Writing a reference letter can be an overwhelming task as you need to know exactly what to write because someone’s career may depend on it. However, if you follow some standard protocols, this might not be too big problem.
Reference letters are not very formal letters even though they eventually become part of a formal job application set. You can pretty much write whatever your heart says about an employee when attempting to write a reference letter. There may be a few things that you need to mention when writing one. Reference letters always begin with a polite To Whom It May Concern as the writer does not usually know who it will be received by. Starting of your letter by writing This is my personal recommendation or This letter is to recommend XYZ for ABC position is a good way of connecting with a reader that you know nothing about.
Let us take an example here. If you were asked to write a recommendation letter for a waitress, how would you do it? What will you write in it? There is a lot you can say. Since a reference letter is used for employment purposes, the employer needs to make sure that the employee is made out to be a perfect one. You may write that Maria Green who worked as a waitress for you for such and such time was an excellent employee who had a great attitude with customers, was always friendly, knew how to set tables appropriately and knew just when to draw a line. Point out her other good points too; this may include the fact that she is sweet natured and has to work in stressful situations.
Remember that a reference letter is needed because someone is looking for a job. Be fair to them and write a glowing one. A maximum of three paragraphs should be enough. End the letter by asking the reader to call you for any further information needed and sign off with your contact information.