How to leverage linkedin job referrals for success in your job

How to Leverage LinkedIn Job Referrals for Success in Your Job Search

Candidates referred by a current employee are 4x more likely to be hired.  With top companies like Apple getting thousands of applicants per job listing, it can be almost impossible to get an interview without a referral from a current employee. 82% of job seekers rated Job referrals as the best sourcing option. Job referrals as best sourcing option

While you can use AI to write the perfect networking email to recruiters, LinkedIn remains the #1 platform for professional networking and job hunting. Employees are on LinkedIn for networking specifically, making them more receptive to your messages. But not that receptive. We won’t sugar coat it: executives get lots of messages, many that are LinkedIn job referral requests just like yours. Competition is steep. But you can stand out using the strategies in this article:

  • Design your LinkedIn profile to get job referrals
  • Find the right employees to ask
  • Send a highly personalized message (that does not need to directly ask for a referral)
  • Follow up in about a week
  • Continue to reach out to many more companies than than think you need to

Do Employees Give LinkedIn Job Referrals?

Employees are often incentivized to refer candidates with cash. If a referred candidate gets hired, the referring employee gets paid. The average job referral bonus was $2,500 in 2019.

Employees actually want to give LinkedIn job referrals. What they don’t want is for a referred candidate to reflect poorly on them. They also don’t have time to answer every single message on LinkedIn. After all, do you even answer all your LinkedIn messages or emails? Employees can give out job referrals easier than you think, but your message has to stand out while proving you won’t reflect poorly on them.

How Much Do LinkedIn Job Referrals Matter?

Job referrals basically guarantee you an interview. Recruiters might not admit that due to corporate policy or the occasional outlier case. But candidates with referrals pretty much always get an initial phone screen from HR that starts the interview process. According to Mike Stafiej, CEO of the Employee Referral and Internal Mobility Platform, you’re 400% more likely to be hired with a referral.

LinkedIn job referrals matter tremendously to employers as well because referrals save money. $7,500 per hired employee referral, on average. LinkedIn job referrals also save recruiters time by bypassing the initial screening stages of the hiring process. 60 Days was the high end of the average days to fill a position without an employee referral. Employee Referrals came in at 35 – 40 days and ERIN Employee Referrals only took 20 days.

Job referrals carry a stamp of approval from someone within the organization. This lends credibility to your candidacy. Studies consistently show that referred candidates are more likely to be hired and tend to stay longer in their roles compared to candidates sourced through other channels. 45% of employees sourced from employee referrals stay for longer than 4 years, and only 25% of employees sourced through job boards stay for over 2 years.

Job referrals

Your profile serves as your online resume–it should highlight your skills, experiences, and achievements effectively. First, make sure you’re using a professional photo that doesn’t fall into these 3 common LinkedIn photo mistakes. Then write a LinkedIn headline that will stand out to employees. Usually, your LinkedIn headline should be the title of the job you’re applying for. That way you actually appear in recruiter’s job searches and employees know you’re qualified for a LinkedIn job referral. Write a summary that explains how you can make an impact in your target role, using keywords from the job posting to increase your chances of getting seen by recruiters.

How to Build a LinkedIn Profile to Get Job Referrals?

The first thing employees do when you ask for a LinkedIn job referral is to look at your profile.  While your message matters, it will likely be ignored if you haven’t optimized your LinkedIn profile before you start reaching out.

Things you’re targeting, such as the exact job title and key skills, will make your profile appear in recruiters’ search for talent. But beyond the algorithm, keyword optimization makes your profile appeal to employees giving out LinkedIn job referrals. Busy employees scan profiles a lot like a search algorithm. Essential technologies, skills, and experiences will instantly catch their eye, especially if they know those are relevant to the job.

How Do You Grow Your Network for LinkedIn Job Referrals?

You need to expand your network strategically to leverage job referrals effectively. Connect with professionals in your industry. This includes former colleagues, classmates, and industry peers. Engage with their content, join relevant groups, and participate in discussions to establish rapport and credibility. Remember that quality is better than quantity when it comes to connections. Focus on building genuine relationships rather than  the number of contacts.

Who Should You Ask for LinkedIn Job Referrals?

You should search for employees on the same team as the job listing that you’re applying for. Search the role or specific company on LinkedIn to find employees associated with that team or function. You can use our tool Career Connect to find hiring makers associated with a particular  role, including high level employees and managers.

