Writing a reference letter for a previous employee, current colleague, friend, or family member, can often be a challenging task. There are times we might be excited about the opportunity to write an employment reference, and at other times you might cringe at the possibility. It really depends on how well we know the person who is asking us to write the letter.
In some cases, our view of the employee’s past job performance might be very positive and inspirational. Other times, we might feel that the employee performed his or her job less than adequately. Then, there are other times in which we may not even be aware of the employee’s past job performance issues at all, either because we were not privy to their day-to-day work habits or because we were in a completely different department altogether. Here are some tips on how to write a professionally worded reference letter.
Plan and Create a First Draft
It is never recommended that the person writing the letter should lie or tell anything that is less than the truth, but we can be creative in how we word certain characteristics when drafting our employment reference. Sitting down in advance of writing the letter and creating a first draft, perhaps listing a few critical points that we would like to highlight, will save a lot of stress and time when it comes to completing the final version. Keep in mind, the letter that is finally submitted to our friend, colleague, or previous employee may be viewed by numerous future employers of that person for many years to come.
Be as specific as possible when writing your reference letter, backing up key professional strengths with positive examples of work performance. An example might be in stating that the employee is very “detail oriented”. Support this claim by giving past examples on the job of how the employee displayed this characteristic. Was she excellent at meeting deadlines? Was he very thorough in researching new analytic procedures? Did she document all emails and phone conversations perfectly and accurately? Giving specific examples in your employment reference will lend credibility and authority.
What Makes them Different?
Keep in mind that your previous employee, friend, or colleague is going to be competing with hundreds or perhaps even thousands of other applicants the same position. Try to provide some valuable insight to the reader of the reference letter by clearly stating what makes this person different from all the rest. Why should the potential employer hire this individual immediately and without question? Never include anything negative into your writing. Rather, simply choose to ignore these less than impressive characteristics while focusing on their strengths and accomplishments.
There are a great many employment reference example letters that can be found online, if beginning from scratch seems too difficult. Simply copy one of these letters and fill in the blanks as we stated above. Always be sure to proofread the final version before handing it over to your previous employee. Grammatical errors, missing punctuation, and bad spelling will not only reflect poorly on you as the writer but also on the person for whom you are writing the reference letter in the first place.
BUSINESS WRITING LESSON: How to Write a Press Release
What is a Press Release?
A press release is also known as a news release, press statement, video release, or media release. It is a concise and compelling news story that is intended to target certain members of the media.
The goal is to spark the interest of a publication or a journalist. A quality press release contains the following essential information: who, what, when, where, how, and why. A good press release is going to read similar to a news story.
Essential Tips for Writing a Press Release
The content of a press release should always be considered newsworthy. The Press Release (PR) will be picked up by journalists and news editors worldwide so its essential that you have a distinct message deliver.
Start out by telling the reader the importance of reading the press release.
The first ten words should be effective and powerful (they are the most important). Think of the opening lines is a headline news story that you would read in your daily newspaper.
Use simple language. A press release should never be filled with verbosity. Use “Plain English” wherever possible and avoid clichés such as “Last but not least”. In addition, be very careful when using industry specific jargon and ensure that your intended audience will understand such terms. Also avoid the excessive use of adjectives.
Stick to the facts. A press release is meant to be informative.
Include as much contact information as possible. This includes the name of the business, the number, media contact, address, etc.
Include an “About Us” paragraph: 2 or 3 informative sentences at the end of the press release. Many newswires will not accept a press release without these details
Press releases should always be written in third person and in a journalistic style.
Why is a Press Release Beneficial?
Any business or working professional can benefit from a press release. This is largely because it is a relatively inexpensive way to gain exposure. It is also a great way for a person to establish himself or herself as an expert within a specific industry.
A press release is also a perfect technique for getting information to a wider target audience and acquiring new customers. Investors like to use press releases to keep informed about certain businesses and organizations.
BUSINESS WRITING LESSON: 8 Tips For Writing An Effective Business Report
or How to Business English Reports and Investment Analyst Reports
Reports are an extremely useful business communication tool. They may be aimed at an internal or external audience and designed for many different business purposes – including sales promotion or investment analysis. Follow these tips to ensure you can write clear reports effectively.
