How to write a personal reference letter

Written by tanya robertson
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How to write a personal reference letter
Most personal reference letters are typed, but they can be handwritten. (Getty Images)

There are several different situations that may require you to write a personal reference letter on someone's behalf. Some landlords require personal reference letters from potential tenants. Many employers require both professional and personal letters of reference for potential employees. Personal character references are even often necessary on behalf of a person appearing in a court hearing. No matter the reason behind the personal reference letter, there is a general format that works universally for each of these instances.

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  1. 1

    Type your contact information into the letterhead. The first line should be your name and subsequent lines should include your address, telephone number and any other contact information you want to include such as an e-mail address or website.

  2. 2

    Type the current date on the first line beneath the letterhead and press "Enter" twice.

  3. 3

    Type "To whom it may concern" and press "Enter" twice.

  4. 4

    Type the body of your letter. This section should include any relevant information, such as how long you've known the person you're referencing, whether your relationship with the person is business or personal and to what capacity, any personal recommendations you have regarding the person and if you personally recommend the person for the task at hand. Try to anticipate what kind of information is being sought from you. For example, if the recommendation is being requested by a landlord for a potential tenant, important information would be the upkeep of the residence, the tenant's rental history, whether the tenant paid bills on time and whether the tenant was easy to get along with.

  5. 5

    Press "Enter" twice more, type "Sincerely," and then press "Enter" four more times and type your name. Sign your name in the blank space between "Sincerely" and your typed name.

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