Template Toolbox | How to Ask a Friend for a Job Referral

Hands typing with book, phone, coffee

For job seekers, social-impact professionals, and volunteers, living in a world where building your digital network can be as easy—and as impersonal—as clicking a button, the lines between what’s appropriate networking behavior and what may be asking too much can be blurry.

After finding a job on Idealist.org, for many of us, the natural next step is to investigate potential connections by digging in to our online networks.

If you’re able to find a connection, great! But perhaps you haven’t actually talked to this contact in a solid decade. Or maybe you don’t find any direct connections to your organization of interest, and instead, stumble across some second or even third-degree connections. How do you make the ask?

Here are three email templates that will help you navigate some potentially gray areas in the wonderful world of digital networking:

Scenario 1: You actually know somebody—and they’re more than just an acquaintance—at the hiring organization.

Here are some things to include in the email:

  • Informal greeting
  • Checking in
  • Show of genuine interest in the latest goings on
  • Reference to the job you’re interested in, including a link to the posting, as well as the name of the person who would be supervising this new hire (if available)
  • Offer options for how your friend might help you
  • Try to include something that may be helpful to her, as well
  • Attach both an updated resume and cover letter

Professional Connection Email Template #1:

Hi Divya!

I hope everything is going well on your end. It’s been so exciting to see all of your recent success with the job and the move and everything [ADD SPECIFICS HERE IF YOU HAVE THEM]. Please keep sharing your updates!

As you know, I’m currently on the hunt for my next step, and I recently came across a posting for a [POSITION NAME HYPERLINKED TO POSTING] at [ORGANIZATION NAME]. It seems like it could be a great fit for me and I wanted to see if you have any intel on the position, the team, or what they may be looking for in a candidate.

If they’re still actively looking to fill the role, it would be great to speak with somebody in the office. If you’d be willing to make an introduction, I’d love to chat with a member of the team who may be a bit closer to the position. Of course, if you’re not able to make that connection, any insight that you can offer would be greatly appreciated!

I’ve attached an updated version of my resume and cover letter so that you can get a better sense of my specific experience. Of course, let me know if you have any questions at all.

Finally, while I was researching your organization, I came across this article that I thought you might be interested in. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Looking forward to hearing from you, and do pass along updates on what else is new with you.

Best,
Alexis

Scenario 2: You know somebody at the hiring organization, but haven’t talked to this person in a long (long) time.

Here are some things to include in the email:

  • Somewhat-formal greeting
  • Checking in
  • Show genuine interest in the latest goings on
  • Reference to the job you’re interested in, including a link to the posting, as well as the name of the person who would be supervising this new hire (if available)
  • Offer options for how your acquaintance might help you
  • Try to include something that may be helpful to her, as well
  • Attach both an updated resume and cover letter

Professional Connection Email Template #2:

Hi Divya,

I hope everything is going well on your end. I’ve been following your work these past few years and it’s been so exciting to read about all of your success. [ADD SPECIFICS HERE IF YOU HAVE THEM] Congratulations!

I know it’s been quite a while, but I’m reaching out because I recently came across a posting for a [POSITION NAME HYPERLINKED TO POSTING] at [ORGANIZATION NAME]. It seems like it could be a really great fit for me and I wanted to see if you have any intel on the position, the team, or what they may be looking for in a candidate.

If they’re still actively looking to fill the role, it would be great to speak with somebody in the office. If you’d be willing to make an introduction, I’d love to chat with a member of the team who may be a bit closer to the position. Of course, if you’re not able to make that connection, any insight that you’d be able to offer would be greatly appreciated!

I’ve attached an updated version of my resume and cover letter so that you can get a better sense of what I’ve been up to both personally and professionally since we were last in touch. Please let me know if you have any questions at all.

Finally, while I was researching [ORGANIZATION NAME], I came across this article that I thought you might be interested in. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best,
Alexis

Scenario 3: You have a mutual connection with somebody at your organization of interest, but don’t know anybody who works directly for the hiring organization.

Here are some things to include in the email:

  • Informal greeting
  • Checking in
  • Show of genuine interest in the latest goings on
  • Reference to job you’re interested in, as well as the names of the hiring organization and the mutual connection
  • Offer options for how your acquaintance might help you
  • Try to include something that may be helpful to her, as well
  • Attach both an updated resume and cover letter

Professional Connection Email Template #3:

Hi Divya!

I hope everything is going well on your end. It’s been so exciting to see all of your recent success with the job and the move and everything. [ADD SPECIFICS HERE IF YOU HAVE THEM] Please keep sharing your updates!

As you know, I’m currently on the hunt for my next step, and I recently came across a posting for a [POSITION NAME HYPERLINKED TO POSTING] at [ORGANIZATION NAME] and it seems like it could be a really great fit! I’m reaching out because it looks like you may have a connection over there. Are you still in touch with [NAME OF CONNECTION] or is he more of a casual acquaintance?

If you are in touch and you’d be willing to make an introduction, I’d love to chat with [NAME OF CONNECTION]. Of course, if you’re not able to make the connection, any insight on [NAME OF CONNECTION] would be greatly appreciated!

I’ve attached an updated version of my resume and cover letter so that you can get a better sense of my specific experience. Please let me know if you have any questions at all.

Finally, while I was researching [ORGANIZATION NAME], I came across this article that I thought you might be interested in. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Looking forward to hearing from you, and do pass along updates on what else is new with you!

Best,
Alexis

While the differences may appear negligible, it’s important to approach your message with the appropriate tone and pertinent information. Furthermore, offering your contact a simple alternative in the way of “any insight that you may be able to offer would be greatly appreciated” provides her with a graceful way to decline your request if she’s not comfortable making the connection.

Explore more useful templates here on IdealistCareers.org.

Tags: , , ,

Related Posts

by
As a seasoned communications professional with 13+ years of nonprofit experience and 5+ years of experience creating engaging content and copy, I love the idea that a thoughtfully crafted piece of content can spark social change. Here at Idealist Careers, I'm eager to offer job seekers, game changers, and do-gooders actionable tips, career resources, and "social-impact lifestyle" advice.
7 Tips to Up Your Digital Networking Game Idealist Careers Welcomes New Leadership

Comments

  1. Pingback: Template Toolbox: How to Ask a Friend for a Job Referral - Aim Blog

  2. Reply

    Alexis, i love the analysis it reminder me of one day when i was mentoring the student we sponsor in Uganda, i was interesting th read your article, i like keep it up

      • Alexis Perrotta
      • March 14, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks so much for your message, Peter, and I’m glad that you’re finding the information helpful! It’s always great to hear how folks from our community apply Idealist Careers advice in their day-to-day. Please keep in touch and do let us know what other topics and templates you’d like to see here on Idealist Careers!

Leave a Reply

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

70 shares