Referral Cover Letters Examples for Job Searching

Businessman uses contact information from a business card to contact
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Are you looking for a new job? Getting referred by an employee might be your best bet. According to a report from talent management software company SilkRoad, more than 30% of hires in 2016 came from employee referrals.

But even if you’re not looking to change jobs right now, referrals can help build your network—if you know how to use them. Whether you’re writing a cover letter, a letter of inquiry, or just reaching out to a new contact, it’s important to know how and when to mention a referral.

A referral cover letter is used when you are referred to a job opening by a mutual connection, an employer, or through networking.

What to Include in a Referral Letter

The name of the person referring you. Having a professional or personal referral will make your letter stand out and give you a better chance of being noticed, but only if you mention the referral right upfront. You should always include the name of the person who referred you in the first paragraph. Be sure to mention how you know each other.

Highlights from your most important job experience. When you're applying for a job, include a brief overview of your work experience and your qualifications for the position you're interested in. Take the time to match your credentials to the job description if you are applying for an available position.

A request for a meeting or phone call. If you're not writing about a specific job opening, ask the contact person for a meeting or call to discuss opportunities or to gather information. Finish your letter by thanking the reader for his or her consideration and stating how you will follow up on your letter.

Referral Cover Letters and Email Examples 

Before composing your own letter, review sample cover letters for a variety of scenarios, including a follow-up letterinquiry letterscold contact letters, and referral letter samples. Be sure to customize your letter in light of your experience and the job itself. 

The following are examples of an email message and cover letters mentioning a referral for a job.

Referral Cover Letter Template

This sample cover letter is for a retail position and includes a referral from a mutual acquaintance. Download the referral cover letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

Screenshot of a referral cover letter example
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Referral Cover Letter Example for a Job (Text Version)

Grace Dolphin
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345

September 1, 2018

Jane Buzby
Director, Human Resources
Lucky's Book Store
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321

Dear Ms. Buzby,

I am writing in reference to the position of Store Manager at Lucky's Book Store advertised in the Gazette. Jean Davis suggested that I contact you regarding this position. Jean and I have worked together coordinating our Community Library Book Sale for the past several years, and she believes my experience and enthusiasm would be compatible with the work environment at Lucky's.

My retail experience is extensive, having worked in national department stores such as Racy's and Willards, as well as small boutiques in the local Downtown College Area. As Manager of the Gift Department at Racy's, I was responsible for overseeing the Bridal and Gift Registry and suggested changes to the layout which were adopted throughout the company. While working as Store Manager at The Modern Woman, a women's clothing boutique, I increased sales by 50% over the five years I was there through customer service, creative advertising, and display. During that time, The Modern Woman was recognized in the Downtown Area's "Best Shopping Experience" magazine four times.

With my love of books and retail experience, I believe that I could offer Lucky's a fresh perspective and innovative ideas in the competitive booksellers market. Please review my enclosed resume. I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss what I can offer to Lucky's Book Store. Thank you for your time and consideration,


Grace Dolphin

Referral Cover Letter Example Asking for a Meeting

This cover letter is written to request an informational meeting.

Mr. Rich Freeland, VP Marketing
Ford Center
123 Main Street
Oklahoma City, WA 66556

Dear Mr. Freeland,

In a recent conversation with Janis French, she suggested I contact you. Janis and I worked very closely together on a production last spring in NY. She was kind enough to offer me some advice on the next steps in my career. She mentioned that she had had the opportunity to work with you several years ago, and she thought that perhaps you would be able to offer some guidance to me as well.

My passion is marketing large productions and events where I can utilize my creative, innovative, and problem-solving abilities. The sense of satisfaction I feel at the close of an event or production is always worth the time, effort, and hard work. My work includes seven international trade shows for SC Johnson and Sons.

They were pleased with the increase in quality inquiries and brand awareness and the fact I had reduced the overall trade show costs.

Mr. Freeland, I do not expect you to have (or know of) opportunities. I would like a brief meeting to discuss the convention industry as well as current and future trends. You are nationally recognized for your expertise in managing Moscone Center, Reunion Plaza and, currently, The Ford Center. Your advice and feedback will be greatly appreciated.

I will call you during the first part of next week to set up a convenient time to meet. I will come prepared and be brief. I look forward to meeting you.


Deborah Sweetingale

Email Referral Message Example for a Job

If you send your cover letter via email, mention the referral in the subject line of your message.

Subject: Referral From Janna Doling

Dear Mr. McKensie,

I am writing to express my interest in the International Marketing position open at WellCam, Inc. I am very familiar with your products and would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how I could help increase your international market share. 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.

My extensive experience marketing similar products internationally has given me an overall knowledge of the business, directly applicable to your interest in increasing sales abroad. In my previous position as International Marketing Manager with ABC Company, I successfully increased our revenue in each of my territories by over 40% within my first year. In the six years I spent at ABC, I helped to establish a market share in an additional ten countries, while increasing revenue and profits in all locations.

I believe that I am an excellent candidate for the position you have advertised, and would very much like the opportunity to meet with you to discuss what I have to offer WellCam, Inc.

Sincerely yours,

John Armour