Try to message employees with  a connection to you. Can you find someone that went to the same college as you? Do any have a shared city or hobby? A personal connection piques their interest and makes them more likely to read and respond to your message.

How to Write a Message Asking for a LinkedIn Job Referral?

Today, you can use AI tools to generate optimized networking messages for you. Extensions like Career Connect generate personalized networking messages based on your resume and the job description. Every sentence is optimized by AI to get you a job based on our proven data. But they can’t replace a human touch on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn also offers tools to automate the referral process. In the LinkedIn “Jobs” tab, you can explore open positions and automatically see if any of your connections are affiliated with the hiring company. You can use the “Ask for a Referral” feature to automatically request a referral from your connections with just a few clicks. However, this only works for connections already in your network.

While they can be amazing first drafts, AI messaging tools are usually designed for networking emails. The perfect LinkedIn message should be shorter than an email and even more personalized. That’s why we recommend you use a template, then highly customize it yourself based on the specific employee and position.

What to Write in a Message Asking for a LinkedIn Job Referral?

You don’t need to directly ask for a LinkedIn referral in your first cold message, if at all. Instead, start a cold message by immediately being as specific and personalized as possible. Pique their interest with some shared connection or experience so they want to open the message and connect with you.

Explain your interest in the role and include a link to the job posting. Share how your skills and experience align with the requirements. Then include your resume and offer to connect.

Remember that networking is a two-way street. While seeking referrals, be prepared to offer value in return. This could involve sharing relevant job opportunities, providing industry insights, or offering to connect them with other professionals in your network. By demonstrating a willingness to give as well as receive, you’ll strengthen your relationships and increase the likelihood of receiving referrals in the future.

LinkedIn Job Referral Message Templates

“Hi XXX,

       I read your piece on (insert post topics) and really like the way you (insert something). It would be wonderful to connect. I am currently on the job hunt and see that you worked/work for X. I have been working in X over the past X years. Would you be willing to pass my resume to the hiring team so that they know I’m interested? Please let me know if you have a moment to connect.”

You don’t have to directly ask for a job referral–just asking the employee to pass along your resume is enough. You can ask directly, but they will understand what you want. Most likely, they will not even opt for a phone conversation.

Unlike recruiters, busy employees aren’t so interested in your knowledge of company culture. They’re even less interested in answering your specific questions about the company in their limited free time. That’s not their job. While employees are usually friendly and happy to help, you won’t win points by showing off extensive research. Just be to the point and polite.

How to Follow Up after a LinkedIn Job Referral Request

After requesting a referral, be sure to follow up promptly and express gratitude for your connection’s assistance. Keep them informed of your progress in the application process and let them know the outcome, whether positive or negative. Regardless of the outcome, maintaining open communication and showing appreciation for their support will help nurture your professional relationships for the long term.

How Many Employees Should You Ask for Job Referrals?

Per team, you only need to ask one employee, ideally the team member you have a connection with. But how many employees at different companies should you ask for job referrals? Far more than you think.

The most important factor to landing a job is actually applying to enough jobs–we recommend you send at least 20-30+ weekly. Most job seekers don’t even send a half that. With every application, you should send a cold email to a recruiter (triples your odds of hearing back) and ask employees for LinkedIn job referrals whenever possible. The sheer volume of applications you’ll need to send to have the best odds of landing a job means you’ll probably be asking for far more job referrals than you expected.

While job referrals can be incredibly valuable, they’re just one aspect of effective networking on LinkedIn. Don’t limit yourself to seeking referrals. Aim to build genuine relationships and establish yourself as a valuable member of your professional community. Engage with content, participate in discussions, and offer support and insights to your connections.

Over time, these efforts will pay dividends in the form of new opportunities and valuable connections. If you want 1-on-1 mentorship from executives at top companies who still get asked for referrals, check out Pathrise. We’re a career accelerator that helps students and land their dream job in tech.

Fellows in our program work with expert mentors who optimize all phases of their job search, from crafting the perfect LinkedIn profile to salary negotiation. With our tips and guidance, fellows have seen up to 3x as many responses to applications.

Apply today.

Pathrise logo

Ramone Smith

Ramone Smith is a Certified Digital Career Strategist and seasoned Career Coach. He specializes in job search consultancy and digital LinkedIn strategy. He is a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARWCC) and has a background in professional development through multiple certificates, including 'Optimize Your Resume For Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS),' He is dedicated to empowering individuals in navigating the complexities of the job market. Additionally, He has authored several career guides designed to optimize the job search experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *