How to Ask for a Job Referral: Guide, Tips and Examples

how to ask for job referrals
Created by CakeResume

Need a final push to land your dream job? Getting referrals might just be the push you need.

Job referral is when someone you know helps you get a job by putting in a good word for you with their employer, or by passing your resume along to the hiring manager. Referrals can come from people you know personally, like a family member or friend, or from professional contacts on LinkedIn, like a former boss or co-worker. 

There are a few benefits of getting a job referral. Referrals can help you get your foot in the door of a company that might be harder to break into otherwise. When a hiring manager receives a resume from an employee in the company, they're more likely to take a look at it because someone they trust has already vouch for you. 

Referrals can also help speed up the interview process because the hiring manager will already have some information about you from the person who referred you. 

Sounds great so far, right? In this article, we'll give you some tips and advice on how to ask for a job referral.

Who to Ask for a Job Referral

There are several places that  you can turn to when you're looking for a job referral. Here are some people to consider reaching out to:

💡 Your network

First, take a look at your network. Identify people who might be able to help you with a referral and reach out to them. This could be close friends, former colleagues, professors, or even family members. Let them know you're looking for a new opportunity and see if they have any refer you.

💡 Career center/alumni office 

If you're a student or recent graduate, your career center or alumni office can be a great resource. These offices typically keep in touch with alumni and may be able to connect you with someone who works at your dream company. 

Having the connections can make all the difference when asking for referrals for work. They may also be able to offer you tips on how to ask for job referrals.

💡 LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great platform for networking and connecting with potential employers. You can use LinkedIn's search function to find people who work at your dream company and reach out to them for referrals.

After you've identified some potential people to ask for a referral, it's time to reach out. In the next section, we'll walk you through the steps of how to ask for a job referral.

How to Ask for a Job Referral

When you contact someone about the possibility of a referral, make sure to explain why you're interested in the company and how you think you would be a good fit for the position. 

Here are 3 key steps to take when asking for a job referral:

✅ Ask in writing.

The first step is to determine how you are going to connect with the person. For professional job referrals, the most common ways are reaching out by email or LinkedIn messages, although if you have a closer relationship with the person, you could also do it over a phone call.

  • Email

When sending an email asking for a job referral, make sure to keep it short and to the point. Start by introducing yourself and explain how you know the person. 

If you're reaching out to a person whom you do not have a personal relationship with, it is best if you can start with a polite and genuine greeting or a compliment. If you know the person to some degree, you might want to catch up with them before asking for the referral.

Then, let them know you're interested in working at XYZ company and ask if they would be willing to provide a referral. Thank them in advance for their time and let them know how much you appreciate their help.

  • LinkedIn message

When sending a LinkedIn message for a job referral request, you can use a similar format as your email. Start by introducing yourself and explain how you know the person. If you have a mutual connection, you can mention that as well.

If you don't know the person well, start by reading their LinkedIn profile and establishing a relationship before directly asking for a job referral. This could involve meeting for coffee, sending them an article you think they would enjoy, or  connecting with them on a professional level.

Once you've established a rapport, you can move on to asking for the referral. You could let them know you're interested in working at XYZ company and see if they would be able to provide a referral.

✅ Offer your credentials.

When asking for a referral, it's important to offer your credentials and explain why you would be a good fit for the position in your LinkedIn message or email. This is your chance to sell yourself and stand out from the other candidates.

Let them know about your skills, experience, and qualifications that make you the perfect candidate for the job. If you have any relevant work samples or projects, make sure to include them as well.

The more specific you can be, the better. This will give the person a better idea of how they can help you and what kind of referral they can provide.

✅ Express gratitude.   

Asking for a job referral can be a huge favor to ask. This is why it is crucial to express your gratitude for their time and help, no matter the outcome. Thank them again for considering you and let them know how much you appreciate their referral.

You could also offer to return the favor in the future or keep them updated on your job search progress. This will show that you're thoughtful and grateful, and will more likely establish a long-term relationship that lasts.

These are just a few tips on how to ask for a job referral. By following these steps, you'll be able to reach out to potential employers and increase your chances of getting hired.

