What Is a Request for Referral? (How To, Tips and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated April 1, 2021 | Published January 29, 2021

Updated April 1, 2021

Published January 29, 2021

Making connections and building productive relationships within your field of expertise or during your education is called networking. Networking is important for growing businesses and when seeking new employment opportunities. Learning how to use your network to get referrals can increase your likelihood of being selected for an interview or job offer. In this article, we discuss the importance of referrals and how to request a referral from someone in your network and look at some examples.

Related: 10 Tips To Help You Network Like a Pro

What is a request for a referral?

Asking a member of your personal or professional network for an endorsement and introduction to a prospective employer is a referral request. Having a referral can help separate you from other job candidates and may increase your chances of getting an interview or job offer. You may be offered a referral, or you can request one. Choosing the right person to ask and the best method of approaching them can add a valuable referral to your resume and cover letter.

Related: How To Ask for Referrals

How to create a request for referral

Employers look for referred candidates because they have verified experience and skills. Having a referral also demonstrates personal character and your ability to form and maintain agreeable work relationships. It is usually worth the extra time and effort to ask a member of your network to refer you for the job when you apply. Here are four steps to consider when seeking a job referral:

1. Determine who to ask

The network of people you can approach for a referral consists of your close and mutual associates or former educators. You may choose a connection currently working for the employer you are applying to, someone who can vouch for your character or someone familiar with your work and industry. Former supervisors, professors, advisors, colleagues or clients are all possible referral sources.

2. Consider how to ask

Depending on your relationship, you may choose a formal, informal or casual approach to writing your referral request. Their position may also affect your tone. For instance, you may still be formal with someone you know well if they are an authority figure. If you are writing someone you know through a mutual connection, you can include the connection's name at the beginning of your request and in your subject line.

3. Request a referral in writing

An email or letter is an opportunity to craft the most persuasive referral request possible while including all necessary additional materials. You should attach a copy of your updated resume, cover letter and job description. A written referral request is also more likely to be remembered and followed up on by the person you are asking.

4. Make it easy

The easier it is for a person to fulfill your request, the better and more timely the results can be. Attach your resume and the job listing to your referral request for their consideration. Offer to provide additional materials if they might be helpful, like a portfolio, and propose to discuss things further in person or over the phone. If you know the individual you are asking for a referral has a busy schedule or isn't very familiar with your career, you can offer to draft a referral letter for their signature if it seems appropriate.

Related: How To Refer Someone for a Job (With Letter Template and Example)

Tips for requesting a referral

Here are a few more tips to help you ask someone for a job referral:

  • Consider your tone and relationship. Adjust how formally you ask for a referral based on how well you know the person and their position.

  • Accept that they might refuse. Express understanding if a person cannot provide you with a referral, and thank them for their time.

  • Find out if the company has a bonus program. Many employers use bonuses to reward their employees for referring qualified job candidates, making the person who refers you likely to be that much more enthusiastic.

  • Express gratitude. Send a thank you note after receiving a referral to express your gratitude.

  • Maintain your network. You can build your network for future referrals by attending conferences and joining professional organizations in your field.

Related: How To Ask Someone To Be Your Reference (Plus Email Examples)

Referral requests examples

There are different levels of familiarity when asking for a professional favor in your network—like a job referral. Here are some examples of formal, informal and casual referral requests:

Formal request for referral example

Dear Mr. Myer,

I hope you and your family are well, and I'd like to congratulate you on your promotion. I've followed your career with interest since you spoke at my university about universal funds in 2018. Your lecture greatly influenced my decision to pursue corporate law and to intern with your firm. It has come to my attention that Johnson, Fisher and Myer are hiring an associate, and I'm reaching out to ask you to provide me with a referral.

Thank you for considering my request. I have attached my resume, cover letter and job posting for your review. Please let me know if you need anything else from me to help you decide.

Paul Wilson

Informal request for referral example

Dear Megan Jay,

Our mutual friend, Josh Yu, told me your company is looking for an editor and recommended I connect with you. I graduated from Brown with Josh and have been working as an assistant editor with J&M publishing for three years. I'm attaching my cover letter and resume so you can look over my experience and qualifications. If you think I would be a good addition to Raven Publishing, I would appreciate it if you'd refer me to your hiring manager. Feel free to call me whenever it's convenient if you'd like to discuss things further.

Best wishes,
Tamara Brown

Casual request for referral example

Hi Cody,

I hope you are having a great summer! As you know, I've been looking to move on from my job at Widget Co., and I saw that Earth Inc. is hiring a transportation coordinator. You've always had such positive things to say about your time at Earth Inc. that I'm very excited about the chance to work there as well. If you would feel comfortable recommending me to the hiring manager, I would really appreciate it. I would be happy to send you a copy of my resume, or I could draft the referral email for you if you don't have time to write one. Looking forward to talking with you soon!


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