How To Include a Referral in Your Cover Letter?

How To Include a Referral in Your Cover Letter?

Including a referral in your cover letter can help get your resume noticed by the hiring manager. It shows that you have a personal connection to someone who can vouch for your skills and abilities. A referral from a colleague or past employer can be a great way to get your foot in the door with a new company.

It’s been shown that referral hires are more likely to stick around at their new job, have higher performance ratings, and are often paid higher salaries than non-referral hires.

The benefits of including a referral in your job application are well worth the effort it takes to obtain one. In fact, according to a report from Jobvite, 59% of job seekers say referrals are their preferred way to find jobs online.

But how do you know whom to ask for a referral? And how do you include one in your cover letter? This guide will walk you through how to ask for and include a referral so you can land that interview.

What is a Referral Cover Letter?

A referral cover letter is a letter that you send to a potential employer with your resume. It is a recommendation from someone within the company that can act as a personal endorsement for you and your job application. The letter includes the name of someone who has referred you to the company. This can be a friend, family member, or professional contact. The referral cover letter is a way to get your foot in the door and stand out from the competition.

Why Should You Use A Referral in your Cover letter?

A referral gives you credibility, as it’s basically an insider saying that you are qualified for the position and would be a good fit. People trust recommendations from people they know, so this person essentially vouching for you makes a huge difference.

According to a recent study from the University of Minnesota, including a referral in your cover letter can dramatically increase your chances of getting an interview. The survey found that applicants who included referrals within their letters were interviewed at twice the rate of those who didn’t include referrals.

There are a few other reasons why you might want to include a referral in your cover letter.

  • It can help you stand out from the crowd. When you have a personal connection to someone who can vouch for your skills, it shows that you’re serious about the job and that you’re willing to go the extra mile.
  • It also makes it easier for the hiring manager to trust you since they can see that you have the endorsement of someone they know.
  • If a referral is a “known name” in the industry, you’ll stand out from the crowd.
  •  It can help you pass the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) screening software.
  • Including a referral in your cover letter can also help you build relationships with the people you’re applying to work with. When you make a good impression on your referral, they might be more likely to refer you to other opportunities in the future.

Is name dropping in a cover letter OK?

Name-dropping does not come easily to everyone, but a referral cover letter is one place where it can work in your favor. Referrals are powerful because they involve an introduction from a known and respected individual. When you can name-drop a referral, it gives the hiring manager an additional reason to trust your qualifications and consider you for the job.

It’s important to be subtle when you’re name-dropping in your cover letter. You don’t want to come across as arrogant or entitled. Instead, focus on how your referral can vouch for your skills and abilities.

How to Ask for a Referral?

You have spent a lot of time perfecting your resume and tweaking your cover letter to match the job description. You have done everything you can think of to make sure that when recruiters read your documents they will be impressed by what they see, but there is one more thing that you need to consider: who are you going to ask for a referral?

1) Choose Professional Contacts over Personal:

When you can, choose someone who is a professional contact, not a personal one. You want to make sure that whoever you ask to be your referral has experience working with you or working with your work, so they can speak about the kind of contributions you make and the results those contributions produce.

2) Check with your Contact before dropping their name in a Cover letter:

Whoever it is, definitely check in with them before moving forward. At the very least, give them a heads up so they aren’t caught off guard if indeed that company does call them for any reason. Ideally, you will ask them if they would be comfortable giving you a referral and then send them a copy of your resume and cover letter so they can be prepared for what to expect if/when called upon by the company.

3) Search through Networking Platforms:

If you don’t have any connections in the company for the job you are applying for then you can use a mutual contact. A mutual contact is someone that you know and the hiring manager knows. You can do this by searching for them on LinkedIn, search through Facebook, Company Website other Professional Forums the contact may be present.

4) Reach out to them via Email:

The best way to ask for a referral is by email. You should explain why you are contacting them and why you want them to refer you, if possible. For example: “I worked on your team last year and our group won an award.” It’s also important to thank them for their time.

5) Apply via an employee referral program?

If you’re applying to a large company, they may have an employee referral program. This is a program where employees can refer candidates for open positions within the company. If you’re lucky enough to know someone who works for the company, be sure to ask them if they can refer you for a position as it is beneficial for both of you.

How To Include A Referral In Your Cover Letter?

When you’re including a referral in your cover letter, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

1) Include the Referral Information in Your Opening Paragraph

One way to include a referral in your cover letter is to use it as part of your opening paragraph.

