Character reference letters should be recently dated, short and to the point and very professionally presented. Poorly presented, two-year old , 5th generation photo-copied reference letters full of spellling mistakes and coffee stains will surely do more harm than good. The overall quality of a reference letter reflects directly on the person who is the subject of the reference letter. Ensure you are acting within your authority. If you are acting on behalf of an organization use official letterhead. If you want to help the person a lot then do so, well written, positive, reference letters can be very helpful indeed. Reference letter structure. Addressee/name and address if known. Date. Salutation. Confirm dates, job titles, capacity and salary and benefit details if required. Confirm that the persons attitude and performance was satisfactory/exceeded expectations. Briefly explain the person responsibilities ( optional ). Briefly describe their strengths/skills/qualifications/characteristics. Offer to provide more information if required. Yours faithfully.