A Guide to Writing an Effective Employee Reference

When an employee leaves your company, providing them with a reference letter might help them land their next job.

A good employee reference letter attests to the employee’s skill set and confirms that he or she is qualified for the job. A reference letter gives a prospective employer a general idea of the job applicant, including details of their previous achievements and job performances. How to write a good employee reference? What should the letter contain? If these are your questions, you’ve come to the right place!

This article highlights some tips to note when writing a reference letter for a previous employee. It includes samples of reference letters you could use to write a good employee reference.

What Is an Employee Reference Letter?

An employee reference letter details a previous employee’s work time with an organization, including their accomplishments and skill set. Such letters are written by a previous employer, or manager to attest that a job applicant is indeed suitable for the role. 

Reference letters play a significant role in the employment process. They attest to a candidate’s skills, work ethic, accomplishments, and prospects for success in a new position. Most employers use reference letters to determine a candidate’s suitability for a job. It’s critical to give serious thought to the person, your relationship with them, and the areas where they excel when writing a reference letter.

How to Write a Good Employee Reference Letter

selective focus photography of people sits in front of table inside room
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

1. Pay Close Attention to the Job Description.

Always request a copy of the job description from the employee to under the job role better. Describe how the employee is an excellent fit for the position’s requirements. If you’re submitting a broad recommendation, inquire with the employee about the specifics of the position and sector.

2. Give Specific Examples

It is vital to give specific instances of how the employee displayed each of the skills they possess. To make it even better, you can quantify their success with numbers. 

3. Be Optimistic

Mention how you believe the employee is a strong candidate. You might use language like “I would hire this person again” or “I recommend this person without hesitation.” Make sure to emphasize this, especially at the start and end of the letter. This will help the employee stand out.

4. Write Down Your Contact Details.

Your reference letter must contain your contact details, so the employer can reach you if they have any additional inquiries. This should come at the end of your letter. You may include your email address, phone number, or both. 

5. Follow the Submission Requirements.

Ask the employee for submission instructions and ensure that you adhere to all the specified criteria. Pay close attention to instructions about when and where to send the letter, including the format (for example, PDF, physical letter, etc.).

What Information Should Be in a Good Employee Reference Letter?

An employee reference must be straightforward, stating that a person worked for you between [include dates]. You can also provide any of the following information that you deem essential:

  • The job the employee performed.
  • The time frame the employee worked with you. 
  • Notable accomplishments of the employee.
  • Skill set of the employee.
  • Job responsibilities and Workplace efficiency. 
  • Why they left their previous position (resignation or dismissal) 
  • The applicant’s behavior while they were working with you.

The information you provide must be sincere, and detailed. 

Employee Reference Letter Samples


Subject line: To whom it may concern,

I recommend [Employee Name] for the [Job Title] job. I have known [Employee Name] for [Years Worked Together years], and he/she have always been an exemplary employee. In my time working with [Employee name], he/she consistently demonstrated dedication and ability to produce high-quality results.

I believe that [Employee Name] would be valuable to your team, and I am confident they would excel in the role of [Job Title]. If you have any questions, please reach me at [Contact Information.]

Thank you very much for your time.


[Your Name]


To Whom It May Concern,

I recommend Ms. Jane Doe for your company’s marketing manager position. It was a pleasure working with Jane for the past two years as her direct supervisor. I can attest to her exceptional skills in strategic planning and execution.

Jane keenly understands what it takes to develop and implement successful marketing campaigns and effectively communicate her vision to her team. Additionally, she is highly organized and always keeps a cool head under pressure. 

Jane would be an excellent asset to your team and a vital propeller of your company’s success. If you need additional information, please get in touch with me at [Your contact information].


Johnson Smith


An employee reference letter speaks volumes, so it is vital to write it correctly. Always put yourself in the employer’s shoes. Ask yourself: Will I hire this person if they bring this reference letter to me? Am I being sincere with this letter?

Rather than reduce the employee’s chance of employment, be honest with if you’re not comfortable writing the reference letter. Use this guide on how to write a good employee reference letterto refine your letter.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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