How to Write Reference Thank You Letter? [+Samples]

Thank you letter

How to Write Reference Thank You Letter: A subject line, polite salutation, Your sincere thanks., Acknowledgement, Close the letter

Showing gratitude for even the smallest of favors is a crucial part of professional life. Responding to favors with a genuine message of appreciation is among the best strategies to maintain a strong career network. People take satisfaction from knowing that their efforts to help you are appreciated. A brief thank you message to your reference writer will go a long way towards creating a meaningful work relationship.

How to Write Reference Thank You Letter?

Reference letters are composed to endorse an individual’s professional abilities, achievements, and character. They are often under-appreciated, which bellies the vital role they play in your job application’s success. This is why you need to show appreciation when someone takes on that burden to support you. So, you’re convinced you’ve decided to write a thank you letter, but you don’t know how to start. The truth is your delivery carries weight. Follow these steps when drafting a thank you letter. 

Pick a relevant medium

The first step is deciding on the best way to send your message, whether in the form of a handwritten note, a typewritten letter, or an email. It would help if you considered what medium your reference prefers; it won’t send a message they won’t read. Several people will prefer to deliver the message in person, but it might not always be the best option. You are best served to stick with a medium you’ve used in the past and feel comfortable with.

Keep your message short and sweet

This is especially vital if you plan to send your letter as an email. Your reference writer might be busy and not want to scroll through a long message. Here are the basics to include in your message outline:

  • A subject line introduces your message and gets the reference’s attention. Even typewritten letters need to carry a subject line that clearly states your purpose. 
  • Use a polite salutation. You can address the reference writer with a polite greeting as “Dear [John Doe].” 
  • Your sincere thanks. Go straight to the point and sincerely express your gratitude. Acknowledge the trust they showed in you and the importance of the reference in your job application.
  • Share any updates concerning your job application. 
  • Close your message with the level of formality that applies to your relationship with the reference writer. It could be “Yours Sincerely” or simply “Regards” for more formal options.

Crosscheck for spelling and grammatical errors

The whole point of writing a thank you letter is to make a good impression on the reference writer. Spelling and grammatical errors get in the way of that, so make sure you go through your message and fix them.

Don’t leave it late!

Be prompt with your response; make sure you show your appreciation as soon as you get the reference. 

Thank You Letter Samples

Still not sure about what you need to do? Use these examples as a guide to write the perfect thank you letter.

Example 1

 Subject [Reference Jack Johnson]

Dear Hilda,

I want to say thank you for being a reference for the Sales Executive role in Gazebo Front PLC. I have been invited to meet the hiring manager to discuss the next step in the recruitment process. The reception of my application has been overwhelmingly positive.

I appreciate your efforts and support. I believe your endorsement played a major part in the positive responses my application got.

Thank you again for believing in me.


Jack Johnson.

Example 2 

Subject line: [Reference Thomas Lorre]

Dear Mr. Adeoti,

I want to say a big thank you for the reference you provided for my Hubris Plastics Ltd job application. The hiring manager just contacted me to offer me the position.

Your endorsement went a long way towards securing the job, and I am grateful for your support. Thank you once again, I appreciate your help.

Warm regards,

Thomas Lorre.

Example 3

Subject line: [Reference Charles Rook]

Dear Mrs. Granger,

I got the job! I finally got my dream position, and I am certain that your excellent reference had a vital role in my success. I appreciate your efforts, finding time out of your busy schedule to write the reference letter.

Sunshine Labs was my first choice, and I resume work next week.  Thank you so much for your help. I hope you aren’t too busy to allow me to take you out for lunch.

Yours Sincerely,

Charles Brook.

Why Write a Thank You Letter to a Reference?

A reference is a vital part of any resume. It is a stamp of approval on your outlined experience and skills. References are important because people often include false details or exaggerate the truth in their resumes. The reference writer vouches for the accuracy of the claims you make in your resume. This clearly demonstrates the role of a reference in the success or failure of your job application, making a thank you message the right way to go. Still not convinced? Here are a few more reasons:

Showing gratitude displays integrity

Integrity can help you achieve a lot in the professional world. Professionals respond positively to people who display this trait. Genuine acts of appreciation are one way to show the reference writer that you belong in this elite group.

It helps you grow your professional network

Worth mentioning again, gratitude helps you create a network of meaningful professional relationships to encourage growth in your chosen profession. A thank you note is an investment into your career growth, which can pay huge dividends in the future.

Who can be your reference?

  1. One must first have the appropriate qualifications before taking on the responsibility of writing someone a reference letter. Anything less could mean trouble down the line. 

  2. Deciding who to ask can be a tough task. You’re asking someone to stake their name and reputation on you, which is a big ask. This is especially true when the person has tons of responsibilities and a busy schedule.

  3. No matter how little, a reference writer commits valuable energy and time towards supporting your professional goals. This is an extra incentive for you to send that thank you note to show you appreciate them. It doesn’t matter if it’s a professional or academic reference; gratitude speaks volumes. 

  4. Being a formal document, it is vital not to lie or try to overstate the truth in a reference letter. Legal complications could come into play in such situations. So, before asking someone to write you a reference letter, the person should:
  • Be familiar with you. Your reference writer should be close to you and be able to attest to the claims you make in your job application. They can only provide authoritative endorsements of your skills and abilities if they know you well.
  • Be able to write a relevant reference letter. Your reference writer should be someone who is in the position to offer an insightful reference that will benefit subsequent job applications. This works best when the reference writer is someone you have work experience with.
  • Be able to supply an honest reference. Your reference writer should be unbiased and be able to give an honest appraisal of your professional abilities.

When do you need a reference letter?

Reference letters are required in several different circumstances. Here are some such situations where there might be need for a reference letter:

  • When you submit a job application, you may need a reference to support the claims you make in your documents.
  • In a case where you pass the interview stage of the hiring process, you could need a reference letter to sign the contract and commence work.
  • Students who apply to study academic courses abroad also need to submit reference letters.
  • Businesses take advantage of reference letters to use as testimonials. It’s an excellent way of showcasing their expertise and reliability.
  • A landlord could ask would-be tenants to supply a reference letter with proof of their financial standing. This helps them weed out possible rent defaulters.

Is It Always A Good Idea to Send A Thank You A Letter Via Email?

Most people opt for an email when it comes to sending a thank you message. However, this isn’t always a great choice. There are times when other options might be better suited to the situation at hand.  For example, if the reference writer supplies a handwritten reference letter, you should reciprocate that gesture and do the same. Although, receiving the reference letter by hand requires showing some level of appreciation then and there. This means you don’t have to send an email since you have already said your thanks.

However, taking your time to write back shows the high value you put on the reference’s endorsement. A hand-delivered letter is also better suited to traditional and formal work environments. There is also the possibility that the reference writer has a soft spot for hand- or typewritten thank-you notes. It’s important to play the game on their level as well, and not just yours.

Another point to remember is that physical letters tend to carry more weight and urgency. It is the ideal choice if you want to go the distance on your show of gratitude.

also read: How to write a Thank You Email After an Interview?

How to Write Reference Thank You Letter? [+Samples]

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