Qualified Employment Reference

What is part of a qualified employment reference?

This page and the following pages list the most important essentials and background information regarding employment references.

A qualified employment reference is a document that describes an employee’s career and functions during their time with the company and evaluates their performance.

The word ‘qualified’ means no more and no less than ‘evaluated’. It does NOT mean – as frequently and mistakenly presumed – ‘very good’ or ‘good.’

Therefore, an employment reference with the grade ‘satisfactory’ or ‘adequate’ is still qualified because it is an official evaluation of the employee.

A few facts:

  • Title

    The title of a qualified employment reference is either “Employment Reference,” “Interim Employment Reference,” “Letter of Recommendation”, or “Internship Reference”, „Apprenticeship Reference“ (in the case of an internship or an apprenticeship).
  • Plain employment reference

    Apart from the qualified employment reference, there is a plain employment reference, which does without the evaluation of the employee. A plain reference is only a documentation of the employee’s function within the company.

  • Legal claim

    In Germany, employees have a legal claim to an employment reference with the termination of the employment relationship, regardless of how it ended and how long it lasted or whether the contract existed in written or only in oral form.
  • Terms

    This claim always ends on December 31st, three years after the termination of the employment relationship. Unlike in the case of a training certificate (apprenticeship reference), an employment reference must be actively requested by the employee within this length of time. The training certificate, on the other hand, must be provided by the employer in a timely manner after the end of the apprenticeship.

Automatized vs. Individual Creation of Employment References

There is a deep divide in Germany with a large number of employers regarding the writing of employment references as a bothersome chore. They use software which supposedly supplies legal employment references quickly and at the press of a button. The result: employment references without significance, informative value, and appeal.

On the other side, there are professional writers of employment references like us, who prove daily that it is possible to create meaningful and appreciative employment references at affordable prices.


We would like to point out that we do not offer legal advice. We are ghostwriters and will only explain and describe the reality of the world of employment references from the viewpoint of our practical experience from the last two decades. We do not practice law. In the case of legal questions, please consult a specialized lawyer.