2) Explain How they know you

The person who referred you will likely have given the hiring manager some context about how they know you. But if they haven’t, or if your connection is weak (you met them once at an event), it’s important to explain how you know each other.

3) Why are they providing this Recommendation

Include a few sentences about why they are qualified to speak about you. For example, if a former manager is recommending you for a position, mention this fact, as well as what your relationship has been like and how long they have known you.

Here’s an example of an introductory paragraph with a referral :

“I am interested in the Marketing Manager position at XYZ Company. I was referred to the position by my friend, Sarah, who knows someone at XYZ Company. Sarah has told me great things about the company and she thinks I would be a perfect fit for the position.

I have attached my resume and the job listing to this email. I would appreciate if you could keep me in mind for the position. Thank you for your time and consideration.”

Asking for a referral can help you get your resume noticed and land the job you want. Just be sure to follow these tips and examples so that you can do it correctly.

Examples of adding a referral to your cover letter:

Referral cover letters are structured similarly to application cover letters, but they usually include an additional paragraph that explains how you were referred to the position by someone in your network. Below, you’ll find examples of referral cover letters that indicates who the applicant was referred by, along with tips for writing a referral cover letter sample.


**Adding a referral in the body of your cover letter:**

“Dear Ms. [last name], [Referral source] recommended I reach out to you about the position of [job title]. I have a great deal of experience [briefly describe your relevant experience] and would love to work with you and your team. I am available for an interview at any time that is convenient for you, and I can be reached by phone at [your phone number], or by email at [your email address].”


In the first paragraph of your cover letter, you should mention a mutual connection or referral who suggested that you reach out. Mentioning this person (or people) upfront will give you an instant connection with the hiring manager.

“I’m reaching out because [Name of Mutual Acquaintance] suggested I connect with you. She knew me from my work with [Company Name or Project], and she mentioned that you’re looking for someone to fill your opening for a [Name of Position].- “I am interested in the position of Social Media Manager at GHI company. I was referred to this position by my friend, Tina, who is the Social Media Manager at GHI company.”


Mention the referral in your first paragraph. Use words like “encouraged,” “recommended” or “referred.”

“I was encouraged by [referrer’s name] to apply for the [position name] role at [company name].”


“I was referred by [referrer’s name] to apply for the [position name] role at [company name]. They told me that you’re looking for a [skill-set/role-specific knowledge].”


“Dear [Name],

I am writing to apply for the position of [position] at [company]. I was referred to the role by my friend and former colleague, [Name], who is currently working in the [department] at [Company]. I understand you are currently seeking candidates to fill this position.

I have been following company developments for several years, and I believe that my experience as a [job title] would be beneficial to your team.”

Referral Cover Letter Sample (Text Version)

Dear [Name],

I am reaching out to you in regard to the [job title] position with [Company name]. I believe my experience in [industry] and role as a [role title] is a good match for this position.

[Name of contact, mutual friend, or colleague] recommended that I contact you and submit my resume because they know I am interested in finding a new opportunity with an outstanding company such as yours. I have been working in [industry] for the last [x years/months], and have developed many of the skills necessary for the role of [job title].

I look forward to hearing from you to discuss how my experience fits your needs. Please feel free to reach me at [phone number] or via email at [email address]. Thank you for your time and consideration.


[Your name]

Referral Cover Letter Example

Referral Cover Letter Email

Dear [Recruiter Name]

I’m writing to apply for the [position name] position advertised on LinkedIn. I met [name] at an event last month, and they suggested I reach out to you directly. We discussed my background in [field], and how it would make me a great fit for this role.

If you have any questions about my experience or candidacy, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I’ll follow up with you next week to see if you need any additional information from me, or if we can arrange a time for us to talk.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Email Subject Line for sending a Referral Cover Letter :

  1. Referral from [Kevin Rogers – VP Marketing] for Marketing Manager Position.
  2. [Kevin Rogers – VP Marketing] referred me to you for the [Marketing Manager] position.

Tips for Writing a Referral Cover Letter

  1. Including a referral at the top of your cover letter can help you get noticed by hiring managers and make it more likely that you’ll be granted an interview.
  2. Make sure to mention your referral’s name and how you know them, such as “I worked with [name] at [company].”
  3. Include a few sentences about why your referral thinks you’d be a good fit for the role and ask if they’d be willing to provide a reference if needed.
  4. Don’t forget to say “thank you” to your reader and let them know how they can reach out to learn more about you!.

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