Job Search: Asking For A Job Referral
When you are interested in a job and someone refers you, you can mention that in your covering letter. It will mean you start ahead of the field. Having a referral is having a recommendation.
When you identify a job you wish to apply for check your network for contacts with the right connections – LinkedIn is great for this. If you can find someone who already works for the company you wish to apply to that is great.
As well as LinkedIn, you can also use tools like BranchOut which is a Facebook app that helps you find your friends at companies you are interested in. Search by company name and you’ll see a list of your Facebook friends at the company. Then you can approach them to see if they are willing to help.
You can approach contacts in a number of ways
- An old-fashioned letter,
- an email message,
- Sending a message on a networking site like LinkedIn or Facebook or by, for example, Skype.
It is usually better to ask in writing rather than by phone. That means your contact has time to think about your request and how they can refer you. It is fair to give them the opportunity to refuse and that is easier to do in writing
When you ask someone to refer you, you are not asking for a reference letter. But they do need to know something about you to refer with confidence. You can ask “Do you feel you know my work well enough to refer me for a job at your company?” or “Do you feel you could give me a referral?” That way, they have an out if they don’t feel comfortable and you can be assured that those who do refer you will be enthusiastic about your performance. They will write a positive letter or give you a strong endorsement.
You could always offer to provide an updated copy of your resume and information on your skills and experiences so your contact has the right information to work with.
Don’t take it personally if your contact says no – there could be all kinds of reasons for their refusal and lots that have nothing to do with you.
But don’t feel diffident about making your request – people usually feel flattered to be asked. And if you are asked to make a referral, do your best to help but don’t duck away from refusing if you don’t feel comfortable. Perhaps, you know the person they want to contact will not welcome the approach.
Wendy Mason is the The Career Coach – helping you to find fresh perspectives on your Job Search and Career. She helps you work towards your goals and aspirations, in a way that fits in with both work and home life. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.
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