Referral Cover Letter Writing Guide

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Writing an outstanding referral cover letter is extremely important because referrals are, without a doubt, the best source of job leads.

You don't want to squander a fabulous lead by writing a mediocre letter.

 You'll need to write this type of letter whenever someone you know has suggested that you apply to a job opening that they know about. It's quite wonderful to get the inside track on job openings.

Here's how to make the most of this excellent opportunity:

Laptop and cup of coffee on desk with text overlay How to write a cover letter for an unadvertised job.
  • The most important thing to remember: Whenever possible, include the name of the person who referred you to the job.Employers like to hire people they know. It will be easier to build trust with the employer in this situation because he or she knows that you've been pre-screened by the person who referred you to the job. So, if you have some kind of connection to someone within the company, mention it in the first sentence of your cover letter.
  • If the referrer is someone you know well, mentioning his or her name is simple. Just write something like, "My colleague (or friend), John Smith, has mentioned that he feels I'd be a great fit for the current opening in your accounting department."
  • It's a little bit trickier to mention the referrer's name if someone who you don't know very well has provided you with a job lead. After you get the person's permission to use their name, you could write something like, "I recently met your customer service representative, Jane Somebody, at the Financial Industry Conference; she mentioned that you are currently seeking an accountant at XYZ Company."
  • Before you include anyone's name on your cover letter, be sure to get their permission to do so. Getting permission is normally not a problem.
  • Occasionally it will not be possible to include the name of the person who told you about the job lead. Perhaps, for example, the person has some inside information that has not yet been made public, and they are taking a chance by passing the lead on to you. In that case, always respect that person's wishes and do not include their name on your cover letter.
  • The referral cover letter is often the easiest cover letter to write because you have access to the most information. 

There are 3 types of cover letters you might need to write: the referral cover letter, the cold call letter, and the response to a job ad.

Here's more information about each type:

Cover Letter Writing Guide

Ask the person who has given you the job lead as much as you can about the company, the needs of the employer and the requirements of the job. Use that information to write a referral cover letter that is highly targeted to the employer's needs.

As with all other cover letters, be specific and research and target the needs of the employer. Take full advantage of this "inside track" job lead by noting the name of the referrer whenever possible, and gathering as much information as you can from the person who has provided you with the job lead.

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