1. PURPOSEThink about the reason you are writing the business report. You need to gather all of the information that you will need in order to ensure that your information is accurate and reliable. This may mean that you have to talk to the people involved or you may have to carry out a research project.
2. ORGANISATIONOnce you have your relevant information, it is time to organize it. You must be sure that you limit your data to the goal of the report. You cannot let the scope of the report be expanded beyond the boundaries set. It is important to stay focused on the information at hand to make your report more relevant.
3. AUDIENCEDetermine who your audience is so that you are able to craft the report according to their needs and backgrounds. This is important because you don’t want to bore your readers with information they may already be aware of. Also be careful of using jargon; If your audience does not have the technical background to understand these terms then make sure you annotate each item with a relevant explanation in an appendix.
4. CLARITYDraft your business report clearly with everything you have been asked to include. It is a good idea to include headings and subheadings so it will be easier to follow and enable your readers to isolate specific information. Remember the purpose of your report is to communicate information. Typical subheadings include Procedure, Reference, Recommendations, Findings and Conclusions. Keep in mind these may be different than ones you are asked to use which best reflect the purpose of the report.
5. COHERENCEEach section that you write will have a different purpose. Each paragraph will have one key idea but make sure that your ideas flow logically and that your message is coherent. Using short lists, charts or graphs will help your readers find the data they are looking for much easier.
6. LANGUAGEWrite the report using strong English words that will motivate your audience. The sentences should be effective and properly arranged. It is important to use a good deal of white space along with effective headlines and short paragraphs for clarity. Avoid clichés and old-fashioned legalese vocabulary and phrases. You should focus on using Plain English and be Clear, Concise and Correct: Clear meaning, Concise sentences and Correct English Grammar.
7. REVIEWProofreading is extremely important to be sure that you have conveyed the message of the report to your intended audience. Having another party read the report may also be helpful. Having another set of eyes may help you catch grammatical or spelling errors, factual omissions and organizational mistakes that you may have missed.
8. DISTRIBUTEWhen you distribute the report, it is important that you have all the documents as well as the attachments included and that each person that is supposed to have a copy of the business report is given one. If the report is restricted then make sure it is clearly marked as such.
How to Write A Technical Business Investment Report
Business investment reports assist the reader to learn more about a variety of business plans, the goals of a business as well as business growth strategies. Business reports can either be internal such as within a business or they can be external such as those written for clients. The most important thing to remember is to use correct organization and formatting when drafting a technical report such as this.
Use A Standard Format
There are a variety of writing formats that are geared towards business investment reports in which anyone reading it can easily comprehend. These standard formats will also help you in reducing your preparation times since you will find that you are more organized. Most companies have standard formats that they expect their analysts to follow so you should strictly adhere to these.
Writing business reports involves using logical steps which explain the information as well as related data regarding business issues. The title is the first page of the report and should include the name of the business report as well as the writer’s name and the date.
While this is optional, you can also add why the report is being written so that whoever reads the report will be able to fully understand what problems are being discussed or what options are being offered.
The letter of transmittal is the page that is used to announce the release of the business report. In addition, this page also tells the reader the background. The content page is the part of the business report that has the table of content of the main titles that you will be mentioning in the report. This is the place where you will also list your subheadings if you are including them in your report. Be sure that you include the page numbers which relate to the main tiles and subheadings. Page numbers are usually written an inch from the bottom of the page.
Illustrations, Tables and Graphs
If you are including visual or graphical data then you should include a “list of illustrations” page is where you will mention what illustrations are included in your report. If you have figures instead of illustrations, you should title it “list of figures” instead. Also if you are using tables instead you will title this page accordingly.
The executive summary will provide your readers with a background of what your business report will entail. This is helpful for your readers who do not have time to read the entire report. It will sum up the report for them in a single page. You should include the methodology for your research to let your readers know how you came up with your findings, recommendations and conclusion.
Once again logical organization is the key to a successful business report. The body of the report is the heart of the business information. It should have an introduction, main body and conclusion. Each of these sections should have headings and subheadings. Most word processing programs or apps will help you formulate these automatically.
The recommendation page provides your readers with possible suggestions to assist in addressing the problems described in the report. Always refer back to the specific section of the report and figure or graph that relates to your recommendation.
Last is the appendix where you will list of the sources that you used in detail. You should use standard referencing formats should as APA or Harvard.