Reference Letter Samples

Sample References, Reference Lists, and Letters Asking For a Reference

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Do you need to request or write a reference? Both tasks can be difficult. If you're asking for a reference, you have to know who you can ask, and how to word your reference request. If, on the other hand, you are writing a reference letter, you'll need to know how to format it, and what information to include.  

Unlike the rest of an application, a reference letter provides information about the candidate from an outside source, providing information on traits and abilities, listing achievements, and giving a somewhat personal view of the candidate. A well-written recommendation letter endorses the candidate's qualifications for an internship, job, college, graduate school, or other employment, experiential or educational experience.

Reference letters can be required for many different reasons: schools often require a reference as part of an application and companies still sometimes ask for reference letters for candidates under consideration. Certain professional organizations may require a reference, as well as lenders, landlords, or coop or condo boards. 

Review the samples reference letters here - including academic references, personal references, and letters asking for a recommendation - to help you write your own. Plus, review guidelines and tips for requesting and writing reference letters. There is also information about how to create lists of references.

Reference Letter Samples

Find samples of recommendation letters based on position and relationship, as well as information on how to format reference letters and links to templates. 

Character / Personal Reference Letter Samples

Use these examples if you need to write a personal reference letter. For this type of letter, include information on how you know the person, their qualifications and characteristics, and whether you'd recommend them.

Academic Reference Letters

An academic reference letter will highlight a student's strengths. Information on grades, attendance, and class participation, as well as any specific examples of strong papers or research, is relevant to include in this type of letter.

Letters Requesting a Reference

Asking for a letter of reference can feel intimidating. Learn how to politely request a reference, as well as what information to pass along to the person writing the recommendation.

Sample Reference Lists

During a job interview, you may be asked to provide references. See examples of how to format your list of references, and who to include on the list.

Reference Checking Letter Example

Are you an employer who needs to check a candidate's employment references? Use this sample letter to help you format a request to check an applicant's references.

How to Write a Reference Letter

How to write a reference letter, including what to include in each section of your letter and the best way to format and send it.

Top Reference Examples

Review more reference examples and advice, including employment reference letters, character references and personal references, reference request letters, and reference lists.