How to Ask a Friend for a Job Referral

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You've probably heard that one of the best ways to find a job is through a referral from a friend or a contact in your professional network. That's because job candidates who are referred by someone the employer knows and trusts are more likely to be hired than a total stranger.


Another advantage of working your contacts for job leads is early access to openings that haven't even been advertised yet. You'll start by checking the jobs page on your friend's employer's website, but even if there's nothing there, it's worth asking.


However, there are some "don'ts" to keep in mind when asking for that referral, so that you don't damage the relationship between you and your friend.


Don't be entitled.

Remember, no one *owes* you a referral, so when you ask, keep the pressure off.

Wrong: "I see there is xxx job opening at your company, can you refer me?"

Right: "Would you feel comfortable telling your hiring manager about me?"


Don't call out of the blue.

It's not fair to put your friend on the spot by calling them up and asking for an instant answer. That might well just get you an instant no — if only because you annoyed them. Email or text first and give them time to think it over.


Don't lie about your qualifications.

Your friend will be putting their own reputation on the line by recommending you to their employer. If you make them look bad in front of their HR manager, they may never forgive you.


In the case of a professional network contact who doesn't know you well, offer to send them your resume or any other information they want.


Got the referral? What to do next.

Mention the referral to the hiring manager in your cover letter. They're probably already aware of it, but they'll still appreciate your attention to detail.


Also, be sure to thank the person who gave you the referral — whether or not you get the job —with a nice thank you card or even a small gift. When you're considerate and respectful from start to finish, your friendship will be stronger than ever. And they'll be even happier to help you next time!


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