Tips for Asking for a Referral

Now that you have an idea of how to ask for a referral, here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:

💭 Be prepared for refusal.

If you're asking for a referral for work for the first time, it is important to keep in mind that not everyone you ask will be able to or willing to provide a referral. It's important to be prepared for this possibility and have a backup plan.

Don't take it personally if you don’t get the job referral and don't get discouraged. There could be many reasons why they said no, such as not knowing anyone at the company or not being familiar with your work.

💭 Consider your relationship.

When reaching out to someone for a referral, it's important to consider your relationship with the person. If you have a close personal relationship with them, they will be more likely to say yes.

On the other hand, if you're not as close or if you don't know them that well, they might not feel comfortable providing a referral. In this case, it's important to build a rapport before asking for the referral. 

It is also important to want to build real relationships with the person you're asking, not just use them for their contacts. People know when they're being used, so be genuine.

💭 Find out if the company has a referral program.

Many companies have referral programs in place that offer financial incentives for employees who refer candidates that end up getting hired.

If the company you're interested in working for has a referral program, make sure to mention this to the person you're asking for a referral. This could make them more inclined to say yes, as they would also be benefiting from your success.

By following these tips, you'll be on your way to asking for referrals like a pro. Just remember to be prepared, genuine, and considerate, and you'll be sure to get the referral you need.

How to Ask for Referrals: Examples

If you're still unsure of how to ask for a referral, here are a few examples of how you can put these tips into practice. We’ve also included sample messages that you can use in your referral request email or LinkedIn message.

✉️ Formal request for referral example

Dear Mr. Smith,

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to ask if you would be willing to provide me with a referral for the job I am applying for at Carvana Inc, which you worked for a couple of years ago.

I have been a close friend of your son for many years and he has spoken highly of your work ethic and character. I believe that with your help, I have a strong chance of getting the job.

During my career, I have successfully completed XYZ project and ABC task, which I believe makes me a perfect candidate for the job. If you have the time, I would be more than happy to talk about more details with you over coffee or send you additional information about myself or the job opening.

I would be very grateful if you could provide me with a referral and I would be happy to return the favor in the future. I understand if you're unable to help or if you don't know anyone at the company, and I thank you for taking the time to read this email.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Kevin Freishmen

✉️ Informal request for referral example

Hi Jane,

I hope you're doing well! I am currently searching for a job and was wondering if you would be able to provide me with a referral for the open position of a project coordinator at PCGA company.

I have been following your career journey and I am very impressed by your work. As a senior designer at the company, I believe your referral would hold a lot of weight and increase my chances of getting the job.

I am confident that I have the skills and experience required for the job, as well as the drive to succeed. I'm attaching my resume and the job listing to this email for your reference.

It would mean a lot to me if you could provide me with a referral and I would be happy to do the same for you in the future. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this email and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

I'll be in town next Wednesday, if you're free let's grab coffee at that place we love on Main Street?

Best,
Emily

✉️ LinkedIn message request for referral example

Hi John,

My name is Justin and I am a recent graduate of XYZ University. I saw on LinkedIn that you are currently working as a software engineer at ABC Corporation. I have been following you on LinkedIn for a while and I am very impressed by your work.

I am currently looking for a job and was wondering if you would be able to connect me with someone at ABC Corporation or provide me with a referral for the open position of a software engineer.

As the winner of the XYZ University coding competition for 2 consecutive years, I believe that I have the skills and experience required for the job. I am confident that I would be a valuable asset to the team and I am eager to put my skills to use.

I'm attaching my resume and the job listing to this email for your reference. It would mean a lot to me if you could provide me with a job referral or any feedback as a renowned professional in the field.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best,
Justin Shaw

🔑 Key Takeaway:

By now you should have the confidence to nail that referral request email! In this article, we've provided an overview of who to ask for a job referral, how to ask for a job referral, as well as useful tips and examples. If you do it right and with the right heart, there is no shame in asking for referrals. It may be the key to help you land your dream job!

We hope this article has helped give you some clarity and confidence in how to request a referral. Good luck!

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--- Originally written by Candy Ho ---

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