Author Topic: Personal Letter of Reference for a Friend  (Read 831 times)

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Outdoor Girl

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Personal Letter of Reference for a Friend
« on: February 16, 2014, 01:33:28 PM »
A friend has asked me to write a personal letter of reference for her, as she starts job hunting.  I'd appreciate any comments/assistance in reviewing the following letter:

To whom it may concern:

Andrea (Andy) Smith and her husband, Bob, have been my fatherís neighbours for many years and friends to both my brother and I.  Even before my mother passed 10 years ago, Andy kept an eye out for them, as my brother and I both live away from [town].  Since my motherís passing, it gives my brother and I piece of mind, knowing that Andy is looking out for him.

Andy and her family have enabled us to continue to operate our hobby sugarbush, making maple syrup each spring.  She is a hard worker and has instilled those values in her children.  Andy is happy to collect sap, feed the fire, haul wood, wash buckets or whatever she is asked to do.  She also does her best to keep my Dad from doing too much, which is probably a more difficult task than all the others combined.

I have no doubt that were it not for the Smiths living next door, my father would not still be living in the home I grew up in.  We really appreciate Andy and her family as neighbours and friends.  I donít know what weíd do without them.

Sincerely,

Outdoor Girl
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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bonyk

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Re: Personal Letter of Reference for a Friend
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2014, 01:53:20 PM »
The last word in the first sentence should be 'me': friends to both me brother and me.

meraki

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Re: Personal Letter of Reference for a Friend
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2014, 01:57:27 PM »
The last word in the first sentence should be 'me': friends to both me brother and me.

In the third sentence, too. Also, it's "peace" of mind.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Personal Letter of Reference for a Friend
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2014, 02:31:50 PM »
I always have trouble with the I and me thing.  And good catch on the piece/peace.

But otherwise OK as a personal reference?
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jmarvellous

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Re: Personal Letter of Reference for a Friend
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2014, 02:46:25 PM »
 I would change these sentences: Even before my mother passed 10 years ago, Andy kept an eye out for them, as my brother and I both live away from [town].  Since my motherís passing, it gives my brother and I piece of mind, knowing that Andy is looking out for him.

To this:  Andy has kept an eye out for my parents for many years, which we appreciate even more since my mother passed 10 years ago. Knowing that Andy is looking out for my father gives us peace of mind.

... And I might ask your friend if this is actually the sort of letter she's looking for. While it's very sweet and heartfelt, if I were employer looking for a serious employee, I might read it as, "This potential employee has a LOT on her plate! She is far too busy to be a dedicated worker."

Have you considered making it more about her character and less about her actual tasks completed for your family?

TootsNYC

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Re: Personal Letter of Reference for a Friend
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2014, 02:56:12 PM »
Focus on what an employer wants to know about Andy:
1) is she reliable? Does she do what she says she will do?
2) does she have home/life skills that translate to a work situation?
3) does she have her life together--or is she a hot mess whose personal disorder will impact the workplace?

This is a place to be specific about job skills that an employer would value.
And while you appreciate her greatly and are grateful to her, you're not talking to her, and that also brings in a debt you owe her that might cloud your judgment, so I'd downplay that. Plus it's distracting, and it takes up space that could better be used to speak about Andy's strengths that an employer might care about.

A friend has asked me to write a personal letter of reference for her, as she starts job hunting.  I'd appreciate any comments/assistance in reviewing the following letter:

To whom it may concern:

Andrea (Andy) Smith and her husband, Bob, have been my fatherís neighbours for many years and friends to both my brother and I. Even before my mother passed 10 years ago, Andy kept an eye out for them, as my brother and I both live away from [town].  Since my motherís passing, it gives my brother and I piece of mind, knowing that Andy is looking out for him.This is not about your family's debt to Andy--it's about how long you have known her (continuity of knowledge) and how closely you have been able to observe her (depth and nuance of knowledge). Focus on the idea that you've known her a long time and have many opportunities to observe her personality and skills in many situations.

