How to Get the Referrals You Want For Your Job Application

In today’s competitive job market landing, a new gig can be quite frustrating. In fact, a recent study found that the average job hunter will apply for up to 27 jobs before securing the opportunity to interview. Even then, the job is not solidified.

Fortunately, there is a better way to conduct a successful job hunt. A referral is one of the best ways to get your foot in the door. In fact, research suggests that employee referrals have the highest applicant to hire conversion rate. Additionally, referred hires tend to begin their position quicker than applicants hired via other methods. While the research shows referrals are a great way to focus your job search, the process is easier said than done. Here are a few tips for gaining that coveted referral:

Leverage Social Media

The most common way to begin connecting is through social media. This is a no brainer for most job hunters. Identifying a list of mutual connections in a field or industry of interest is a great conversation generator and starting point. You can also leverage social media as a forum for communicating your desire to find a new job. You may be surprised how many friends will offer insider information about new openings at their company. Lastly, you can use social media to highlight your expertise. Consider writing and posting articles or sharing research on your profile. This demonstrates your commitment and may catch the eye of a future employer.

Engage in Networking

Social media is one of the primary forms of communication in this day and age, but you can’t overlook the power of a face to face connection. Consider joining your industry’s local associations and boards. You’ll be able to rub shoulders with some of the best in the business and you’ll have the opportunity to learn about some of the industry’s biggest successes and challenges. This insider info may help you in an interview and may also connect you with a new opportunity.

Identify a Mentor

Modern Mentorship programs are a great way to connect and obtain referrals. A mentor should be someone well-established in their career, and in the industry you’re seeking to enter. You should work to establish a genuine connection with your mentor because the partnership should be mutually beneficial and will be long-term. A mentor will offer advice long after the job search is over and should be able to continually connect you with others throughout your career.


Volunteerism is a great way to meet people and connect the dots when it comes to job hunting. In fact, many employers have admitted to hiring a person based exclusively on their volunteer work. You should find something you’re truly passionate about so you can connect with others on a more authentic level. The people you volunteer with will get a taste of your true nature and will be more likely to refer you based on their personal interactions with you.

Take Advantage of a Poor Match

There are times during a job hunt where you may earn an interview but fail to get selected for the job. Similarly there will be times you interview and then decide the job is not the right fit. Be gracious when turning down opportunities or accepting a rejection call. Ask the employer to keep you in mind for future opportunities that may be a better fit. You may be surprised at the result!

Write a Letter

Hand written letters are few and far between in the age of technology. However, writing a card or letter to an old acquaintance can pay dividends. Your letter should be sincere and offer a chance to reconnect while letting the acquaintance know your end goal. You can simply write what you’re doing both professionally and personally and ask them to keep you in mind for any industry opportunities.

These are just a few of the many surprising techniques you can use to gain access to referrals. Regardless which route you take, you have to be bold and relentless in your approach while still maintaining your authenticity. In no time you’ll be enjoying the fruits of this strategic approach!


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