How to Write a Job Reference for a Housekeeper
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A recommendation letter can make or a break an applicant's employment opportunities. If you are confident in your housekeeper's skills and performance, let them know you're happy to provide a written job reference. In your letter, convey how much you appreciate her attention to detail, initiative and self-motivation to show that she has the underlying characteristics that employers look for in housekeeping candidates.
Use the first paragraph of the reference letter to explain how you're acquainted with the housekeeper. If you are a private employer, indicate how long she has been in your employ, and if there's an interesting story behind her employment with you, explain how you came to hire her. For example, you could write, "I'm pleased to provide this job reference for Mary Doe, who has been our housekeeper for 10-plus years. We became acquainted with Mary through our next-door neighbor, who spoke highly of Mary's work and professional attitude about her job duties." In this case, you're vouching for another employer, which lends more credence to your job reference and Mary's job performance.
Describe the housekeeper's skills. Housekeepers who work for private employers may have a number of skills that differ from someone who works for a cleaning services company. For example, if the housekeeper has been working for you for several years, you could include, "Mary has been a tremendous help to our family. In addition to basic cleaning skills, Mary is capable of organizing household matters, such as scheduling appliance maintenance, interacting with groundskeepers, greeting visitors and supervising children's activities."
Core competencies are talents and characteristics that enable an employee to perform her job duties. Basic competencies include oral and written communication skills, organization and time management capabilities, and initiative and motivation. Ideally, a housekeeper with all of these competencies should perform her job duties exceptionally well. Therefore, use another couple of sentences to describe the housekeeper's competencies so prospective employers will have confidence in her ability to meet their expectations. If you're a hotel manager recommending the housekeeper for another hotel job, use your reference to describe how well she works with other team members and how she follows company policies to the letter.
Whether the housekeeper works in a hotel or in a private household, such professional traits as sound ethics, punctuality, discretion and the ability to maintain confidentiality are particularly important. Hotels hire housekeepers who can be trusted to provide guests with top-notch cleaning services, most often when the guest isn't present. Housekeepers who work in private households are likely to have access to their employers' personal information and, therefore, must be trustworthy. It's essential that your letter address these professional traits, because you can teach someone how to make a bed, but you can't teach someone to be trustworthy.
In the last paragraph of the reference letter, sum up the housekeeper's suitability and state that you feel she would be a reliable employee who takes pride in her job performance. Close your job reference letter with an invitation for the reader to contact you with additional questions about the housekeeper.
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Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.