Andy and her family This is not about her family  have enabled us to continue to operate our hobby sugarbush, this is not about your hobbymaking maple syrup each spring.  She is a hard worker and has instilled those values in her children.  Andy is happy to collect sap, feed the fire, haul wood, wash buckets or whatever she is asked to do.  clarify her role here--is she an employee? Does she do this as a favor? And focus on what this means to an employer--is she reliable? Does she set a schedule and follow it through?She also does her best to keep my Dad from doing too much, which is probably a more difficult task than all the others combined.It's not about your dad; though, how could this translate into a job skill or job personality that would make her valuable to an employer? Play this up a bit perhaps, *not* in how it affects you, but in the fact that you've seen her in a non-social situation, where work is involved, and you've seen her initiative, her being unafraid of hard work, able perhaps to balance the repetitious, seemingly tedious and very physical work of tapping with the ability to plan a day's activities and manage a difficult personality. See how those are work-specific?

I have no doubt that were it not for the Smiths living next door, my father would not still be living in the home I grew up in.  We really appreciate Andy and her family as neighbours and friends. I donít know what weíd do without them.This is not a letter of appreciation; it's a letter of recommendation--so say something like, "I can wholeheartedly recommend Andy for any position that requires these personality traits (self-starter, initiative, hard work, good communication skills/dealing w/ difficult people, organization, focus on detail, whatever you think Andy genuinely has)

Sincerely,

Outdoor Girl

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Personal Letter of Reference for a Friend
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2014, 03:30:35 PM »
This is a personal reference.  I can't really speak to job skills; I don't know that information as I've never worked with her, beyond what I've written.

I intended the letter to be more about her character than about any skills she may or may not have.  I can't speak to those.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Personal Letter of Reference for a Friend
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2014, 03:39:44 PM »
This is a personal reference.  I can't really speak to job skills; I don't know that information as I've never worked with her, beyond what I've written.

I intended the letter to be more about her character than about any skills she may or may not have.  I can't speak to those.

But you are focusing on your own feelings, not her character.

her character would be:
-she shows up when she says she will
-she has an orderly life
-she is pleasant to be around
-she has demonstrated honesty, integrity, friendliness, calm in crisis, resourcefulness.

Your original text addresses "we would be lost" "we feel" and similar ideas.

Try to write sentences that say "Andy is..." "Andy does..."

Amara

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Re: Personal Letter of Reference for a Friend
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2014, 04:27:30 PM »
Toots is right; even though you have never worked with her and don't know her specific job skills you do know her as a person and what you need to focus on in your letter is how what you know about her would translate to the workplace. First, I quoted your letter, then wrote a variation below. Feel free to use whatever parts work for you.

Quote
Andrea (Andy) Smith and her husband, Bob, have been my fatherís neighbours for many years and friends to both my brother and I.  Even before my mother passed 10 years ago, Andy kept an eye out for them, as my brother and I both live away from [town].  Since my motherís passing, it gives my brother and I piece of mind, knowing that Andy is looking out for him.

Andy and her family have enabled us to continue to operate our hobby sugarbush, making maple syrup each spring.  She is a hard worker and has instilled those values in her children.  Andy is happy to collect sap, feed the fire, haul wood, wash buckets or whatever she is asked to do.  She also does her best to keep my Dad from doing too much, which is probably a more difficult task than all the others combined.

I have no doubt that were it not for the Smiths living next door, my father would not still be living in the home I grew up in.  We really appreciate Andy and her family as neighbours and friends.  I donít know what weíd do without them.

I have known Ms. Smith for xx years, both as a neighbor and as friends to my parents. She has proven herself reliable and stable. As a business partner and assistant in our mutual hobby of sugarbushing, she does whatever needs to be done--from hauling wood to bottling the product-- to get the job done. She is calm in urgent situations. Her trustworthiness has been proven repeatedly over the past xx years when my brother and I left town and she watched over my parents, ensuring that they got to their doctor appointments and had groceries. Since my mother died ten years ago, she has continued to check in on my father periodically to see that his personal care attendants and nurses are performing up to par. Her sense of responsibility never exceeds the proper boundaries but enables my brother and I to feel that things run smoothly between our visits.

I would recommend Ms. Smith for any position where a strong sense of responsibility is required. She is personable, capable, learns quickly and thoroughly, is not afraid to ask questions, ensures that her part of any work is complete, performs in a respectful manner, and handles responsibility well.

bopper

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Re: Personal Letter of Reference for a Friend
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2014, 04:34:46 PM »
Andy is happy to collect sap, feed the fire, haul wood, wash buckets or whatever she is asked to do.  She also does her best to keep my Dad from doing too much, which is probably a more difficult task than all the others combined.

