Personal reference: what it is and how it is used to search for work

Thousands of jobs are applied for every day. Hundreds of job interviews are conducted every hour during which the job seeker has to show the best of themselves to be hired.

However, if the professional interview and the curriculum vitae are two very useful tools to know the suitability of a person for a certain position or, also, to be accepted in a volunteer or an NGO, they do not make it possible to know from the at most the person.

That is why many employers ask for personal referencesThat is, a third person indicates whether the job seeker says he is what he claims to be, if he would recommend him for the job he is looking for or if he meets the qualities that he states on his curriculum vitae.

Considering the growing importance of this type of document, in this article we will talk about what personal references are, as well as the steps to follow to prepare them and some examples.

    What are the personal references?

    A personal reference is a document written by one person that refers to another. This document indicates data on the work, academic and personal behavior of the referenced person. By stating this it is implied that the person mentioned in the personal reference is trustworthy.

    This document can be sent to various organizations, either a company in which the referenced person is trying to be hired, or an educational institution such as a university or a specialized institute.

    Thus, a company, in addition to having the information obtained through the curriculum vitae and the professional interview, has another source which certifies that it has been observed in these two tools. This gives truth to what the referent indicated when he contacted the institution.

    In many cases, personal references and the letter of recommendation serve the same purpose and are presented in a similar fashion.

    The person writing the personal reference can be a former colleague, employer, family or anyone who has a relationship with the person and who can play an important role in the perception of the service.

    It is worth noting that in a world where new technologies have taken over almost everything, it is very important to take care of social media profiles, as they can be used as personal references. The employer just has to put the first and last name of the person applying for the job in the search engine and consult the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles to get an idea of ​​the type of person who has only The work is requested.

      Steps for making a personal reference

      Knowing what the recommendation letter should contain is of utmost importance so that a good reference can be given. To achieve this, the following steps must be followed.

      First of all, the personal data of the person making the reference must be specified, i.e. full name and identity document. Contact details, such as email address and phone, should also be added.

      This data is very important, especially when the personal reference is addressed to a company that wishes to hire the person who asked us to write this document. This is due to the fact that this type of document will only be effective if the recruiter can confirm the information.

      The reference should indicate who the person is known for, if they have worked with them or because they are familiar. In any case, the relationship should be clarified and how long you have been getting to know them.

      The work performed by the recommended person must be explained. For this, it is also worth highlighting the qualities, both professional and personal, that can help you get hired in the new company or in the place where you want to be accepted.

      Who should we ask for this type of document?

      In the event that you need a personal reference, especially when applying for a job, it is best to reach out to someone you trust but who can offer a testimonial that benefits us.

      The good thing would be that, when writing the document, this person does it in the most objective way possible; however, in practice, it is advisable to highlight aspects that are beneficial and try to minimize those that may make it difficult to hire in the new job.

      Some examples of people you can contact are mentors, former colleagues, bosses, Training / university professors or regular customers.


      Let’s see several examples of personal references used in the job application process.

      1. Example of grocery store

      Who might be interested,

      I, (MY NAME), company selector (COMPANY NAME), have known (REFERENCE NAME) for X years. He worked for me during this period and was characterized by being a professional, punctual and respectful person, in addition to gaining the trust of the customers.

      (REFERENCE NAME) maintained excellent hygienic conditions in the store. He took care of the cleaning every day and kept the kind of rotting and attracting pests. He was respectful of the rest of the store employees, maintaining a good working dynamic and no complaints about it. Although his leaving our company is a fact that we don’t like, we are convinced that he is interested in expanding his knowledge by working in other stores.

      I am at your entire disposal in case you need more information about my former employee (REFERENCE NAME)

      Respectfully, (MY NAME) Identity document (NAME) Telephones: (NAME)

      2. Site of the daycare instructor

      Who might be interested,

      I, (MY NAME), of nationality (NATIONALITY), adult and holder of the identity document (NAME), declares to have known and treated (REFERENCE NAME), since the year YEAR)

      During the years that she worked in our nursery, she treated the children very well, in addition to making them calm down easily and knowing how to intervene in their conflicts. It was a shame when, for family reasons, he was forced to move.

      I hope that in the new nursery he will know how to develop in the same way he did in ours, so I am happy to give a good testimony of his person.

      I am available to broaden or deepen the information.

      Sincerely, (MY NAME) Identity document N ° (NAME) Telephones: (NAME)
      [email protected]

      3. Automotive workshop

      Dear Sirs (NAME OF EMPLOYERS),

      I am writing to strongly recommend them to (REFERENCE NAME), who has been my colleague for X years. During this period, (REFERENCE NAME) turned out to be a person committed to (COMPANY NAME).

      His ability to concentrate, his ability to weld and his total respect for safety standards make him the ideal candidate to be hired as a new mechanic in his car workshop. If they speak to (NAME INSTITUT FORMACIÓ), they will be able to check their excellent grades while studying mechanics. I am available to help you by email or phone.

      (MY NAME) Identity document (NAME) Telephones: (NAME)
      [email protected]

      bibliographical references

      • Doyle, Alison (2017). What is a personal reference? Retrieved from:
      • Total jobs (2017). What are the personal references? Retrieved from:

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