A type of professional business letter, a reference letter is written by a previous employer, professor, colleague or other individual recommending another individual for a position or educational opportunity. A reference letter is exactly what the name implies--a letter describing an individual's strengths. One of the most important reference letter elements is the heading, which when done correctly, indicates a professionally written letter.

Type your return street address in the top left of the page. Ensure your left justify the text. For example: 1234 Main Street would be appropriate here.

Type the name of your city, state and zip code on the next line. Continue to left-justify the text. An example might be Racine, WI 53405.

Type the date you wrote the letter. Continue to left justify this text. An example of a date would be March 23, 2011.


If you are writing the letter to a specific individual or organization, include the name, title and address two to three lines below the header, left-justified. This information is called the "Inside Address." The salutation, e.g., "Dear Director:" falls two to three lines after the Inside Address. This, too, should be justified left.