 
I would expand on this.   What, truthfully to your knowledge, are Andy's strengths?
She can do many tasks? She does them cheerfully? she does them efficiently? she manages your Dad? Reliable?  These are all skills that an employer would like.  So maybe something like this:

Andy has worked with our family for many years doing a variety of tasks related to maple syruping.  She is quite versatile and gladly takes on  tasks such as collecting sap, feeding the fire, hauling wood, washing buckets or whatever is needed.  In maple syruping, keeping the fire going is quite important and I never have to worry if Andy is on the job.  Sap collection is a solitary task but Andy is self-motivated and works efficiently. In addition, one of her more thankless tasks is to make sure my Dad doesn't do too much.  She keeps him involved and feeling valued while making sure he is not physically over doing it.


Tia2

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Re: Personal Letter of Reference for a Friend
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2014, 04:39:47 PM »
The other posters have good ideas about editing the reference, but I'm a bit concerned about the general reference.  I have always been told not to submit character references at all (except when requested for a particular .  Surely employers want references tailored to a particular job?  Of course, I'm in the UK, things may work differently elsewhere.

Also, as bonk says, where you have 'my brother and I', it should be 'my brother and me'.  The way to check is to take out 'my brother and' to see which sounds better.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Personal Letter of Reference for a Friend
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2014, 05:44:33 PM »
This is a very small town.  I don't know what job she is interviewing for but they've asked her to have a number of references ready to go, including personal references, in time for the interview next week.  That's all the information I have.

She has job references; that's not the kind of thing she's looking for from me.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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katycoo

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Re: Personal Letter of Reference for a Friend
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2014, 05:55:56 PM »
I have known Ms. Smith for xx years, both as a neighbor and as friends to my parents. She has proven herself reliable and stable. As a business partner and assistant in our mutual hobby of sugarbushing, she does whatever needs to be done--from hauling wood to bottling the product-- to get the job done. She is calm in urgent situations. Her trustworthiness has been proven repeatedly over the past xx years when my brother and I left town and she watched over my parents, ensuring that they got to their doctor appointments and had groceries. Since my mother died ten years ago, she has continued to check in on my father periodically to see that his personal care attendants and nurses are performing up to par. Her sense of responsibility never exceeds the proper boundaries but enables my brother and I to feel that things run smoothly between our visits.

I would recommend Ms. Smith for any position where a strong sense of responsibility is required. She is personable, capable, learns quickly and thoroughly, is not afraid to ask questions, ensures that her part of any work is complete, performs in a respectful manner, and handles responsibility well.

I think this is perfect.

Margo

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Re: Personal Letter of Reference for a Friend
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2014, 06:03:28 PM »
Could you ask Andy what, specifically, she needs in the letter?

I like Amara's suggestion. While this is a personal recommendation, not a job reference, I would expect an employer to want to know about issues relaxant to her employment. e.g. Is she reliable? Efficient ? etc.

Set out -how you know her (neighbour of parents, becoming a family friend)
-how long you've known her
- any specific positives (eg - flexible /willing to help out in a wide range of scenarios
                                       - tactful / helping ensure your dad is involved without over exerting himself )

TootsNYC

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Re: Personal Letter of Reference for a Friend
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2014, 07:04:04 PM »
In terms of personal references, character references, you can refer to her integrity, trustworthiness, steadiness, stableness of home life, honesty, and personableness.

Maybe efficiency is a job skill, but stableness, steadiness, trustworthiness--those are things that a character reference would say.

   You have the valuable perspective of many, many years, so that's a good thing to stress--that her personality has always been the same, that her steadiness, reliability, etc., have always been a part of her life.

But the fact that she does you huge favors isn't really the big point--your and your brother's emotions aren't the big deal. And they might make you seem biased, "bribed" or "in debt" even, so don't dwell on them.

Focus on Andy, not on you. As I said, begin your trial sentences with "Andy is" and "Andy does" and "Andy has been."

So: she has keys to your dad's house and is someone you trust implicitly--that's valuable for an employer to know. She is a reliable, cheerful person who is not afraid of hard or mundane work, which you know because of her participation in the sugarbush projects together. She is enjoyable to be around, which you know because you've spent time with her in social situations, in emotional crises, and in work projects.