Letter of Reference vs. Letter of Recommendation – What’s the Difference?

A letter of recommendation is different from a letter of reference, and there are times when one is appropriate and others when they are not. In this article, we’ll explain what the difference is and which is more important.

Motivation Letter for Scholarship with Examples
Motivation Letter for Scholarship with Examples

The Difference Between a Letter of Reference and a Letter of Recommendation

Letter of Reference

A letter of reference, or reference letter, is a formal document written by a company or a business that gives an honest evaluation of the work you’ve done. You will receive a reference letter if you apply for a job, go to school, or attend a networking event. In a job application, for example, your reference letter would be used to show that you have the skills, qualifications, and experience necessary to do the job you are applying for.

Letter of Recommendation

A letter of recommendation, or recommender letter, is a letter written by a person, company, or organization that recommends you for something. You may get a recommendation letter from a family member, friend, teacher, or coworker. A recommender letter will also be used when applying for certain jobs, such as graduate schools or internships.

How to Write a Letter of Reference

Writing letters of reference is something I always wanted to learn how to do, but it never occurred to me that there might be a specific writing style to follow. But now that I’ve learned, I’m excited to share my tips with you!

To begin with, the first thing you should do when you are writing a letter of reference is to write a good introduction. This means that you must tell what the person can expect when he reads your letter. Write a sentence that says:

Hi. My name is (name) and I am writing a letter of reference for (person’s name).

It is very important that you have good grammar and punctuation in the letter of reference. After all, this is the first impression you make when the person reads your letter. So, if you make a mistake and your letter sounds bad, the reader will think you are a terrible writer. Make sure you proofread your letter before sending it. If you are writing about a friend or a family member, always be sure to mention what kind of person he is, his achievements, and his strengths. Also, make sure that you mention the things you appreciate about him.

When you are finished, read your letter out loud to yourself and think about it for a minute. Ask yourself, “Was I too negative or too positive? Did I make any mistakes?” Now, write the letter again, making sure that everything is perfect. Before you send the letter, make sure that you type it out so that you can read it later if you forget any information.

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More Tips

1. Start with “I am writing this letter of reference on behalf of” or “I have the following information regarding.”

2. Avoid vague statements.

3. Do not talk negatively about anyone.

4. If you can, get 3 references (preferably ones who work in your industry), so you don’t need to reference yourself.

5. State the date you wrote your letter of reference.

6. Include at least two ways to contact each person.

7. Finally, make sure you include all names and titles accurately.

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation

The letter of recommendation is an extremely valuable tool for job seekers and college students. Although it is only one part of the application process, the letter is often a deciding factor in whether or not someone gets hired. A good letter of recommendation is thorough and convincing. It should contain specific details about the candidate’s strengths and achievements as well as reasons why the applicant is qualified for the position.

Before you send in your letter of recommendation, you should practice writing it.

Here are some tips on how to write a letter of recommendation

Make sure to follow the directions you are given.

  • Do not use capital letters (except for your last name).
  • Put your name at the top of the letter.
  • Write the person’s full name and address so that he/she doesn’t have to write down your name again.
  • Write the date on which you wrote the letter.
  • Always give your phone number in case the person wants to contact you.
  • Tell the person how you met.
  • Tell the person about yourself and your work.
  • Tell the person how you think he/she will benefit from working with you.
  • If the person has a project that you are interested in, tell the person that.
  • If you have more than one job, tell him/her the specifics of the job you want to recommend.
  • Don’t be too long. The more you write, the better.
  • Write something personal. People like to get to know the people who write them references.
  • After you are done writing your letter, you need to proofread it. Make sure that everything is spelled correctly and that it follows the formatting you used when you wrote the letter.
  • Always double-check to make sure that you have written the right spelling and grammar of the person’s name.
  • You can mail the letter to the person. Be sure to put your mailing address on the back of the letter.
  • Send a copy to yourself and your manager. Then you can compare the two and make sure that they are the same.
  • Make sure that you sign the letter and put your company logo at the bottom of the letter.

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Why Should I Use Both Letters?

I know you’re thinking, “But wait, I don’t need both of those, I can just use one or the other.” This is true for some people, but not all. Depending on who you’re asking, your best bet might be to get both letters of recommendation and letters of reference. If the person requesting the letter is unfamiliar to you, then it’s best to use references as well as recommendations. If you’re familiar with the person requesting the letters, then it’s best to skip the references, and just use recommendations.


In conclusion, the letter of recommendation is much more personal and tailored. It should be a one-page letter detailing the applicant’s qualifications, strengths, and relevant achievements and accomplishments. The letter of recommendation should include specific details of the applicant’s performance and the reasons why the person believes that the applicant is capable of performing the duties of the position.

Frequently Ask Questions

What’s the difference between a letter of reference and a letter of recommendation?

A letter of recommendation is a statement written by someone who knows you well and can attest to your ability to perform a job or task. It can be a teacher, coach, or friend. A letter of recommendation is often used as a reference for a job application.

What should I include in my letter of recommendation?

In your letter of recommendation, you should include the following: – Your name, address, phone number, and email address – Your relationship with the person writing the letter of recommendation – The reason you are recommending the person – Specific examples of how the person has performed well on the job.

What should I avoid when writing a letter of recommendation?

Avoid using language that sounds like a sales pitch.

What if I don’t know anyone who can write a letter of recommendation?

In this case, you can ask someone at your school or work to write a letter of recommendation for you.

How long should my letter of recommendation be?

A letter of recommendation should be no more than one page.

What do I need to know when writing a letter of reference?

The first thing you should know is that it’s a good idea to get references from people who have worked with you in the past.

Where can I find information on writing a letter of reference?

You can find some information on writing a letter of reference at http://www.dictionary.com/browse/letter-of-reference

How many references should I include in my letter of reference?

Usually, one reference is enough.

What if I don’t know anyone who has worked with me?

In this case, you can ask someone at your school or work to write a letter of recommendation for you.


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