How To Include A Referral In Your Cover Letter In 5 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 2 July 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.

When applying for a job, it can be helpful to consider using referrals as a strategy for increasing your chances of securing an interview. This can involve asking for a recommendation from someone who works at the company or knows the hiring manager personally. By mentioning a referral early in a cover letter, you may attract a hiring manager's attention, leading them to consider your letter fully and increasing your chances of advancement. In this article, we explain how to include a referral in your cover letter and how to obtain one, with examples to help with the writing process.

How To Include A Referral In Your Cover Letter

To learn how to include a referral in your cover letter, follow these steps:

1. Obtain permission

Ask the person referring you for permission to mention their name in your cover letter. This informs the referee of your intentions and allows them to give you helpful insight into the job and company. It also offers them the opportunity to prepare in case the hiring manager contacts them about the recommendation, allowing time to consider why you are suitable. Asking permission is also a sign of respect, which can help build your relationship.

2. Consider the opening

Begin the cover letter as you would normally by listing your contact information and that of the recipient in the header. It is important to list your full name, location, email address and phone number here. This allows the hiring manager to access your information easily if they decide to offer you an interview.

Related: 7 Powerful Ways To Start A Cover Letter (With Examples)

3. Include the referee

It is often best to include your referee's name in the first paragraph of the cover letter. You can start by introducing either yourself or the referee in the first sentence. It is possible to achieve this by outlining that you learned of the position through your referee. You may also explain that you are applying because they praised the company. Including your referee's name within the first paragraph can help attract the hiring manager's attention and encourage them to continue reading.

4. Complete the cover letter

It is advisable to include the referee's name only in the first paragraph of the letter. After completing this, continue with your cover letter as usual. Be sure to proofread when you finish, ensuring that your cover letter is free from grammatical or spelling errors. This can help create a more impressive document and enhance the referral's impact.

Related: How To Format A Cover Letter (With Example)

5. Share a copy

It is good practice to share a copy of the cover letter with your referee after submitting the application. This allows them to consider the same information that the hiring manager receives, which can prepare them for any discussion the latter initiates. It is also important to thank them for acting as your referee.

How To Obtain A Referral

Follow these steps to secure a referral for your cover letter:

1. Build a professional network

Establishing a professional network can help you locate individuals to approach for a referral. Consider staying in contact with former classmates, family friends and other professionals you may encounter throughout your career. This allows you to ask members of your network about job leads and other opportunities. Often, companies offer incentives to employees who refer new appointees, so many professionals may be willing to provide a recommendation.

Related: What Is A Peer-To-Peer Network?

2. Find a job opening

After building a strong professional network, note which companies your contacts work for. This can help you determine whether to use any of these professionals for a referral. You can then visit the company's website to see if they have any job openings. If they do, you can contact the professional within your network to ask more questions about their job and experience of working for the company. Taking this approach can help you understand more about the company and create a stronger application.

Related: Guide: Using Job Search

3. Determine the referee's relationship with the hiring manager

It is helpful to find out if the professional referring you has a good relationship with the hiring manager. You can ask your referee directly or investigate the company structure to determine how they may interact. If you choose a referee who has a good relationship with the hiring manager, you may improve your chances of securing an interview. Learning more about this relationship can also allow you to understand the company better and help you determine if it is likely to fit your employment needs.

4. Ask for a recommendation

After you have determined that you wish to apply for a position, this is the time to ask the professional in question if they can act as a referee. Obtaining permission is important, as it demonstrates a sign of respect. This step can also help you decide whether to continue searching for a referral. If the professional declines your request, you might consider still applying for the position without a referral or contacting someone else within your network.

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

Why Might You Include A Referral?

Hiring managers regularly rely on referral recommendations to fill positions. A trusted referral that offers a compelling recommendation can act as a powerful testament to your work ethic. It can highlight how your strengths are a great match for the role. Including a referral can often give you an advantage over other candidates and increase your likelihood of earning the position. Companies may offer incentives to both employees and new appointees who use a referral. These often include a monetary bonus.

Referral Cover Letter Example

Consider these examples when writing your cover letter to give you ideas for including your reference:

Example 1

The following illustrates how you might include your reference in the first sentence while sharing your connection to the referee, which can strengthen the recommendation's effect. Consider this example:

Dear Ms Das,

Jamini Sarkar, the community outreach manager at Vivek's Corporation, highly recommended the social media specialist position to me. Jamini and I worked together for several years while coordinating continued education events. She believes my marketing experience and aptitude for engaging audiences can have a profound impact on the organisation.

Related: Short Cover Letter Sample (With Helpful Steps and Tips)

Example 2

Consider this example for an alternate way to include a referral:

Dear Mr Pandey,

Raj Sharma suggested I contact you regarding the customer service representative position at Shrutu's Fashion. I met Raj last year when we volunteered together at a local mobile food bank. Working closely together allowed her to identify my ability to connect with others, which is why she referred me to this role on your team.

Example 3

It can also be helpful to include a referral by complimenting the company. Here is how you might do this:

Dear Ms Ray,

I am contacting you to express my interest in the position of marketing specialist at Excellent Company. Ali Ahmed, a copywriter for the marketing team, informed me about this position and recommended that I apply. After she highlighted your company's success in the latest product release and outlined its management style, I became excited by the opportunity to work for such a noteworthy organisation.

Example 4

Here is another example of how to incorporate a referral:

Dear hiring manager,

I am writing to apply for the position of administrative secretary at Vivek's Corporation. Malini Iyer, the finance department manager at the company, recommended me for this position after learning of my skills in navigating office software and communicating with others. I am a recent graduate of Greater University, where I earned a bachelor's degree in information technology management. I was fortunate to attend a seminar about data security that Mo Sabine led, where she talked good things about Vivek's Corporation, prompting me to submit my application.

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