Dear (Name of Employer or University Official): or (TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:)
If written to a specific employer or educator:
I am writing this reference at the request of (Student) who is applying for (job title, graduate program, etc) with (company, school, etc)
If written to whom it may concern:
I am writing this reference at the request of (Student). S/he has asked me to provide this general letter that s/he may show to any prospective (employer, school, etc.) who asks her/him for references.
If reference is confidential:
This is a confidential letter and should be shared only with individuals in your organization who are directly involved in the selection decision. This letter should not be shown to (Student) who waived the right to see the letter.
I have known (Student) for (length of time) in my capacity as (your job title) at (your organization). (Student) took (names of courses) from me and earned (grades) in those classes. Based on (Student’s) grades, (excellent, good, etc) attendance and class participation, I’d rate (Student’s) academic performance in my class as (rating). OR (Student) worked for me as (job title). OR (Student) belonged to the (organization) for which I advised.
(Student) has a number of strengths to offer (an employer, a graduate program). List qualities here supporting each one with examples. Focus on qualities relevant to the opportunity the student is seeking.
In conclusion, I would (highly) recommend (Student). If her/his performance in (my class, name of position, organization) is any indication of how she/he’d perform in (your position, your graduate program, etc), (Student) will be a positive addition to your (organization, university, etc).