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It should go without that saying that you should never agree to write a letter for someone you do not know well enough to discuss. Make sure you feel comfortable writing the letter and also make sure you have time to write the letter. The individual who has asked you to provide this recommendation probably has a lot riding on it ? make it a good one!

The first step in writing a reference letter is to determine what kind of recommendation you are giving. There are three general types of recommendation letters.

- Employment references - A professional recommendation letter given for employment reasons is best done so by a boss or supervisor. They should provide an overall analysis of the abilities of the individual. This letter should save the future employer the time and trouble of calling to do a reference check.

- Character references - A reference letter given by a close friend, relatives or other associate. These letters help vouch for an individuals personal qualities. They are useful for a variety of needs.

- Academic references - A reference letter give by a teacher, professor or trainer. These types of letters should speak towards ones aptitude, curiosity and ability to perform in an academic setting. An academic recommendation should include things about the individual that are not necessarily gained by looking over test scores and transcripts.

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