Reference Letter Samples From a Previous Employer
As an employer, you may be asked to write a reference letter for someone who worked for you in the past. Providing a reference letter from a previous employer can be beneficial during a job search, and if you feel that you can provide a positive endorsement, it’s a good idea to accept the request.
However, if you don’t believe that you can honestly recommend the person for the job, it is best to politely decline writing the reference letter.
No recommendation is better than a negative reference, and there will be others who may be able to provide a strong recommendation for the position.
For job seekers, it's a good idea to review examples of employer references, so you know what to expect when you ask someone to give you a reference for a job. You may even be asked to draft a reference letter for your reference writer to use as a starting point for their own letter.
Review information on the importantance of references, what is included in an employment reference letter, and reference letter samples written by employers for former employees seeking a job.
The Value of References From Past Employers
When a person is applying for a new job, one of the most valuable references to use is one from your previous employer. Hiring managers will be analyzing what kind of employee the candidate will be, and whether they will fit in with the corporate culture at the firm.
A reference letter from the previous employer will provide valuable information - what kind of employee they are, how well they interacted with others, what skills they have, and whether they were competent in their position. It's also an endorsement, providing a positive recommendation for the person's application with the company.
In addition to helping a good employee get hired, remember that writing references for people also serves to strengthen your network relationships. At some time in the future, you may wish to ask a favor of a former employee or colleague, and if you have been supportive of their career, they will have a more positive opinion to share with others.
What is Included in the Letter
In your letter, you will want to include:
- Dates of employment
- The position held
- The company name
- Job responsibilities
- Strengths and Abilities
- Contact Information
The skills, attributes, and personality traits that make the individual well suited to the job they are applying for should also be included. If they received recognition or awards while working for you, you might mention these as well.
You could mention any similarities between their former position and the one they are currently seeking, and provide instances of success where possible. If your former employee has provided you with a contact, you should address the letter to them, otherwise you can use a generic salutation. Be sure to include your contact information, and your title and company.
Sample Reference Letters from a Previous Employer #1
To Whom it May Concern:
I highly recommend Jane Doe as a candidate for employment. Jane was employed by ABC Company as an Administrative Assistant from 20XX to 20XX. Jane was responsible for office support, including word processing, scheduling appointments and creating brochures, newsletters, and other office literature.
Jane has excellent communication skills. In addition, she is extremely organized, reliable and computer literate. Jane can work independently and is able to follow through to ensure that the job gets done. She is flexible and willing to work on any project that is assigned to her. Jane was quick to volunteer to assist in other areas of company operations, as well.
Jane would be a tremendous asset for your company and has my highest recommendation. If you have any further questions with regard to her background or qualifications, please do not hesitate to call me.
Sample Email Reference Letter from an Employer
Subject: Maxwell Jones Reference
Dear Mr. Green,
I was pleased to hear that Maxwell Jones has applied for the position of sales manager with XYZ Enterprises. Max worked for me as a sales associate at CNE Inc., from 20XX to 20XX. He is a creative and dedicated salesman, who consistently surpassed his quotas, and had a very high customer rating.
Maxwell is a motivated employee, and an excellent leader. Although he was an associate in my department, he took the initiative to mentor new hires, and set a positive example for the team. I can enthusiastically recommend him for a management position.
If you have any questions, or would like any other information, please contact me.
Sales Director, CNE Inc.
When you're sending an email reference letter, list the person's name in the subject line of the message. Include your contact information in your signature, so it easy to get it touch with you for any questions or clarification.
More Reference Letter Samples
Sample reference letters and recommendation letters, letter samples for character references, and letters asking for a reference.
Related Articles: Employment References | Professional References | Student References | Personal and Character References
Tips for Writing a Letter Asking for Your Job Back
Did you just start a new job and are already regretting it? Or have you been demoted, laid-off, or fired from your job? You may not be able to get your old job back, but it certainly doesn't hurt to ask. You have nothing to lose by sending a courteous request to be rehired.
How to Write a Letter Asking for a Job Back
- Follow business letter format. If this is a written letter, use the official business letter format when writing your letter. Include your contact information at the top, the date, and the employer’s contact information. Be sure to provide a salutation at the beginning, and a handwritten signature at the end. If this is an email, begin with a salutation, and end with your typed name. For an email, also be sure to include your name in the subject of the message, so your request is read.
- Remind them who you are. Remind your employer of the department you worked in, and your job title. You might also mention how long you worked there. If you worked there for awhile, this will remind them of your dedication to the company. Start by sending the message to your former manager. You may also have to speak to human resources or upper management, but your boss is good a person to start with.
- Sell yourself to the company. Don’t expect that you will get your job back just because your employer liked you in the past. You need to convince your former boss that hiring you again is a great idea for the company. Tell them why you are a terrific fit for the job. If you achieved any big successes at the job (for example, if you helped the company save any money), remind them of this. If you have developed any new skills since leaving the job, mention these.
- Keep it brief. Don’t go into great detail in this letter. You can mention why you are leaving your new job, but keep it brief, focusing mainly on why you think you should return to your old position. If your former boss considers you for the position, you will likely meet with him or her in person. During that meeting, be prepared to answer more questions about why you left your old job, and why you want this job back.
- Ask about other opportunities. Your job might already be filled. Therefore, if you are willing to consider other open positions at the company, say so. Being flexible might help you get a job offer.
- Think twice. Make sure you really want to return to the company. You left for a reason, after all. If you are only going back because it is the easiest option, think hard before sending this letter. Consider making a pros and cons list to consider whether you should return to the job. Keep in mind that if you were to be rehired, you most likely would be starting over as a new employee. Your salary and benefits package may not match what you were earning before.
- Edit, edit, edit. This letter is what can get your foot back in the door at your old company. Therefore, take the time to make this letter as professional as possible. Read through and carefully proofread the letter for any errors.
Letter Example to Ask For a Job Back
City, State, Zip Code
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. LastName,
As you know, I recently started a new job at ABC Company. However, I have realized that the job duties and the work environment are not what I expected. I am therefore writing to inquire about the possibility of returning to my position as Assistant Editor at XYZ Company, which I held for the past four years.
I sincerely regret my decision to resign and if I were to be rehired, I can assure you that I can offer a long-term commitment to the company.
In the interim period since I was Assistant Editor, I have gained experience with new content-management systems, including Drupal and WordPress. I believe these skills would be invaluable as ABC Company continues to expand its online presence.
If the company would consider rehiring me, I do understand that my job may have been filled.
If so, are the other open positions I would be eligible to apply for?
Thank you in advance for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you, and I am available at your convenience for a conversation. I can be reached at 555-555-1234 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sending an Email Request to be Rehired
A request for being rehired can be sent by email. List your name and former job title in the subject line of the message: Your Name - Job Title Question. Include your contact information in the signature of the message, so it's easy for your former supervisor to get in touch with you.
When You Have Been Demoted or Let Go
What should you do if you've been demoted, laid-off or fired? You may not be able to do anything about it, but it can be worth appealing the decision and writing a letter to ask the employer to reconsider.
Review tips for writing an appeal letter, with an example and a template to use for your own appeal.
Suggested Reading: What to Do When a New Job Doesn't Work Out | How to Reapply for a Job