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How to Ask for a Job Referral (With Templates)

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When someone passes on a few good words about you to the recruiter to help you get the job or an interview in a company, it’s called a referral.

Many job and interview opportunities are never publicized, making it crucial to build a network that can help you out in your career. In this article, we’ll show you how to ask for a referral and move closer to your dream job.

Finding People to Ask for a Referral

A Man Focused on Completing His Work in The Office

Before you can begin asking for a job referral, you need to collect the information of the people who can be used as an ally. They can be old friends, acquaintances, colleagues, previous employers, family members, old schoolmates, and every person in your network who might be of help.

You can dig them out from your existing connections and by networking.

Begin by exporting your LinkedIn connections and making a list of the people who can help. You don’t need to use anything fancy for this purpose, an Excel spreadsheet or a Google Sheet would world just fine.

To export your LinkedIn contacts follow these steps:

  1. Go to My Network.
  2. Click on Connection.
  3. Go to Manage Contacts.
  4. Select Export Contacts.
Linkedin page to Export Connection

According to a study, weak ties—people remotely connected to you or total strangers—have better connections than the strong ties—your friends, families, acquaintances. Therefore, they can be more helpful. So, if you have a particular company in mind that you’re looking to get a job in, look for the people affiliated with that firm. These people can be employees, clients, vendors, or more. Finally, connect with them.

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However, when you send the connection requests to the employees in a company, consider their position and time of serving. For instance, a junior copywriter who joined two months ago will probably not be the best person to get a referral from.

Such people are still getting their foot inside and their opinion might not matter much in the recruitment process. Look for someone working in the company for at least two to three years, and who is either related to the hiring process, or is a senior in the vertical you’re looking for a job in.

For example, if you’re looking for an SEO specialist job, a marketing manager would be the right person to connect with. Eventually, you can add them to your spreadsheet of the allies.

Spreadsheet for people to ask for a referral

Moreover, you can join more communities and groups on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Meetup, and even Facebook to improve your professional network. These are the places where your professional peers or seniors hang out. It’ll help you increase your opportunities of meeting the right people. Gradually, you can engage and connect with them on a professional level.

Finally, filter out the people who can actually help you and are also willing to do so. Initiate a conversation with them by sending an introductory message, engage with them in the comment section of posts, and try to get on their radar.

Can You Ask Strangers for a Referral?

A man in a business suit.

Before you request a referral from someone, consider who they are. If they’ve been a stranger, and you just connected with them, you would want to share with them your resume, your current skills, expertise, and any of the big achievements you made in your field of work before they can refer you.

Besides, some companies hold employee referral programs, where the person who referred you gets a bonus if you turn out to be the right person for the job. So, it’ll be a good choice to do a little more digging in and locate such companies. It’ll make the asking for a referral process easier for you. And if you’re a strong candidate, the employee would be just as interested in referring you as you are to get referred.

Follow These Tips to Ask for the Referral via LinkedIn or Email

When you’ve finally come up with the list of potential allies and are ready to write and send the email, consider including these few things in your email.

  • Addressing the recipient with their first name.
  • Greeting them.
  • Introducing yourself if it’s your first interaction.
  • Including a hook. It can be an interest you share with the person you’re emailing or a rock-solid achievement you made in your field of work to get them excited or consider referring you.
  • Making it easier for them to take action by including a choice. It’ll help the person be comfortable to respond and prevent any delays. In case, they refuse, you can easily move on to the next person on your list to ask for a referral from.
  • Thanking them and signing off.


Here’s a template you can edit and use according to your needs.

In addition to sending this email, if they agree to refer you to the intended person, make the job easier for them by including a referral template.

Here’s a referral email template you can use.

Related: How to Ask for a Recommendation on LinkedIn

How to Ask for a Referral When You’re Changing Careers

Many recruiters want to hire someone with years of experience in their field. However, this makes it harder for the people changing their careers to get their resumes to pass through these hiring managers.

Instead of contacting the people involved with the recruitment process, consider contacting the seniors in your field of work. If you’ve already done the required work, they’ll understand your expertise, your understanding of the subject—along with your potential to get the job done.

If you’re facing any confidence issues, consider listening to The Self Esteem and Confidence podcast by Jonny Pardoe.

Get the Job of Your Dreams

If you could invest some time researching and connecting and gather the courage to ask for a referral, your career may change for the better.

So, don’t just go the traditional way, take the smarter route. And who knows, asking for a job referral turns out to be the next best move you made in your career—applying for the job you love still remains the first!


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