How To Ask For A Referral For A Job (With Examples And Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 April 2022

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.

Networking and referrals are great ways to open up new job pathways in your career. Hiring managers typically consider candidates with job referrals on a priority basis. Asking for a referral effectively can lead you to more interviews and improve your chances of getting your ideal role. In this article, we explore how to ask for a referral, explain what to include in a referral letter and share a template and example you can use while asking for a referral.

What to include in a referral request

A referral letter includes meaningful and factual details about your achievements and qualifications. Here are some basic components:

  • Greeting: This can be informal when you have a personal relationship with them or more formal if it's a senior-level professional.

  • Acknowledgement: You can include a line or two offering your well wishes and an acknowledgement of your professional association with the person referring you.

  • Job detail: This includes information about your current job search efforts. Let the person know you are aware of an open position in a particular company and interested in getting interviewed for it.

  • Resume: Include an updated resume with your qualifications and previous experience.

  • Closing: Provide a statement letting the person know that you have attached your resume and cover letter to the document.

Read more: Creating A One-Page Resume (With Template And Examples)

How to ask for a referral in 6 steps

Here are some steps to follow to learn how to ask for a job referral:

1. Identify who to ask

The initial step is to identify a suitable person to approach for a job referral. Given the possibility that multiple people can recommend you to a hiring manager, it is better to examine your network properly. You may ask a friend who works at the company you are interested in to recommend you to the hiring manager. You may also choose a former supervisor, colleague or client to endorse your knowledge and skills.

2. Determine how to ask

How you ask the person who is giving the referral highly depends on your relationship with them. Such as, if your relationship with the person is friendly and personal, a casual approach may be acceptable, depending on the circumstance. If you have a professional relationship, you can choose to ask for a referral with a formal message.

Apart from your relationship, the designation of the person can also influence how to ask them properly. If they are holding higher a position in management, you may require valid credentials and professional experience to convince them that you are fit for the position. If the referral comes from a common connection, you can mention their name in the referral request to help ensure the recipient knows the person who referred you.

3. Prepare a referral request

Once you have decided the person to approach and how to ask them, you can prepare the actual request. You may prepare referral requests in written format to be more formal and to make future references easier. While writing your letter or email, highlight the reason for your interest in the role. For example, you can mention having previously admired the company's work culture, products or services. You may follow up on the initial request via phone call, in-person meeting or email.

Related: Guide To Email Writing Format In English (With Tips)

4. Share your credentials

If someone agrees to refer you to the recruiter, explain your suitability for the job role by sharing all your credentials. You can share your recent resume emphasising your skills, qualification, work experience and accomplishments. Sending your credentials to the person making the referral can give them more reasons to recommend you to their hiring manager.

5. Send the job application

Try to ensure that your resume and cover letter emphasise how you are a suitable candidate for the role. If the person who referred you allows, include their name in your cover letter to get the hiring manager's attention. Some companies also have employee referral schemes. Ask whether the person writing your referral is eligible for an incentive if your application is successful. Including their name may entitle them to a bonus.

Related: Tips to Remember When Filling Out a Job Application

6. Prepare for an interview

If you impress the recruiter with your application, they may contact you to schedule an interview. You can prepare for the interview by exploring the most common interview questions for that job role. Consider practising your answers and enhancing your communication skills and other interpersonal skills.

Related: Interviewing Techniques To Help You Succeed In Interviews

Sample email template to request a job referral

Here is an email template you can use to request a job referral:

Hi [Name of person referring you],

[Mention anything in common between you and the person you are approaching]. I am interested in the [job role you are applying to] role at [organisation's name] and believe it matches my knowledge and expertise. I would appreciate it if you can share my resume with the hiring manager so they know about my interest in this position. Looking forward to hearing from you.

[Your Name]

Example email to request for a job referral

Here are a few examples you can refer to while writing a job referral email:

Example 1

Hi Rohit,

I was searching for a software engineering related job and came across the Frontend Engineer role at Wavewood Space. I believe it would be the perfect job for me as it matches my knowledge and experience. I am interested in applying for the position. It would be appreciated if you can share my resume with the hiring manager so they know about my interest in this position.


Related: How To Write A Referral Letter (With Sample And Example)

Example 2

Dear Rohit,

Our common friend, Rahul, told me that the company you work with is looking for a content editor and suggested that I connect with you. Currently, I am working as a technical content writer with Wavewood Writer Space. I have around four years of experience writing technical content and they recently promoted me to the writer team lead in the company.

If you think I am a suitable candidate for the role, I would be grateful if you could refer me to the hiring manager. I have enclosed my resume and cover letter to help you get a better idea of my skills and knowledge. You can contact me anytime by email or on +91 98765 43210 to further discuss my request.


Tips for asking job referrals

Here are six useful tips to consider while asking for a job referral:

Expand your network

You can prefer not to depend solely on family and friends. Former colleagues and mentors may be able to provide you with useful referrals. People you know may also have other connections. If you approach them respectably, you can grow your network quickly.

Related: What Is Business Networking? (With Benefits And Types)

Make sure the recipient is comfortable referring you

Ask the recipient if they can refer you or whether they have enough information regarding your work experience to feel comfortable referring you for the role. If you do not get a response, you can modify your request to ask for someone's contact details. You can also ask if they would like to meet with you to discuss the role and your credentials over video call or in person. This gives them the opportunity to tell you more about the company and role and allows you to prove that you are a strong fit for the role.

Show that you are a good fit for the job

Consider including one or two lines that match your skills to the job role. Examine the job description thoroughly to determine the skills and experiences the company is seeking for the role. Compare them to your own and decide which to emphasise in your referral request letter depending on the position.

6. Proofread the referral request letter before sending it

After you have completed your cover letter, schedule time to proofread and revise it. Check thoroughly for spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes when proofreading. If possible, request the help of reliable friends or family members to provide a third-person viewpoint of your final writing.

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