Ask a former employer for a referral letter


  1. Use a formal greeting, state your name and your previous position when you were still with the employer.
  2. State your request and your reason for this application.
  3. Briefly describe your credentials. Mention that you have attached your resume or CV for further reference.
  4. Humbly reiterate your request and state how the referral would be of great help to you.
  5. End formally.


[Senders Name]
[Address line]
[State, ZIP Code]

[Letter Date]

[Recipients Name]
[Address line]
[State, ZIP Code]

[Subject: Normally bold, summarizes the intention of the letter] -Optional-

Dear [Recipients Name],

Warm greetings! I am Robert Wright, a freelance photographer. I have previously worked with you in your wedding series last year, substituting for Paul Lopez, who was then on leave.

I am applying for a permanent position of a photographer in a wedding magazine, and I hope to request a referral from you.

Although my stint with your institution was only my second time to do weddings, I have worked on several photography projects including prenuptial shoots and fashion covers.

I have attached my resume as well as a link to my online portfolio for your reference. I hope you would do me the favor of referring me to this job as it would allow me opportunities to further my craft.


[Senders Name]
[Senders Title] -Optional-

[Enclosures: number] - Optional -
cc: [Name of copy recipient] - Optional -

Ask a former employer for a referral letter.

Further things to consider when writing referral letters to employers

Further things to consider when writing referral letters to employers

Referral Letters

Referral letters are letters written to recommend someone for a job, review, consultation, or further action. Such letters are common in job application and can really help you stand out from the rest of the applicants and get noticed by potential employers. Hiring managers are more likely to look closely at applicants whom they share a mutual contact with. A referral can be a personal or business connection. He/she can be a friend, colleague, or an employee of the company in which you are interested. A good referral letter can help you secure an interview or job recommendation.

When writing referral letters, you need to know the people you are recommending well enough to bring the best of their skills, achievements, and character. State why the recipient should be interested in the candidate and how the candidate stands out. List the candidate's exceptional skills and qualities especially those that are specific to the position he/she is interested in, giving relevant examples. Write only complimentary but factual observations and avoid giving biased or insincere praise. Emphasize the key points that you want the recipient to note on the candidate's application. Close the letter with a positive call to action.

Letters to Employers

Letters to employers are letters written to people or organizations that hire or employ people. The sender of such letters could be an employee or a person looking for a job. Letters to employers could be of different types. For example, they could be application and cover letters to apply for jobs or thank-you letters after interviews to show that you are still interested in the interviewed positions. The letters could also be complaint letters to raise complaints at work, apology letters to apologize for wrongdoing at work, or resignation letters to leave currently held positions.

Letters to employers are formal in nature and should, therefore, follow the basic layout of formal letters. The letters must be brief and clear so that the recipients don't spend too much time grasping the content. Use the proper salutation depending on the job position of the recipient. If you know the recipient, address him/her by his/her name. However, in instances where you don't know your recipient, you can call and ask. Mention the reason for your letter and provide all the necessary information. Avoid making offensive comments even if you are raising a complaint. Close the letter on a positive note.

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