There are several reasons you might be tasked with getting a character reference or statement written for yourself, whether because of a court appearance, work application or school. Essentially, it can be requested anytime someone is looking to make a judgement on your character.

When you are determining who you should ask to write your character reference, keep in mind that ideally, it will be someone who can speak positively to your values, personality and abilities. When someone is evaluating your character, they are looking for the qualities, both mental and moral, that make you who you are. Consider the following people in your life as you look for someone to write your character reference.

Family Members
For many people, family is the first place to turn when they need someone to characterise them positively. Of course, this is not always the case. Only you can be the judge of whether a family member will portray you in a helpful light.

Colleagues or Employer
A character reference from a colleague or employer carries a lot of weight because you have likely spent a significant amount of time with them in a professional setting. Of course, if you have had negative interactions at work or proven to be unreliable in some way, it may be best to go in another direction.

A friend who has your best interests at heart can be the perfect person to turn to. They likely have the most stories to share about you and are in your life by choice, which usually means they see positive attributes in you. A friend you trust is certainly someone to consider asking.

Coach, Teacher or Professor
Oftentimes, these can be the best people to ask as they have an objective view on your work ethic and values. Coaches, teachers, and professors know if you are someone who "plays well with others" and whether you're someone who puts in the effort in school or sports.

Do you have a neighbour who you either have formed a relationship with, or perhaps picked up their mail or helped with their groceries from time to time? Better yet, have you helped to care for their pets? If you have established positive interactions with someone who lives nearby, they could be a great person to ask.

It may take some self-reflection on how you have treated people to determine the best person to write your character reference. Before you ask someone to write it, put some thought into how they view you. And then when you ask, do so with respect.

You will want to give the writer at least two weeks advance notice of the deadline and let them know what you need the character reference for. Also, do not assume they know how to write a character reference and let them know you can provide the points that should be covered if they agree to it. To that end, it is always good to give them "a way out" during your ask. This way, if they don't see you in the positive light you are assuming they do, you won't end up with a letter that does more harm than good.

The character reference should include information on how long the writer has known you, your relationship to them, and any positive attributes they see in you. If the writer has any qualifications of their own, they should add them. It also helps to include an anecdote about a time you may have helped them or performed well in a situation. If it is a story that could be related to your situation (for example, a time you watched their kids or volunteered for a children's organization if you have a custody case), that's even better. The letter should also make it clear that the writer is aware of what you require the character reference for. They should close with their contact information.

If you have been accused of a crime and are facing a court appearance, contact Beavon Lawyers. We can provide you with the legal guidance you need to move forward. Call us at 1800 558 533 or contact us online to arrange a consultation.