Asking for Referrals

Posted by Joe on Wednesday, July 8, 2015 Under: #JobSeeker Series
Note: This post is the sixth in a (#JobSeekerseries that I am publishing to help those who are seeking their dream job. There are several tips that I feel incrementally increase your chance of being hired. These tips require hard work to implement, but the "sweat equity" will pay dividends when you land the job you have been coveting.

Asking for Referrals

We’ve all heard that in a job hunt, who you know is more important than what you know. Without a personal referral to pass your (hopefully visual) resume along to the key person, your chances of landing a job could be slim. So where does that leave the job seekers who want to be endorsed by valued associates or colleagues?   

If you know the potential referrer:
You can ask someone to refer you by sending an email or by sending a message on a networking site like LinkedIn or Facebook. It’s better to ask in writing, to allow the potential referrer time to think over if and how she/he can refer you for a job. In your letter, refresh their memory of how you know each other, tell them how interested you are in working at XYZ company (and why!). Write the email you want the referrer to pass on, so it is easy to help you. Also, always ask how well the potential referrer knows the person you are seeking.

When reaching out, rather than asking: “Can you refer me?”, instead ask: “Do you think I’d be a good fit for this position? If so, do you think you could refer me?” Asking your contact for information they might have about the company, culture, or positions available can be a great segue into asking for a referral. It will be easier to gauge if your referrer is comfortable providing the referral, and you can be more assured that she/he will be enthusiastic about your skills and feel confident you will make a favorable impression on the company. 

If you do not know the potential referrer or she/he is not familiar with your work:
LinkedIn can be a gold mine of opportunities to find professionals who can point you in the right direction. Take a look at your 2nd or 3rd degree connections to find your strongest relationships to see how you might be connected to a potential referrer. Make it easy for your direct connection to make link for you by offering the email you want them to forward. It should include the reasons why you are a great fit to at least be introduced to the target contact.

Another soft way to ask for the referral is to request an
informational interview. It is a non-threatening ay to ask for a meeting, by setting no expectations that they should provide you with a job lead as a result of your conversation. The purpose of an informational interview is to learn about the company or profession, and build a new networking connection.

Asking in person:
Getting involved in industry or professional organizations can provide a strong way to meet potential referrers. Through networking, you might discover job openings that have not yet been posted. If a new connection is impressed with you, then ask if they would mind providing you with an introduction to a key contact.

For all of these tactics, be sure to offer value to the prospective referrer in exchange for the introduction. For example, do you have a skill that you can offer to the referrer? Also many companies offer referral bonuses.

Other tips:
Job seekers who know an employee, should ask what pain points the company is currently feeling. The employee may be able to help you reorient your pitch, cover letter, and resume to better suit the company’s needs.

Be sure to mention it in the first paragraph of a cover letter or subject line of an email, if you were referred for a position. 

Always, always write a hand written thank you note to the referrer, in addition to the hiring managers.


In : #JobSeeker Series 

Tags: "asking for referrals"  #jobseeker  linkedin 
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