiring manager your friend is a good person, they have a better chance of getting the job.

How Long Should the Letter Be?

While you might want to go on and on about all of your friend’s best qualities, you should not make your letter too long.

The universally accepted length for a recommendation letter is one page. The page should also include your contact information, so the letter will not be very wrong. Since it will be short, keep things concise and only focus on essential topics.

How to Sign Off the Letter

The letter should end with a signature and your contact information. Invite them to call or email you with any follow-up questions they might have. Be friendly, and give a good impression for your friend.

What to Write and What Not to Write

It is crucial to understand what to write and what not to write. We will explain that to you in the sections below.

What to Write

Here we will start by looking at things you should discuss when writing a reference letter for a friend.

  • Specifics About the Job: One thing you must discuss in your recommendation are things that relate to the job. Only discuss things as they pertain to the job your friend is applying for.
  • Anecdotes That Display Their Character: Your letter should include several anecdotes about your friend’s character. The main purpose of a personal reference is to highlight their character, so anecdotes are crucial.
  • How You Know the Person and For How Long: You must give context to the recommendation. So, it is crucial to mention how you know your friend, and how long you have known them.
  • Positive Comments: Finally, any positive comments you can make about your friend are welcome. Do not be afraid to sing your friend’s praises.

What Not to Write

Here are things you should avoid writing in a reference letter for a friend.

That You Don’t Know the Person Well

If you do not know your friend too well, avoid mentioning it. You want to give the impression that you are a fantastic source for their character.

Negative Qualities

You likely know about your friend’s negative qualities. Never mention these qualities in a recommendation letter. You do not have to lie about them, but you should avoid mentioning those qualities. Try to focus on the positive as much as you can.

Compliments Without Specifics

Do not make compliments about character traits without providing specific examples. Random compliments will not do anything for your friend in a letter.

False Statements

Do not lie on a reference letter. You should be able to find plenty of positive things to discuss without resorting to false statements. If you do not think you can do that, you should tell your friend that you are not the right person to write the letter.

Sample Personal Character Reference Letter

Here is a link to a sample personal character reference letter you can use to get started.

Wrapping Up

Writing a reference letter for a friend is a big responsibility. You should only agree to do it if you think you can do it right. Fortunately, you should not have much trouble if you follow our instructions.

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