Thank You Note for a Letter of Recommendation

Recommendation letters are a common requirement. People usually request recommendation letters from employers, colleagues, university professors, among other people.  It is always a great feeling when the letter helps you succeed in your application, but do you know you should write a thank you note for the recommendation letter to the referee?

This note is an easy way to thank the referee formally. Usually, it is a half-page letter where you express gratitude in a couple of sentences. It takes only 10 to 15 minutes to write the note, but the referee will definitely be happy with the written feedback.

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Basics About a Reference Letter

A reference letter is often used when applying for a job or for admission to an academic institution. It is sent along with the CV and application letters.

In a reference letter, an author describes the considered person’s character, skills, and abilities. For example, a colleague can write the document as proof of the applicant’s outstanding performance.

For the recipient, this letter shows proof of the considered person’s credibility. When the recipient gets the form, they can contact the author to clarify various questions regarding the applicant.

Every recommendation letter has a particular structure and mandatory content, including:

  • The author’s and applicant’s names
  • A description of traits and skills
  • The author’s contacts for clarification if needed.

Why Sending a Thank You Note for a Recommendation Letter is a Brilliant Idea

Many people ignore thank you note for a recommendation letter and confine to a quick email saying, “Dear so and so, thank you very much for your recommendation.” If you are unsure about why you should deliver a formal “thank you” to the referee, here are three solid reasons:

  • You May Need More Recommendations in the Future

You may have asked for a reference when applying for college admission or a new job. However, remember you might need another job or study in another academic institution. At some point in your life, you might find yourself in need of another reference. If your referee has given you a fantastic recommendation once, it would be a smart move to ask them for another in the future.

  • You Will Show the Best Version of Yourself

If you prepare a decent thank you letter, your recipient will certainly not regret writing a recommendation for you. It is a grand gesture that leaves most of the recommendation letter authors glad about their deed.

  • It is Good Manners

Being polite and thankful shows courtesy. Do not forget to write a thank you note for a recommendation letter when you get what you needed.

What to Include in Thank you note for recommendation letters

We hope that you now see the need to write a thank you note for a recommendation letter. Below is a quick list of items that you must include in the letter.

  • The recommendation letter’s author. The name is written at the very beginning during salutation.
  • Information about the letter’s recipient. Mention where you sent your application plus the recommendation letter. The referee has to know that you sent the letter even if you failed in your application.
  • The date of writing. It is a typical requirement for any formal letters and documents.
  • Your signature (if you pass the letter in paper form). It will prove that you are the one who wrote the letter. However, you can skip this requirement if you plan to deliver the letter by email.

Any time you prepare the thank you note for a recommendation letter, keep in mind that you should follow the structure and add all the things mentioned above.

How to Make a Decent Thank you note for a recommendation letter

Besides samples, we have developed an easy-to-use plan to give you an idea of how to thank someone for a letter of recommendation. Check it out below.

The Heading

Begin by writing the heading “Thank You Note for a Recommendation Letter” in bold. This will inform the recipient about your message’s aim. The font of the header should be slightly bigger than the body.

The Date

You have to date your letter before writing the body.

Your Referee’s Name

You should start with typing “Dear (your addressee’s name)” to show whom you are addressing.

The Results (Main Part)

This is where you elaborate on whether your application was successful. If you succeeded, thank the referee for helping you clinch the position. Praise them and let them know that you would have never been successful without their recommendation.

Another nice thing to mention is that you are happy that your referee found some time in their busy schedule to write a great reference letter. Lastly, you can add a polite sentence saying that you are willing to return the favor—for example, “If there is anything I can do for you, do not hesitate to ask”).


In the conclusion section, write  “Sincerely” or “Best regards,” followed by your name.

Your Signature (If the Letter Is in Paper Form)

If you see your referee often, do not be too lazy to print your letter, sign it, and pass it in person. Your signature should come after the conclusion and your name.

The given plan proves that you will not spend much time making a thank you note for a recommendation letter. So, do not hesitate to write one to thank your referee for their recommendation. Believe us, and it is a nice gesture that any recipient will appreciate.

A Couple of Hints

This is the last section before you get the letter samples; the aim is to warn you about some crucial “Dos and Don’ts” when writing a good thank you letter for a reference:

  • Do not forget to say “thank you.”

First of all, remember to be thankful for the reference letter. Before preparing a proper letter, you can write a quick “thank you” via email, messenger, or in person.

  • Do not postpone writing the thank you note for a recommendation letter

you can write the note in about 10 minutes, so try to write and send it as fast as possible.

  • Do not ignore your referee’s inquiries

Part of these notes is to return the favor. So, if your referee comes to you with any inquiry, never ignore them; answer as soon as you can. If they request something you cannot do, decline the request politely and briefly explain why you cannot help. Always remember to be polite.

  • Make different letters for different referees

If more than one person has written a letter of recommendation for you, it is advisable to write a different thank you note for each of them, especially if they know each other. You do not want to leave an impression of a person who does not respect people, someone who copies and pastes gratitude letters, do you?

  • Proofread your letter

Many people ignore the basic rules of written communication in daily life. However, when writing formal letters and filling out legal forms, please follow the rules of your language. So, once you have finalized the letter, do not forget to re-read it to ensure that it contains no mistakes or omissions.

You can also request someone to proofread the letter on your behalf. Your letter’s recipient will then feel nice when they read a letter without mistakes.

Samples of a Thank You Note for a Recommendation Letter

Now you probably know everything you need about the thank you letter for a reference. To speed up the thank you letter creation process, check our samples below. One of them shows how to thank your professor after admission to a graduate school, while the other is a general letter for any case. You can slightly change the text and develop your letter to any recipient.

Sample 1

Thank You for a Recommendation Letter

___________________, 20___

(write the date here)

Dear ______________, (enter your professor’s name here)

I am writing this letter to thank you for the reference letter you wrote a couple of weeks ago. I have attached your letter to my application to _______________ (insert the school where you sent the letter). As a result, I have successfully passed all the exams and attended the interview, where your recommendation was mentioned. I outlined how you and I cooperated.

I believe that without your letter, the acceptance process would have been tougher. The school representatives were glad to receive it and the information it contained. Thank you very much for the reference letter. If you have something to ask me for in place of your letter, do not hesitate to text me any time.

Best regards,

_____________ (type your name here)

_____________ (add your signature here if the letter will be printed out)

Sample 2

Thank You for a Reference Letter


___________________, 20___

(write the date here)

Dear ______________ (enter the recipient’s name here)

I would love to thank you very much for the reference letter you wrote as a response to my request. It is especially outstanding that you could provide the letter in such a short term despite your busy schedule. I delivered your letter to _________________ (indicate where the letter was sent) as a part of my application, and I believe it massively affected the application procedure in a good way. Your reference was mentioned during the interview, and I have discussed it with the accepting party. They said they were impressed by the received information.

I suppose I would not have gotten the position if you had not helped me because you have highlighted precisely the things the receiving party desired. If you ever need anything from me, always keep in mind that you can reach me out any time, and I will do my best to help you.


_____________ (insert your name here)

_____________ (leave your signature here if you print out your letter)

Published: Aug 22, 2022