How to Mention a Referral in Your Cover Letter
A referral can help you stand out from the crowd when you are applying for a job. Hiring managers and recruiters are more likely to take a closer look at candidates with whom they share a mutual contact, and for good reason: studies have shown that hiring through employee referral is faster, cheaper, and more effective than relying on job sites. Referral hires also tend to get up to speed more quickly, fit in better, and stay at the company longer.
A referral cover letter can make the difference in helping your application get noticed by prospective employers. It also gives the hiring manager some context for your work and provides additional information about you.
What Is a Referral Cover Letter?
A referral cover letter is used to mention a mutual connection when applying for a job. You might be referred by a colleague, a friend, an employee at the company you’re interested in, or even your college career office. Having a referral to mention in your cover letter helps the hiring manager relate your experience to the open position, and can provide some insight into how well you might fit in at the company.
Your cover letter is your opportunity to highlight your education, skills, and qualifications for the job. In addition to your referral, you will have the chance to mention a few specific examples of why you are the best candidate for the position, and give more detail than you can on your resume.
How to Get a Referral
The referral doesn't have to be a business connection. You can ask anyone you know at the company or who has a contact at the company if they would recommend you for a job.
Just be sure to check with the individual in advance and ask if they are willing to give you a referral. Even if you’re certain they’d vouch for you, giving a potential referral a heads-up ensures that they’ll be able to offer the best possible recommendation, given the job requirements.
You can send a letter or email asking for a referral, which will give the person the time and opportunity to think through what they can do for you, and how to proceed.
How to Mention a Referral in a Cover Letter
When you use a referral in your cover letter, you should mention it in the first paragraph. Include the individual by name and describe your connection with them as well. Give a brief account of how you know the person, in what context, and for how long you have been acquainted.
In addition, if the person recommended that you apply for this particular position, take the opportunity to mention why they are endorsing you. What qualities of yours made them think that you would be a good fit for the company?
My colleague Amy Smith recommended that I contact you directly about this position. Amy and I have worked closely in the industry for many years, and she thought that ABC Inc. would be a good fit for my style and experience in sales. She pointed out that as a successful, award-winning salesperson I would be an excellent addition to the sales team at ABC Inc.
Referral Cover Letter Tips
Name-dropping does not come easily to some people, especially if you're already struggling with how to write about your accomplishments and sell yourself to a hiring manager.
For this reason, it is often helpful to look at examples of cover letters. Be sure to tailor your letter to fit your personal and professional circumstances.
You should include a brief mention of the recommendation right away in the letter. This strategy puts the referral in the front of the reader's mind, giving them context for what follows.
This leaves you plenty of space to expand on your strengths and why you're the best candidate for the job. Your cover letter is your chance to make a strong first impression, since it is likely the first thing a hiring manager will see, possibly even before your resume. Take the opportunity to impress them with your contact and their recommendation, and then go on to show examples of your successes in the workplace to prove that you are the most qualified person for the job.
As with all your business correspondence, make sure that you proofread your cover letter for correct spelling and grammar, and check that the information matches on all the documents you submit.
Read More: How to Ask for a Referral for a Job
Referral Cover Letters Examples for Job Searching
When you are engaged in a job search, or just seeking to expand your network of contacts, you may have the opportunity to write cover letters, or letters of inquiry, mentioning a referral by someone you both know.
What to Include in a Referral Letter
Having a professional or personal referral will make your letter stand out, and give you a better chance of being noticed. You should always include the name of the person who referred you, and the circumstances of your acquaintance in your cover letter.
When you're applying for a job, Include a brief overview of your work experience and your qualifications for the position you're interested in. Take the time to match your credentials to the job description if you are applying for an available position.
If you're not writing about a specific job opening, ask the contact person for a meeting or call to discuss opportunities or to gather information. Finish your letter by thanking the reader for his or her consideration and stating how you will follow up on your letter.
Referral Cover Letters and Email Examples
The following are examples of an email message and cover letters mentioning a referral for a job.
Email Referral Message Example for a Job
If you send your cover letter via email, mention the referral in the subject line of your message.
Subject: Referral From Janna Doling
Dear Mr. McKensie,
I am writing to express my interest in the International Marketing position open at WellCam, Inc.
I am very familiar with your products and would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how I could help increase your international market share. My colleague Janna Doling recommended that I contact you directly about this position. Janna and I have worked closely in the industry for many years, and she thought that I would be an excellent match for WellCam.
My extensive experience marketing similar products internationally has given me an overall knowledge of the business, directly applicable to your interest in increasing sales abroad. In my previous position as International Marketing Manager with ABC Company, I successfully increased our revenue in each of my territories by over 40% within my first year. In the six years I spent at ABC, I helped to establish a market share in an additional ten countries, while increasing revenue and profits in all locations.
I believe that I am an excellent candidate for the position you have advertised, and would very much like the opportunity to meet with you to discuss what I have to offer WellCam, Inc.
Referral Cover Letter Example for a Job
This sample cover letter is for a retail position and includes a referral from a mutual acquaintance.
City, State, Zip
City, State, Zip
Dear Ms. Buzby,
I am writing in reference to the position of Store Manager at Lucky's Book Store advertised in the Gazette. Jean Davis suggested that I contact you regarding this position. Jean and I have worked together coordinating our Community Library Book Sale for the past several years, and she believes my experience and enthusiasm would be compatible with the work environment at Lucky's.
My retail experience is extensive, having worked in national department stores such as Racy's and Willards, as well as small boutiques in the local Downtown College Area. As Manager of the Gift Department at Racy's, I was responsible for overseeing the Bridal and Gift Registry and suggested changes to the layout which were adopted throughout the company. While working as Store Manager at The Modern Woman, a women's clothing boutique, I increased sales by 50% over the five years I was there through customer service, creative advertising, and display. During that time, The Modern Woman was recognized in the Downtown Area's "Best Shopping Experience" magazine four times.
With my love of books and retail experience, I believe that I could offer Lucky's a fresh perspective and innovative ideas in the competitive booksellers market.
Please review my enclosed resume. I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss what I can offer to Lucky's Book Store. Thank you for your time and consideration,
Referral Cover Letter Example Asking for a Meeting
Mr. Rich Freeland, VP Marketing
123 Main Street
Oklahoma City, WA 66556
Dear Mr. Freeland,
In a recent conversation with Janis French, she suggested I contact you. Janis and I worked very closely together on a production last spring in NY. She was kind enough to offer me some advice on the next steps in my career. She mentioned that she had had the opportunity to work with you several years ago, and she thought that perhaps you would be able to offer some guidance to me as well.
My passion is marketing large productions and events where I can utilize my creative, innovative, and problem-solving abilities. The sense of satisfaction I feel at the close of an event or production is always worth the time, effort, and hard work. My work includes seven international trade shows for SC Johnson and Sons.
They were pleased with the increase in quality inquiries and brand awareness and the fact I had reduced the overall trade show costs.
Mr. Freeland, I do not expect you to have (or know of) opportunities. I would like a brief meeting to discuss the convention industry as well as current and future trends. You are nationally recognized for your expertise in managing Moscone Center, Reunion Plaza and, currently, The Ford Center. Your advice and feedback will be greatly appreciated.
I will call you during the first part of next week to set up a convenient time to meet. I will come prepared and be brief. I look forward to meeting you.
More Cover Letter Samples
Review sample cover letters for a variety of scenarios including a follow-up letter, inquiry letters, job/industry specific sample cover letters, cold contact, and referral letter samples.
Read More: How to Ask for a Referral for a Job | How to Mention a Referral in a Cover Letter