Writing a Thank You Letter for a Reference

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Writing a thank you letter for reference is just as important as asking for a reference letter. Thanking someone for being your reference not only makes them feel appreciated, but also creates better prospects of future referrals from them. This article can help you when writing a thank you letter for a reference by taking you step by step with some examples that you can follow.

Why is it important to write a thank you letter for a reference?

By writing a reference letter or speaking on your behalf, that person is taking extra time from their busy schedule to help you with your job search. Expressing your gratitude for a reference tells your professor, manager, coworker or mentor that you appreciate their time and efforts. This gesture can help build your connections in business and academic life, along with being a reflection of your good manners. Showing honest gratitude is typically a simple measure to take. 

Sending a thank you email is one method to show your appreciation. However, it can be more meaningful to send a thank you card or letter for reference for a job. Such a letter may be delivered in person or by mail.

How to write a thank you email for a reference

Here are some important steps to take when writing a thank you email for a reference:

1. Firstly, write a clear and concise subject line with specific reference to the referral

You should ensure that the subject of your email identifies the reason why you are writing this letter. 

2. Secondly, write your thank you letter

This part of the email or is the main section for conveying your sincerity. You may mention the circumstances that led you to ask for their referral and how important it was to you to receive their recommendation. It is courteous to express your appreciation for their time.

3. Next, include a special acknowledgment to signify the importance of the referral

Letting your recipient know how meaningful their reference was is crucial. You may acknowledge this by simply saying, for example, ‘I know your kind words helped me in getting the job.’

4. Then, end your email with a proper closing

You should ensure that your email still follows a standard business format. End your email with an appropriate closing and your full name. For example, ‘With sincere thanks’ or ‘Best regards’ are options you can use for either an acquaintance or a business associate. 

5. Finally, proofread for correct grammar and accurate spelling

Your email should give a formal impression. Make sure all words and proper nouns are spelled correctly. You should also take care with the structure and paragraphing of the email. Breaking up large blocks of text into smaller paragraphs will improve readability. 

Template for a thank you letter to a reference

Here is a template you can use when writing a thank you email for a job recommendation:

Subject Line: Reference for [Your name] 

Dear [Recipient’s name],

[Open with a statement of gratitude]

[Summarize the status of your job search]

[Close by thanking the recipient again]

[Complimentary closing phrase],

[Your name]

Examples of a thank you letter to a reference

Here are some examples of letters you can use as guidelines when writing a thank you to a reference: 

Example of a thank you email to a reference:

Subject Line: Reference for Elijah Mason

Dear Ava,

Thanks a lot for providing me the reference for Dominic’s Pet Grooming. I had an excellent interview with the shop owner, and I expect to get a response from him soon.
I am excited about my work in this position and am quite hopeful that I will get the job. I genuinely appreciate your support and endorsement. I am confident that I was called for an interview based on your reference.


Example of a hand-written thank you note to a reference:

Dear Dr. Carter,

I sincerely appreciate your referral during my interview process with the WorkLab Company. Greg Jones called to inform me that I have been selected for the job.
Your assistance and support mean a lot to me. I am sure that the hiring manager trusted your confidence regarding my abilities in making the company’s hiring decision.

Best regards,
John Trevor

Example of a hard-copy thank you letter to a reference:

Brad Murphy
12345 Gallagher St.
Atlanta, Georgia 12345

October 30, 2019

Maria Chapman
Director of Marketing
Mitchell Marketing & Associates
123 Woodward Blvd.
Atlanta, Georgia 121345

Dear Ms. Chapman:

Even though I am waiting to hear back about my job application’s status from Mosaic Creative, I wanted to thank you for your efforts and time in sending a recommendation letter for me. The interview went well, and I owe a large part of that success to your articulately written recommendation letter! There were many other applicants, but your letter helped me stand out from the others and earn the interview.

Thank you again for your considerate letter of recommendation. It means a lot to me to have you take time from your busy schedule to support my job search.

With sincere thanks,
[Your handwritten signature]
Brad Murphy