When someone passes on a few good words about you to the recruiter to help you land the job or an interview at a company, it’s called a recommendation.
Many job and interview opportunities are never made public, so it’s crucial to build a network that can help you in your career. In this article, we’ll show you how to ask for a referral and get closer to your dream job.
Find people to ask for a recommendation
Before you can start asking for a job referral, you need to collect the information of people who can be used as allies. These can be old friends, acquaintances, colleagues, former employers, family members, former classmates, and anyone in your network who could help you.
You can extract them from your existing and networked connections.
Start by exporting your LinkedIn connections and making a list of people who can help you. You don’t need to use anything fancy for this purpose, an Excel spreadsheet or Google spreadsheet will do just fine.
To export your LinkedIn contacts, follow these steps:
- Go to My network.
- Click on Link.
- Go to Manage contacts.
- To select Export contacts.
According to a study, weak ties – people connected with you remotely or complete strangers – have better relationships than strong ties – your friends, family, acquaintances. Therefore, they can be more useful. So, if you have a particular company in mind that you are looking to get a job at, look for people affiliated with that company. These people can be employees, customers, suppliers or more. Finally, connect with them.
However, when sending connection requests to employees of a company, consider their position and service time. For example, a junior copywriter who joined two months ago probably won’t be the best person to get a recommendation.
These people are always getting their foot inside and their opinion may not matter much in the recruitment process. Look for someone who has been with 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 in which you are seeking employment.
For example, if you are looking for a job as an SEO specialist, a marketing manager would be the right person to contact. Eventually, you can add them to your allies spreadsheet.
Plus, 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 elders hang out. This will help increase your chances of meeting the right people. Gradually, you can engage and connect with them on a professional level.
Finally, filter out people who can actually help you and who are also willing to do so. Start a conversation with them by sending an introductory message, engage with them in the comments section of posts, and try to get noticed.
Can you ask strangers to recommend you?
Before asking someone for a recommendation, think about who they are. If they were a stranger and you just connected with them, you would want to share with them your resume, your current skills, your expertise, and any of the great accomplishments you made in your field of work before they cannot recommend you.
Additionally, some companies run employee referral programs, where the person who referred you receives a bonus if you prove to be the right person for the job. So it will be a good choice to dig a little deeper and locate these companies. This will make it easier for you to request a referral process. And if you’re a good candidate, the employee would be just as interested in referring you as you are in being referred.
Follow these tips to request the recommendation via LinkedIn or email
When you’ve finally made a list of potential allies and are ready to write and send the email, consider including these few things in your email.
- Address the recipient by their first name.
- Greet them.
- Introduce yourself if this is your first interaction.
- Including a hook. It could be an interest you share with the person you’re emailing or a rock-solid accomplishment you’ve made in your line of work to excite them or consider recommending you.
- Make it easier for them by including a choice. This will help the person feel comfortable responding and avoid any delays. If not, you can easily move on to the next person on your list to ask for a recommendation.
- Thank them and sign.
Here is a template that you can modify and use according to your needs.
Hello [First Name],
I hope life treats you well.
I recently applied for a [copywriter position] in your company [XYZ Production]. I was wondering if you had contact with the hiring manager, [Her Name], and if you could refer me for this position. I have attached my CV to this email, you can see that I have [X years] of experience in this [field of work]and helped my clients achieve [some great results].
Let me know if you would be comfortable doing so.
Thanks for your consideration.
In addition to sending this email, if they agree to refer you to the intended person, make it easy for them by including a referral template.
Here is a recommendation email template you can use.
Hello [Hiring Manager],
I am writing to make a recommendation for [Full Name]who recently applied for a [Certain Position] at our office. He was my [former colleague/fellow graduate] at [XYZ Company/XYZ College]and I have known him since [X years]/we worked together on a [certain] project. He is a hard working person and I am sure he will be a perfect fit for this position.
How to ask for a recommendation when changing careers
Many recruiters want to hire someone with years of experience in their field. However, this makes it harder for career changers to get their resumes through these hiring managers.
Instead of reaching out to people involved in the hiring process, consider reaching out to seniors in your line of work. If you have already done the required work, they will understand your expertise, your understanding of the subject matter, as well as your potential to do the job.
If you’re having trust issues, consider listening to Jonny Pardoe’s The Self Esteem and Confidence podcast.
Get your dream job
If you could invest the time in research and connection and muster the courage to ask for a recommendation, your career could change for the better.
So don’t just go the traditional route, take the smarter route. And who knows, asking for a job recommendation turns out to be the next best decision you’ve made in your career – applying for the job you love always comes first!
Have you just received a job offer? Here are 4 ways to respond via email to accept, reject, negotiate or consider a job offer.
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