Types of Referral Letters

Referral letters are used for many different reasons.
Referral letters are used for many different reasons. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Referral letters, also called letters of recommendation, are similar to references and have a wide variety of uses. A referral letter is a letter written about a person, usually recommending him for an opportunity. Referral letters are used for business, employment, legal, medical, financial and academic purposes.

Job Referrals

The most common type of referral letter is a job referral. This type of referral is used to verify the skills, qualifications and character of a worker. Someone who needs a job referral letter often asks a manager, coworker or supervisor to write this letter for him. The letter states how the writer knows the person and includes significant details about the person’s work habits, skills and achievements. The person receives the letter from the writer and gives it to potential employers with a copy of his resume.

Academic Referrals

Students often need referral letters to apply for scholarships or for colleges. A teacher or advisor writes an academic referral letter describing the student’s work habits, grades, extracurricular activities and character traits. Scholarship applications or college applications may require that you enclose referrals.

Business Referrals

Sometimes businesses use referrals. One company might refer a client to another business by writing a business referral letter. This often occurs when one business cannot provide adequate services to a client. The business then refers the client to a business that can. Referral letters are also used for business purposes by companies trying to promote people to look into a specific company. This occurs when a business is very pleased with another business’s products or services.

Court Referrals

People involved in court cases may be asked to obtain personal referral letters from friends or family members. This type of referral is often called a court character reference letter. It is designed to offer a recommendation to the court about the person in question. It contains information about the person such as his qualifications, skills and character traits.

Medical Referrals

Doctors often write referral letters to patients who need further treatments or diagnoses for problems they are experiencing. The doctor writes a referral letter to the patient that states the doctor or type of doctor the patient needs.

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