A reference letter is used to endorse someone and provides an overview of their skills, ability, knowledge, and character. A reference letter is often required during a job or academic application.
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A well written professional reference letter is often times the tipping point that will be the deciding factor in getting someone an interview.
This is a terrific source for templates that you can easily customize in order to provide a well written, powerful reference.
As a side note, in addition to helping out someone that did a good job for you, another added benefit in writing a reference letter is that it gets your name out there and attracts attention from recruiters and hiring managers. We have placed a number of individuals over the years that initially came to our attention by serving as a reference for someone else.
This is a post that you should save to use as needed, it makes writing an excellent reference letter a 5 minute endeavor that will result in a top-notch written testimony that will reflect well not only on the person you are referring, but on yourself as well .