Referral Cover Letters for All Types of Jobs

How to Mention a Recommendation in Your Cover Letter

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A referral can help you stand out from the crowd when you are applying for jobs. Hiring managers and recruiters are more likely to take a closer look at candidates who were referred by someone they know.  A referral cover letter can help your application get noticed by prospective employers.

What is a Referral Cover Letter?

A referral cover letter is used to mention a mutual connection when applying for a job.

When you have been referred to a potential employer by a colleague, friend or an acquaintance, it's important to mention this mutual contact by name in the first paragraph of your cover letter.

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 are willing to refer you for a job. Do be sure to check with the individual in advance and ask if they are willing to give you a referral.

Mentioning your mutual connection provides an opportunity for you to give the hiring manager some context for your work. It also gives them additional information about you and this name dropping can help secure both an interview and, possibly, a recommendation for the job.

How to Mention a Referral in a Cover Letter

When you mention a referral in your cover letter, be sure to mention it in the first paragraph.

Include the individual by name and describe your connection with the person as well. Give a brief account of how you know them, in what context, and for how long you have been acquainted.

For example, you might finish off your introductory paragraph with something like this:

My colleague Janna Doling recommended that I contact you directly about this position. Janna and I have worked closely in the industry for many years, and she thought that I would be an excellent match for WellCam.

In addition, if the person recommended that you apply for this particular position, take the opportunity to mention why they might endorse you. What qualities of yours made them think that you would be a good fit for the company?

Building on the last example, you might write:

My colleague Janna Doling recommended that I contact you directly about this position. We have worked closely for five years​ in the industry and she pointed out that my experience as an outgoing salesperson would be an excellent addition to the sales team at WellCam.

Referral Cover Letter Examples

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 easiest to look at examples of referral cover letters.

Notice how these samples 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 and leaves you plenty of space to expand on your strengths and why you're the best candidate.

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