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How to Write a Personal Reference Letter with Examples and Samples

Many employers require job seekers to furnish a personal reference letter. You need to know when you will create this letter and why it is essential to provide a good reference. Today, my post is all about personal references. You will get an idea of what a personal reference letter is, how to write one by checking different examples. Explore the difference between professional and personal references. So, let's get started.

personal reference statement examples and samples

What is a Personal Reference?

A personal reference could be any person who knows you very well; he could be your friend or colleague ( who is also a friend).This acquaintance needs to vouch for your good traits, character, integrity, trustworthiness in front of your prospective employer. 

The purpose of a personal reference is to tell your employer that you are a talented person who possesses good skills and experience for the job. This is a reassurance of your work capability. 

Employers ask you to give your personal reference names as they want to know more about your capabilities, strength, skills, etc. Your friend knows who you are and what you are capable of. Whether you can handle a task well or not. 

When is a Personal Reference Required?

Employers require a personal reference as a part of the job application process. Applicants need to mention personal references at the end of their resume or CV. Some candidates write a line 'reference will be furnished on request' to complete the formality. Some employers may not ask for any reference, while others require you to establish personal or professional references. Therefore, one should be ready to furnish references needed on demand.

A personal reference letter is generally required for an entry-level job, where a candidate can't furnish professional references due to lack of professional experience.

Explore: Phased Return to Work Guidelines

Why does an employer demand a personal reference?

An employer would ask candidates to provide a personal reference letter in the first or second round of job interviews. Here is why they request this:

The employer wants to know whether you can perform well at work or not. He is interested in your strengths and weaknesses.

The employer tries to get a better understanding of your personal integrity, professional ethics, character.

Recruiters would like to know whether you are a good fit for a particular job role or not.

Employers want to know all about work history; it's a way to confirm that you have worked for a company.

Recruiters are also interested in knowing all about your interactions with your superiors, colleagues, teammates, and coworkers.

How to Interact with your Teammates in the best manner? Tips Enclosed

Why Provide a Good Reference?

A good personal reference is a person who knows you quite well. Try to pick a person who can speak highly of you. If a person doesn't know you well, you shouldn't give it a reference because that person won't showcase your best side in front of your employer.

Choosing a good reference is a must. An employer seeks personal reference when he wants to hire a candidate. Therefore, if you provide him a bad reference - a person who can't vouch well for your strength, you will get back to square one in your job search. The employer would take that reference seriously, and all your job interview efforts will go in vain. This is not what you want at all. Right? 

Check: Tips for Creating the best Reference List

So, give a good personal reference who can back up all your claims about your past jobs, skills, and other achievements- all you mentioned in your resume. 

Who can be your Personal Reference in the Employment world?

People often don't know who can work as a good reference. The first person should be your best friend. If an employer asks for more than one reference, you need to look around and choose a person who knows you for at least a year. Now the question is, who can you put as your personal reference except best friends. Here is a list of people whom you can consider.

  • A business acquaintance
  • Professor
  • Teachers
  • Academic advisor
  • Leaders
  • Neighbors
  • Coaches

Never choose a person who doesn't interact with you much as he can't define your strength and abilities in front of your employer in a way you wanted.

Difference between professional and personal references

Some employers ask for a reference; they don't mention whether they need a personal reference or a professional reference. What to do then? In that case, you better provide a professional reference. Now the question is, what's the difference between professional and personal reference. Let's find out.

Professional reference

It is a person who worked alongside you for at least six months. Who can be your professional reference?

A coworker or teammate with whom you work on a project can define your work ethics and interpersonal skills.

A client with whom you have been working for a long time, thereby he can explain how you offer customer service and provide some idea to your prospective employer about your work trait.

An immediate supervisor, higher-level management, or department head can tell all about your work achievement, professional goals, and performance over time.

Know: How to Become a HR Generalist

Personal reference

On the flip side, a personal reference is a person who knows all about you on a personal level. He didn't work alongside you, but he can tell your employer all about your lifestyle, characters, goals, values, and integrity. You can't list your family members, spouse, or children as your personal reference as their opinion would be perceived as biased by your employer.

How to ask for references

Once you have decided to give a personal or professional reference, the next thing to know about is how to ask for a reference. Here are some steps you need to follow:

Ask Politely - The first step you need to do is to ask politely from the reference. You won't have to get into too many details. 

