Tips on How To Ask for Job Referrals (With Templates)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 19 October 2022 | Published 17 August 2021

Updated 19 October 2022

Published 17 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Though looking for jobs can be a daunting process, a job referral is a great way to capture the attention of the hiring managers and lock in a more secured position. Getting a personal reference for a job is extremely valuable and may significantly enhance your chances of getting past the resume screening. In this article, we discuss what a job referral is, how to ask for job referrals as well as whom to ask.

What is a job referral?

A job referral occurs when an employee or someone with contacts within the organisation suggests you for a position by making a favourable recommendation. An employee can refer a candidate to a vacant position by telling them of the job opening or exchanging the candidate's resume with the hiring manager. Obtaining a genuine reference from a trustworthy source is one of the most effective methods to achieve tangible results in your job hunt.

Related: What Is a Reference Check? Definition, Steps and Tips

How to ask for job referrals

When looking for a job, a job referral may be the greatest method to encourage a hiring manager to take a more in-depth look at your resume. Be mindful to choose the most appropriate approach when asking for job referrals. Outlined below are ways on how to ask for job referrals:

1. Be polite

When requesting a job reference, it's essential to be clear in your request. But be mindful not to be too direct, as it could make the other person less comfortable. Instead, inquire whether they'd be able to recommend you or whether they're familiar enough with your work quality and history to feel confident recommending you for the position. In instances whereby the person isn't interested, change your request to seek a potential introduction, another person's contact information or an informational interview to learn more about the organisation.

Related: How to Ask Someone to Be Your Referee: Email Examples

2. Adapt your communication technique based on your relationship with the potential referrer

There are numerous ways to seek a job referral. You may inquire in person if you have close connections. However, when it comes to acquaintances, you can adopt a more organised approach. Submit your referral request in the form of a professional letter, formal email or private message.

Related: How To Write a Letter of Intent (With Example and Tips)

3. Send a personalised email or handwritten note

Be mindful to personalise your message and be straightforward and specific about the basis for the recommendation. It's advisable to ask in writing as opposed to over the phone to grant the other person time to thoroughly consider your request and how they can go about referring you for the role. Asking in writing also makes it less awkward if the potential referrer declines. Remember to extend your gratitude for their support regardless of the outcome.

Related: What Is a Formal Email Format (With Steps and Example)

Example of a job referral request from someone with a mutual friend:

I hope you've been well. I've been looking for jobs in [industry/role type] for a while and came across one that looks like a good fit: [job role name with a link to it] at [Company Name]. [Mutual Contact] tells me that you are in regular contact with [Company Name]'s hiring manager and [Mutual Contact] suggests that you may be able to connect me with the hiring manager. To view my qualifications and work experience, I've attached my resume, cover letter and portfolio. If those factors persuade you that I would be a good fit for the job, I would be grateful for any introduction you could provide.

Example of a job referral request from a friend:

Hope you're well! I've been applying for roles in [industry/role type] for a little while now and found one that might be a good fit: [job role name with a link to it] at [Company Name].

I saw you had a connection to [Target Name], who is a [job title] at [Company Name]. [Insert what you share in common with the potential referrer]. I would be grateful for any introduction you could make, as well as any insight you may have about the recruiting process. I'm confident that your reference would go a long way, and it would mean a lot to me if you feel comfortable doing so.

Related: How To Write a Character Reference Letter for a Friend

Example of a job referral request from an acquaintance:

I hope you are well. I have recently been looking for jobs in [industry/role type] for a long time and came across one that appears to be an ideal match: [job role name with a link to it] at [Company Name]. I am curious if you have any contacts with your firm's hiring staff and if you would be open to facilitating an introduction. I have attached a couple of lines of my personal introduction, my resume, my cover letter as well as my most recent portfolio, so you get a better sense of my professional experience. Kindly let me know if there's any more information I can provide.

Example of a job referral request from a stranger:

After reading about your company's recent achievements, I'm enthused about the idea of contributing to its success. With this email, I have attached a copy of my resume, cover letter and recent portfolio. I would highly appreciate it if you could take a quick look at it. I am confident that you will find me to be an asset to your company. If you believe that I am a good fit for the role, I would appreciate any introduction assistance you can provide.

Related: How to End an Email (With Closing Examples and Tips)

4. Provide a piece of tangible evidence demonstrating that you're an ideal fit for the role

Provide your resume and other credentials to referrers who are unfamiliar with your work quality and history. This material may contain a portfolio of previous projects and recent works for creative professions. Alternatively, you can highlight your objective and quantifiable achievements in prior employment to communicate your competence.

Related: How To Create a Portfolio and What Content To Include

5. Keep it as simple as possible for the potential referrer to recommend you

Make the referral process easy by always offering to send a referral template to the potential referrer. In the template, include elements such as how well the potential referrer know you, the period of time you've known each other and the key abilities, talents and traits you possess that are aligned with the organisation's values. You can also provide specific instances about your accomplishments that your referrer can include in their referral letter. If the person agrees to offer the job reference, a template may undeniably make their work simpler.

Related: How To Answer 'What Is Your Greatest Achievement?' Interview Question

Example of a referral template:

Dear [Hiring Manager],

My [your relationship with the referrer] has applied for the role of Business Analyst and has contacted me to inquire about some details pertaining to the role's duties and responsibilities. [Insert the professional experience you had with the referrer] and I'm convinced that [Your Name] could contribute significantly here. Would you be comfortable if [Your Name] approaches you later this week to discuss the job? His direct line is [phone number] and his email address is [email].

Thank you,

[Your Referrer Name]

Related: Employment Reference Letter: Definition and How To Write One

Who to ask for a job referral?

There are various stakeholders who can refer you to the position you're aiming for. They can be a family member or close friend, someone you knew from school or prior employment, a stranger with mutual contacts or a complete stranger. It's critical to comprehend why you're asking for employment references and why you're contacting this specific person. You can refer to the methods below to find the ideal person to refer you:

Inquire your university career or alumni department

If you're a university graduate, consult with your career or alumni office and look at whether they can connect you with potential employers. You can try to look at the alumni database to see if there's any acquaintance who may be able to assist. Many educational institutions usually provide alumni network assistance services.

Check with your network

Ask your professional contacts, relatives, colleagues and close friends to see if they know anyone in your desired organisation. Be mindful that a request for a job referral, even from someone you know, won't necessarily be granted. If your network isn't confident or able to testify to the quality of your job, they may be less willing to refer you to the prospective employer as a suitable person for the role.

Related: A Complete Guide on How to Build a Network (Plus Benefits)

Is it polite to ask for job referrals?

It's common practice to ask for job referrals in the working landscape. Don't hesitate and be afraid to reach out to a potential referrer as long as you keep your message polite and amicable. If you're asking someone you know but haven't met in a long time, you may consider catching up with them first before asking for the referral. Be mindful to convey your seriousness, demonstrate strong work ethics and commit to the role you're being referred to as a token of appreciation to your referrer.

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