What should letters of reference include?

In order to ensure program directors receive the information they need to evaluate applicants, we recommend letters of reference include:

General: 
- A confidentiality statement indicating whether or not the applicant has seen or will receive a copy of the letter;
- The date the letter was written
- The time and duration of the referee’s contact with the applicant

Assessment of the applicant’s:
- Cognitive skills and knowledge
- Problem solving and patient management skills
- Behaviour and attitudinal skills
- Communication skills and working relationships
- Motivation and punctuality
- Sense of responsibility
- Procedural skills specific to the discipline
- Special qualities and unique contributions

If referees are unable to comment on a specific component of an applicant’s performance in any of the above categories, they should indicate that they have not observed or do not have knowledge of that specific component in their letter.

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