The beauty of job referrals is that they make the tough job of getting your foot in the door of a company so much easier.
Your referrer – likely a friend or an acquaintance – is likely to benefit if the company has a referral scheme, and of course you want to ensure that you make a great first impression, given that your referrer knows you. Nevertheless, it is likely that HR or the hiring manager do not.
The most important thing to do when introducing yourself as a referral is to ensure the person you are talking to knows that you have come recommended by someone.
This means they know how you have been sourced and by who, thus setting up the rest of the interaction positively.
This article takes you through the most important things to do when you have been referred by someone, to ensure your hyped-up application continues to offer the maximum impact it rightly deserves.
Conduct Your Own Due Diligence.
Before we start talking about introductions, ensure that you are allowed to work in the job and company you have been referred to.
Most organisations have a ‘friends and relatives policy’ which governs who can and cannot refer people (as an example, most financial controllers or other senior managers cannot refer spouses or direct family members, in case of conflicts of interest).
Check that your referrer is aware of this policy and that they will not be put into a difficult position if you are offered the role.
Tick The Boxes
If you have been referred to a job which is posted online, the chances are that you need to apply on the organisation’s career website.
Usually, there is a section here where you specify if you were referred, and if so, by whom. Ensuring you fill these areas in correctly will mean that your application falls to the right hands.
Give The Manager Some Immediate Context
If you are emailing or calling about a job opening, then you need to assume that the manager you have been referred to might not know how you got their contract details, therefore it is polite to give the situation some context.
Use the initial phone call or the first line of the email to clarify that your referrer has passed on the contract information, mentioning them by name.
Avoid phrases like “You probably don’t know who I am”, or “Forgive my rudeness in contacting you”. Open your communication pleasantly, but confidently. Begin with something along the lines of:
“I hope you are well. I am writing to express my interest in the (Job Title) role at (Company name). One of your employees/colleagues (delete as appropriate), (Full name of referrer), alerted me to this role and passed along your contract information.”.
This opening is friendly, gives context, is confident enough and opens your communication perfectly. It works well in a letter, on an email, or even over the phone.
Grab The Reader’s Interest
First things first, choose a snappy subject line which will grab attention but still be professional. Examples could be:
“(Your full name): Interested in the (Job Title) position”,
“The exciting (job title) role at (organisation name)”, or:
“Greetings from (your location)”.
Before you launch into why you are such an amazing fit for the role, a bit of flattery or attention-getting wouldn’t go amiss. Tell the manager why you are attracted to work for the organisation, or an interesting fact about it, linking it back to the referrer:
“(First name of referrer) has often expressed how much he/she/they love(s) working for (Company name) and I would greatly appreciate being a part of the same environment…”.
“(First name of referrer) has recently told me about (Company name)’s investment in AI technology which has greatly interested me because of my strong background in this area…”.
Begin Your Elevator Pitch
Here, depending on the context or the medium of communication, you can introduce who you are and what you can offer the organisation.
If you are communicating in writing, this would likely be a summary of your cover letter, referring to the role and the skills or experience it needs, directing the reader to your CV/ résumé and cover letter, which will be attached.
If you are introducing yourself over the phone, practice condensing your cover letter into a short, two-minute verbal introduction about your professional self.
Close And Call To Action
Close off your communication by thanking the manager for their time. You can also add that they can reach out to your referrer if that is appropriate or useful.
Refer to your application documents and invite further discussion. if you are emailing or writing to the manager, a closing paragraph like the below works well:
“Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope the above information has piqued your interest into what I can offer you and (Company name). Please do reach out to me if you would like to arrange a more detailed discussion or interview.
I look forward to hearing from you.
(Your full name)
(Your email address)
(Your phone number)”.
Being referred for a job is a great way to get a head start in the recruitment process, but it doesn’t complete the picture, and certainly doesn’t guarantee that you will be hired, or even interviewed.
When introducing yourself, you must refer to the person who recommended you and treat the first communication exchange as a sales pitch about why you were good enough to be referred in the first place.
Depending on the communication medium, you will have to sell what you can bring to the team, with a subtle reference to being referred.
Handling this exchange in the right way will maximise your chances of getting much further than just one foot in the door.
Originally published Aug 17 2021
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you say you've been referred to someone?
A brief statement along the lines of “(Name) has referred me to this role in your esteemed company, which I believe I would be a great fit for”. Keep this introduction brief and positive, before showcasing who you are.
How do I reach out after being referred?
The best way to reach out is to email the person and introduce yourself, while explaining who has referred you. You can use this initial message to showcase your CV and what makes you right for the job.
What to say when you're introducing yourself?
Start off by explaining who referred you, before confidently introducing your experience and suitability for the role. Keep the communication confident and brief, inviting further discussion such as an interview.