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
Cover Letter Referred by a Contact Examples
Cover Letters and Email Samples to Use for a Referral
When you are applying for jobs, it’s always helpful to have a referral. Being able to mention a mutual acquaintance when writing to a hiring manager gives you an immediate connection, and can help get your resume noticed.
Your cover letter is the ideal place to mention your referral’s name, and the context you know them in. Including a referral, if you have one, is one of the best ways to get your cover letter noticed - and read.
What to Include in the Letter
Your cover letter should be written as a formal business letter, whether it is sent as an attachment, via post or email. An attachment or posted letter should begin with your contact information, the date, and the hiring manager’s contact information. An email cover letter should include the referral in the subject line of the message.
Begin your letter with a salutation followed by the hiring manager’s name. Mention your referral in the first paragraph of your cover letter, with a brief explanation of your connection.
You can then mention what interests you about the position, and how you are qualified for the job. Make sure you thank the person for their time and consideration, and use an appropriate cover letter closing, followed by your signature and/or typed full name. In an email, your contact information would follow your typed name.
Here are examples of cover letters which mention that you were referred by a contact.
Cover Letter Example With a Referral
Your Firstname Lastname
City, State, Zip
City, State, Zip
Dear Mr. Maximillian,
I am writing to express my interest in the International Sales position open at Rubymax, 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 presence.
My colleague Joe Smith recommended that I contact you directly about this position. Joe and I have worked closely in the industry for many years, and he thought that I would be a good match for Rubymax.
My ten years of experience marketing widgets internationally have given me an overall knowledge of the business, directly applicable to your interest in increasing sales abroad.
In my previous position as International Sales Rep with ZQR Company, I successfully increased our revenue in each of my territories by over 50% within my first year. In the five years I spent at ZQR, I helped to establish sales bases in an additional five countries, while continuing to increase revenue in all.
Please take the time to review my resume. 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 discuss what I have to offer Rubymax, Inc. I truly appreciate your consideration.
Email Cover Letter With a Referral
Subject: Referred by Sloane Greene
Dear Ms. Future,
I am writing to you in regard to the position of billing manager that you have posted on your company website. I worked with Sloane Greene in the billing department of XYZ Enterprises for several years before taking a hiatus to raise my children.
When I mentioned I was returning to the workforce, she recommended I contact you about this position, as she felt that I would be an excellent fit for your organization.
At XYZ, I worked closely with Sloane to convert our billing system to handle the increase in sales volume the company was experiencing. I oversaw the seamless transition when our deliverables doubled in less than 6 months. I have successfully managed both small and large billing departments, but am most comfortable in an environment like that at your company. I feel that my experience would be an asset to Bright Enterprises, and would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you regarding the open position.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Additional 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.