How to create a professional references template.
Write compelling professional reference letters with a few quick tips and one powerful template.
If you're a manager, you’re likely to be asked to provide professional references on a regular basis. While it can be gratifying to recommend colleagues you admire, the requests can pile up, and the task can start to feel daunting. Learn how to create a professional reference template for yourself to make the job easy, even on short notice.
Build your best template.
- Before you start. Make a checklist of questions you need answered before writing the recommendation to streamline the process. For example, you'll want the potential employer's name and contact information, along with the job description and your colleague's resume.
- Design a letterhead. Include your name, contact information (phone number, email, website), and address so that the potential employer can get in touch with any further questions. You can get creative here with colors, fonts, and formatting.
- Create placeholder formatting. Include a placeholder in your formatting for a date, address block, and salutation at the top, along with a business closing, e-signature, printed name, and job title.
- Develop a structure. Create a formula for the flow of your letter. Perhaps you start with a description of how you know this reference, in what capacity you worked together, and for how long. Make a note to emphasize how this individual exemplifies the qualifications outlined in the job description. And perhaps save some space for a short anecdote to illustrate your point.
- Keep it short. Opt for 2-3 concise paragraphs. With your content outline in mind, you should have no trouble completing this quickly.
PDF your template for easy sharing.
Convert your template into a PDF to retain your fonts and formatting. You can download and edit the template for each new recommendation request you get.