How to write a Positive Employee Reference (with examples)

A reference letter is a letter of recommendation from a former company (outside source) to provide along with new job applications and to new organizations. The letter highlights the skills of the person, the qualifications, and the responsibilities portrayed in the former organization. Employees often seek an employee reference from existing companies.

It is essential to keep few things in mind while writing an employee reference letter.  

Think carefully about approval for writing the reference

Make sure that you give your approval to write the reference only if you can write a positive reference/recommendation. Don’t write the reference if you’re not comfortable doing it. It’s wise to decline than to jot down something that’s not a strong endorsement of the person. 

Prioritise job description

Ask the employee for the copy of the job description wherein they have applied the new job. Review the description and then jot down how the employee will be an efficient match for the position. If you will write a general recommendation/reference, ask for details about the position and the industry they are applying to. 

Collect information about the person

Before writing down the reference, it is essential to know more about the person, the skills, capabilities and everything required for jotting down a good reference. Ask for a copy of the CV of the person so that you get a fair idea about the roles and responsibilities that the person undertook in earlier company and the skills of the person.  

Include relevant examples

Mention examples how the employee stood out as an asset to the company. Try to incorporate the skills portrayed and give numbers, if possible, to quantify the success of the person.

Be positive

Always write the reference in the positive sense. Highlight the person as a strong candidate and incorporate words like you would “recommend the person without any reservation,” or you “would hire the person again”. Emphasize the words in the beginning and conclusion of the reference.

Share your contact information

Provide your contact details for the employer to contact you for any further questions. Include the email address, phone number, or both at the end of the reference.

Sample Reference Letter

To Whom It May Concern:

I would like to recommend (name of the person) as a candidate for a position with your organization. In his/her position as (position name), (person name) was employed in our office from (year-year). Throughout the time with our organization, he/she demonstrated critical skills that would make him/her an excellent employee at your company.

(Person name) did a terrific job in his/her position and was an asset to our organization during his/her tenure with the office. He/ She has excellent written and verbal communication skills, is extremely organized, can work independently, and is able to effectively multi-task to ensure that all projects are completed in a timely manner.

Because of his/her effectiveness, I even gave him/her additional responsibilities, including developing a training program for our interns. (Person name) went above and beyond in that assignment, as he/she does in all tasks.

(Person name) was always willing to offer his/her assistance and had an excellent rapport with the many constituents served by our office including clients, employers, and other professional organizations. This would be particularly valuable for your company, as you state you are looking for a candidate who can effectively communicate with people across departments.

He/ She would be an asset to any employer, and I wholeheartedly recommend him/her for any endeavor he/she chooses to pursue. Please let me know if you have any further questions.


(Your name)
Job Title


Diana Coker
Diana Coker is a staff writer at The HR Digest, based in New York. She also reports for brands like Technowize. Diana covers HR news, corporate culture, employee benefits, compensation, and leadership. She loves writing HR success stories of individuals who inspire the world. She’s keen on political science and entertains her readers by covering usual workplace tactics.

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