I like to have reference and testimonial letters addressed to me rather than to "Whom it may concern." Any time you need a written reference from a customer, it helps to give them an outline of what you want, as I did here.
In this case, I was seeking a reference about a workshop I taught. I included quotes from the workshop evaluations to give it authenticity. Ralph and I are still business friends 20 years later, even though he moved 1,000 miles away. Below you'll see my cover letter, followed by a fill-in-the-blanks sample.
July 8, 20—
Mr. Ralph M. Black
Vice President, Human Resources
1700 Broadway, Suite 2000
Denver, CO 80202
Here is a draft of the reference letter we discussed. It is only a draft. Please feel free to change it any way you like. The more it really represents the way you feel, the better.
I'm sending along a letter from John Blue at Texas-Louisiana Offshore Oil [This letter is not shown here.] John wrote this himself. I didn't draft it for him, and it sounds pretty true to life.
You write whatever you feel comfortable with.
I really appreciate your help with this. I think it will do me a lot of good in my future marketing efforts.
I'm looking forward to seeing you at lunch next week. Let's hope the whole group shows up.
William S. Frank
WSF:kam [my initials: initials of word processor]
Draft of Reference Letter / Ralph Black
Just a quick note about your recent Pre Retirement Workshop for us. These were trusted employees with long tenure, and we wanted to make sure they had good help (or, wanted to treat them right).
We chose you because _______________________________
As you know, the first day of the workshop was difficult, because we had misread the needs of the group. But you adjusted quickly, and pulled it off. As a matter of fact, the final evaluations were quite positive:
- "The seminar has given me a little hope that the light is still burning at the end of the rainbow."
- "We appreciate the effort that Bill put forth to get our minds off ourselves and to realize that there is a good life yet to be led."
- "Softened the shock of early retirement."
- "Appreciate the many reference sheets for future study and use."
You did a good job for us (or, you and I worked well together) and I look forward to a long lasting relationship (or, to working together again).
Ralph M. Black