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All You Want to Know About a Character Reference Letter

Uttara Manohar
A character reference letter, as the name suggests, is a letter that companies/close ones write about a person for clearance in various situations. Their efficiency and character traits are evaluated, where the receiving person in question benefits from such an insight.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
―Helen Keller
While a person's conscience is the best judge of his/her own self, often, people need references and a guarantee from others to prove the positive attributes of their own character. That is when employees need to submit a character reference letter.

What is a Character Reference Letter and Who Writes It?

This is more of a personal recommendation letter. It talks about the overall abilities of a candidate, highlighting the highs and lows of his/her work (if you want someone from the previous company to write it), and proficiency in the office.
It proves to be a kind of eye-opener for hiring companies who wish to take them on, but with room open for rejection if the letter proves to be unsatisfactory. Even people like family members and friends can write such a letter, including neighbors and other people close to the person.
Anyone who has been acquainted with the candidate for a sufficient amount of time, and is in a position to describe certain positive attributes of the candidate can be eligible to write a character reference letter. If you're looking for someone who can write one for you, then choose a person you're on good terms with and know well for a good amount of time.

How is It Different from a Formal Recommendation Letter?

As mentioned earlier, a character reference letter is far more personal and informal as compared to a formal recommendation letter. It is more straightforward, and hence, far more candid than a formal letter of recommendation. It is not focused on economical (employment-based) or academic (student-teacher) experience.
Formal letter of recommendation has personal opinions of the writer, and hence, is more subjective as compared to a formal recommendation letter. In addition, a character reference certificate can be really lengthy, and a person can write as much as he/she wants to.

When is it Used?

This document can be used for various purposes, in addition to employment. Although, there are varied instances where an employer requests for one. A character reference letter is also useful for people who do not have an employment history, or people who haven't got enough positive references from their employers.
In addition, it can also be asked in the case of couples who have applied for adoption, candidates who have been nominated for certain awards or scholarships, court hearings, or parole hearings.

Points to Remember While Writing One

  • The first thing to remember is that, even though this letter may be slightly informal, you cannot just include a string of random information in it.
  • The letter needs to have a proper structure, with a proper beginning, a substantial body, and a polite ending.
  • In case you are not sure about what salutation to use, you can simple address it as 'To whomsoever it may concern', and for the closing line, you can use 'yours sincerely'.
  • In the beginning, after the salutation, make sure to mention exactly how you are related to the candidate, and the duration for which you have known him/her.
  • Having mentioned that in the opening, move on to describe the positive attributes of the candidate, with reference to specific incidents.
  • In case you are mentioning more than one incident, make sure to divide them in two different paragraphs, and end the paragraph with the qualities that should be highlighted with every example.
Last but not the least, simply keep in mind the purpose of the letter, and whom you are writing it for.