Referral Cover Letter Definition And Example

Employee Referral Cover Letter Sample

"It's not what you know, but who you know," as the saying goes and there's significant truth to that. Many companies encourage and reward their employees for referring job candidates. The fact is that hiring via referral is cheaper, faster and more effective than hiring through job sites or recruiting. Candidates who come recommended are often better qualified, more loyal and a better fit for the team.

It makes sense: if you were the hiring manager, would you rather interview a candidate with no connection to the company, or one that comes recommended by a current employee in good standing? The latter person is more likely to know what it’s like to work for the company – plus, the employee who referred them probably understands that their reputation is at stake. Most likely, they’d avoid referring someone who was less than qualified.  

The Power of Using Employee Referrals in Your Cover Letter

Referred candidates are hired about two-thirds of the time, according to a survey from iCIMS, a talent solutions provider. It doesn't matter what type of position your contact holds, it's simply the connection and referral he makes for you.

Companies also believe that an applicant referred by an internal source will have a better chance of fitting in with the company and its culture and thus enjoy their work more.

More than half of employees make referrals. That same survey showed that 60 percent of employees have referred at least one person to an open job and 38 percent have referred multiple candidates.

Referrals from higher-ups seal the deal. Contact top executives as referrals for the best result. According to the survey data, 91 percent of referrals from someone at the director level were hired, versus 53 percent of hired referrals from an entry-level employee.

How to Write a Cover Letter Mentioning an Employee Referral

  • Ask for a referral. This might seem obvious – of course you’ll ask for a referral before you name-drop a current employee in your letter! – but it’s important that your connection be clued in before you send your cover letter. Bottom line, you want them to be prepared to sing your praises when the hiring manager asks for their opinion. (Also: there’s always the chance that they’ll say no… or that they’ll advise you not to apply, for reasons that only an insider would know.)
  • Give your referrer the details. And speaking of singing your praises, your contact can only do that if you let them know which job you’re applying for. Don’t assume that just because they work at the organization, they’ll know what the job entails. Share the job description, and match the requirements to your qualifications. This will give them some talking points to keep in their back pocket, in case they’re asked about you.
  • Provide a copy of the cover letter. Forward your email or give your contact a physical copy of your cover letter, for their reference.
  • Say thank you. Whether the employee is writing a referral letter or merely agreeing to be included in your cover letter, it’s important to say thank you. Send a thank-you note or email to let them know that you appreciate their help. They’ll appreciate the gesture and it will strengthen your connection.

Sample Employee Referral Cover Letter

Dear Ms. Green,

I am writing in reference to the position of Youth Counselor at the Sunnyside Group Home. I have the pleasure of being acquainted with one of the Counselors on your staff, Eleanor Seville. Eleanor and I did our undergraduate work together at Sunnyville University and have been in touch professionally and personally since then.

She let me know about the open position and recommended that I contact you.

I have been working with at-risk youths for 15 years, and have found the experience extremely rewarding. I have counseled young people with a variety of challenges, including family situations, drug use, eating disorders and behavioral issues. My experience makes me well suited to help the residents at Sunnyside learn and grow in a protected environment.

While I have experience in working with all ages, I believe that the adolescent population at your facility would benefit from the knowledge I gained during the past five years while working in Student Services at Sunnyville High School. I was recognized by the District as "Outstanding Teen Leader 2009" for the After-School Job Mentoring program I developed and implemented with the cooperation of several local businesses.

I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss what I have to bring to the position at Sunnyside. Thank you for reviewing my attached resume.

Regards,

Stephanie Smith

Additional Cover Letter Samples
Review sample cover letters for a variety of scenarios including a follow-up letter, inquiry letters, industry-specific sample cover letters, cold contact and referral letter samples.

More About Referrals:How Employee Referral Programs Work

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?

For example:

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

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