Difference between reference/recommendation

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As per the definition given on the webpage of McGill University:

A “letter of recommendation” is one that is specifically requested by someone for a determined/defined employment position, academic program or award application. Generally, these letters are sent directly to the requester and not seen by the student. They can be categorized as:

  • Employment Related
  • Academic Admission
  • Commendation or Recognition
  • Performance Evaluation

A “letter of reference” is normally more general in nature and not addressed to a specific requestor. Often you will see these letters addressed as “To Whom it may Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam”. These letters are most often given directly to the student and kept for future use. Situations where they are used tend to be:

  • Character Assessment
  • Academic Related
  • Employment Related
  • General Purpose
  • What is exactly the difference between a reference letter and a recommendation letter in Academia? According to Wikipedia:

Same More Information About Letters but for Turkey Scholarship you need only reference letter and recommendation letter

Experience letter is a business document which is given to the employee by the employer when he/she leaves the organization. Experience letters mainly addresses the experience part of the employee and testify that this particular employee worked in this organization on this position for this time period. This is basically a proof that you worked for this organization and you have certain years of experience. Most of the time experience letter does not give emphasize on the strong and week points of the employee or how good or bad they worked.


Reference letter or Recommendation Letter is a document in which the writer(academic or professional) gives more emphasis on your qualities and would give analysis if they recommend you for further assignments or not. They analyse the person’s qualities, characteristics, and capabilities.

That being said, there are some other differences between them:

  • Generally experience letters are only issues by the organizations person worked for and are work related but Reference letters can be academic written by your supervisor, professor, dean etc.
  • Experience letters are usually issued on behalf of the organization but reference letter are usually provided by the individual for a particular person.

Following are stock images/templates of reference letter:

and experience letter:

This Two Letter Official Website 


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