Here is a simple line to use:

 "Would you like to provide a reference for my job?"

"Do you mind if I list your name in my job reference section?"

Some people make a big mistake; they list references in a resume and don't think of asking that person first. This might seem like an easy method, but it will annoy your reference. He won't like it when your employer catches him off guard. It's essential to tell him, so he gets ready and doesn't feel surprised when your prospective employer calls him.

How to Become a Train Conductor-Guidelines

how to write personal reference samples

Give Some Time

If you ask your best friend, he might not take some time and say yes or no right away. However, when you approach some other people, they might need time before they permit you. Thereby, it's essential to give them all the time they need. If you need it urgent, tell them about a specific day before informing you about their decision.

Provide Job Description

In case your reference permits you to list his name in your job reference section, the next thing to do is prepare him. Tell him all about your job role, so he would know what key strengths he can highlight during a call to your employer.

Preparing your reference is a must-thing to do. It would help if you told them what's expected from a job role, so they carefully choose their words.

Get Contact Information

Once you have prepared them, the next thing is to get confirmation about their contact details. Ask them whether to add their emails or phone number in the reference. Some candidates don't follow this step and leave a wrong contact number on their resume, which costs them a job. When an employer makes a call and finds out that number is wrong, it's a red flag that leads to misunderstanding. So, better you confirm all contact details before making them a part of your job resume.

What is a Personal Reference Letter?

It is a recommendation letter written by your reference to your prospective employer. If you are giving a reference for your best friends, you should share a personal reference letter example and sample with him to write a well-crafted letter for you. This letter would recommend you for a given job position while highlighting your primary strength, abilities, and talent.

This personal letter will highlight who you are and what your connection is with the reference. What kind of skills and talents make you the best match for a job opening. Make sure to write this letter concisely. Don't add too many details. Highlight only those essential skills that are relevant to the job. Try to create a connection of the best trait of a person with a job, so employers get convinced and think of hiring a candidate.

how to write a personal reference Letter

Here is a template your personal reference needs to follow for writing a personal reference letter.

Header: You would follow a formal business letter format. Your name will be written in the mid of the page in bold letters. The name will be followed by the contact information, date, and contact details of an employer. In case you are writing this reference letter in an email, you need to write a subject line instead of this header.

Subject Line: Recommendations for John Smith, Account Manager

Salutation: If you know the name of the employer, then write it, else you can write, "To Whom It May Concern." 

Dear Julia Smith, 


To Whom It May Concern,

First Paragraph:  In the first paragraph, you need to use a direct approach. You will say that you are recommending a person. Explain how and how long you know that person and why you are qualified to write this personal reference letter.

Second and Third Paragraph: In this second and third paragraph, you will tell how that person is qualified, what his strengths and qualities are. You can give an example of his good relationship with you. Try to focus on skills that match him as the right candidate for a particular job.

Last Paragraph: In the last paragraph, you would mention why you are vouching for that person by highlighting only key strength and finish this letter with formal phrases. Highly recommended!

Signature: If you are mailing a personal reference letter, write a closing solution like Your Sincerely, and then create a hand-written signature. In an email, you will write your name at the end.


Personal reference letter Example

Julia John

684 Main Street, global town, Block 5 111-111-11155-555-5555 · [email protected]

05 December 2020


John Car Michael

Digital Zone

456 Business Rd.

NY City, USA 14018


Dear Mr. John:

I am writing this letter to recommend Hanna Smith for the sales manager position in your company. Julia was my college mate, and we have been best friends for the past five years. If you want to hire a trustworthy, talented, and motivated person for this job opening, Hannah is the best fit.

As a student, Hannah was a highly dedicated student who liked to set goals and achieve them through consistent efforts. She studies not only to achieve good grades but to get a complete understanding of a subject matter. As a friend, Hannah always shows her continuous support and care to her other friends and me. When my father passed away, she was the one who helped me get through this challenging time of my life. She believes in making and maintaining a long term relationship. 

These relationship-building skills would make her the best match for the Sales Manager position in the Digital Zone.

Hannah would be an asset to your company; I highly recommended her for this job. Please feel free to contact me on this number 111-111-111 for further queries.




Now you know what a personal reference is, write a personal reference letter and why you need to choose a good reference carefully. Once you give a personal reference and ensure that the person has a clear idea about the exact format, he needs to create a personal letter. If possible, share personal reference letter examples with them to write the best letter for your job position.

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