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Character Reference Letter (Samples and Tips)

Character Reference Letter (Samples and Tips)

You might need a character reference letter if you are looking for a job, applying to an educational course, or buying a property. It can be a valuable asset to your other documents. If you have never written such reference letters, knowing how to nail them is important. In this guide, you’ll find all you need to know about a personal reference letter. Looking at concrete examples also may help.

What Is a Character Reference Letter?

A character reference letter is a letter of recommendation from someone who is not your employer. It is the main factor that separates character references from professional references. A friend, relative, business acquaintance, or anyone who knows you can write character reference letters. The goal is to showcase your positive qualities and skills. Such a letter can present you as a good fit for a job in the hiring process.

Also, students might need a personal letter when applying for courses, colleges, or internships. A letter written perfectly can make or break a deal when the competition is high.

In some cases, personal references are needed when renting an apartment or buying property. It can be helpful if you are unsure if your current employer will give you a positive professional reference letter.

What Goes into a Character reference letter?

Although no standard is set in stone, if you take any sample character reference letter, it usually follows the same format and style.

Here is what you need to include in a well-written character reference letter:

  • Contact information;
  • Statement about your relationship with a person in question;
  • Short description of how you’ve met and examples of your collaboration;
  • Information on positive personality traits along with hard and soft skills with examples (it is better to focus on two-three most vital character traits relevant to the job title or position);
  • Invitation to contact you in case of any questions.

When you write the letter for a job candidate, make sure to read the job description. It will help understand what hiring managers might be looking for and what character traits to emphasize.

Purpose of a Character Reference Letter

The purpose of a character reference is to give a receiver more information about a person. It can serve as proof of someone’s work ethic, professionalism, and qualifications. It also presents you to an employer in the best light. It gives more insights into personality traits that could not be presented in a resume.

It can be helpful for companies to evaluate whether a person is a good fit for a specific position and overall company culture.

Who Should Write the Letter?

If it is your first time dealing with character letters, you might need clarification about who to ask to write it on your behalf. Overall, anyone can write a character reference for you. But some people might have more insights into your job experience, qualification, or competencies. Usually, it is better not to ask your direct relatives to write a reference letter. A family member like a mother or father is likely not very objective and cannot witness your professional qualifications.

Also, your former boss should refrain from writing a character reference for you. So who can you ask to speak positively about you in a letter? For example, think about the following:

  • Neighbour;
  • Classmate;
  • Business acquaintance;
  • Family friend;
  • Customer;
  • Professor;
  • Academic advisor;
  • Vendor;
  • Friend.

If you are a member of a charity organization or a volunteering group, a volunteer leader can also write a character reference for you. Your references must know you not only as a good person but also as a professional.

Writing the Character Reference Letter

In a good character reference, it is vital to be honest, straightforward, and support the person you are writing about. There is no need to make up stories to impress a potential employer. Let’s define the writing process with specific details.

Start With a Salutation and Introduce Yourself

The first step is to greet the person you are addressing correctly. It needs to be formal and specific. So not use “To Whom It May Concern” unless there is no other option.

A good example is “Dear Mr.Brown.” After that, you must introduce yourself with a few details and go straight to the point. For instance:

“Dear Mr. Brown, 

My name is John Smith. I have known Ethan Berrow for eleven years.”

In this part, you must also state your relationship with the person you are writing on behalf of. You might be colleagues, teammates, or members of the same volunteer organization. Write about how you’ve met and how long you’ve known each other. Usually, it is enough details about the relationship.

Provide Positive Attributes of The Person You Are Recommending

The main goal of a character reference letter is to back up statements of specific character traits of a person you write about. It would be best to choose the candidate’s personality traits regarding this particular position. To report a character reference effectively, consider what key points are crucial regarding professional capacity. Some of the character traits to write about are:

  • Creativity;
  • Resilience;
  • Ambition;
  • Discipline;
  • Persistence;
  • Loyalty;
  • Integrity;
  • Honesty;
  • Flexibility;
  • Courage;
  • Patience;
  • Compassion, etc.

A character reference letter is usually one page short. It means you won’t be able to write about all the traits you value in your friend or acquaintance. It is better to choose two examples or three at maximum.

Describe Situations That Demonstrate The Person’s Qualities

When it comes to character references, real-life examples are essential. For instance, you can describe a specific case when your friend proved their courage, resilience, or assertive communication skills.

It is fantastic if you remember such a situation about the family member or colleague you are writing about. They may have shown a positive attitude in the face of difficulty. Or they are doing something amazing to the community. Think about what can work as evidence of their traits and skills.

Include Specific Examples or Anecdotes to Support Your Claims

Do not just let claims hang there without any details. It would be best to illustrate them with live examples in the personal reference letter. For example, the person always finishes tasks before deadlines, which is excellent evidence of time management and discipline. Or you’ve worked in a small business together, and they stepped in when you were sick not to endanger business processes.

The more concrete and specific the example is, the better. If you need help formulating it, read a character reference letter sample or use character reference templates for inspiration.

Conclude the Letter With An Offer of Further Assistance

At the end of the letter, let the reader know you are open to further questions and inquiries. For instance

“Do not hesitate to contact me in case of any questions.”

Include Your Contact Information

And the last part is your contact information. In the letters, giving a phone number or email is common. Using social media may be ok as well. But it has to be professional.

The date is optional. It is up to you and the situation whether you put the date or not.

Sample character reference letters

Reading several character reference letter examples is another good way to understand what is expected from you. Here are two samples to consider.

Character Letter Sample 1

Dear Ms.Keaton,

My name is Elizabeth Barnes. I am writing this letter in support of Meghan Jason. We’ve been on the same volleyball team for five years. I also consider myself a family friend.

Over these five years, Meghan has always shown strong discipline, resilience, and persistence. As the team captain, she is a great leader and motivator. Even when the chances of us winning were slim, she always could find the right words to inspire. Meghan is a fantastic coordinator and team player. She organized teambuilding activities for us to recharge and build stronger connections.

We also volunteered together at the community center to help those in need. Meghan is compassionate and always ready to help. Her discipline, commitment, and resilience will be a great addition to your team.

In case of any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.


Elizabeth Barnes


Character Letter Sample 2

Dear Mr. Brown,

My name is Lorence Black, and I’ve had a fantastic opportunity to know Kennedy Jones for eleven years. I’m happy to provide this character reference on behalf of his marketing manager role. Kennedy is creative, persistent, and innovative.

We’ve worked together in company X in the marketing department. Kennedy has consistently demonstrated excellent problem-solving skills, communication, and leadership. He is constantly looking for opportunities for professional growth. He even organized workshops and seminars for our department to advance our skills and performance.

We’ve also worked on developing an innovative marketing strategy for the company. And I was impressed by his ideas and creative approach.

I am confident that Kennedy is a great candidate for the job and can bring many benefits to your company. Please feel free to contact me in case of any questions,


Lorence Black


Tips for a powerful reference letter

Here are some quick but crucial tips for a person writing a character reference letter:

  • Look into the company and its position in the job market. Research what values, qualities, and skills they are looking for;
  • Provide such letters only for people you know well and can say something good about;
  • Be honest and authentic;
  • Focus on the most crucial skills and traits;
  • Provide examples and real-life situations as evidence;
  • Keep it up to one page.

Hopefully, these samples and tips will inspire you to testify to the positive character traits of your friend or acquaintance.

Date: 30 June 2023
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