Cover Letter With a Referral From an Employee Example

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The saying goes, "It's not what you know, but who you know"—and when it comes to getting hired, it's true. Get an employee referral, and you may have an easier time catching the hiring manager's attention.

Many companies reward their employees for referring job candidates. The fact is that hiring via referral is cheaper, faster, and more effective than hiring through job sites or recruiting.

Candidates who come recommended are often better qualified, more loyal, and a better fit for the team.

It makes sense: if you were the hiring manager, would you rather interview a candidate with no connection to the company or one that comes recommended by a current employee in good standing?

The latter person is more likely to know what it's like to work for the company – plus, the employee who referred them probably understands that their reputation is at stake. Most likely, they'd avoid referring someone who was less than qualified.

The Power of Using Employee Referrals in Your Cover Letter

According to data from Jobvite, there are significant advantages for employees who land their jobs through referral. Consider:

  • 40% of referred applicants receive a job offer and they comprise only 7% of potential candidates.
  • Want to get to work in a hurry? Referred candidates start sooner than those who come in through other channels. Per this data, employees who come in via referral start their new positions after 29 days on average, compared with 39 - 55 days through job boards.
  • Referred employees have greater job satisfaction, according to Jobvite, and show it by staying put: 47% stay longer than three years.

How to Write a Cover Letter Mentioning an Employee Referral

  • Ask for a referral. This might seem obvious—of course, you'll ask for a referral before you name-drop a current employee in your letter! But it's important that your connection is clued in before you send your cover letter. Bottom line, you want them to be prepared to sing your praises when the hiring manager asks for their opinion. Also: there's always the chance that they'll say no, or that they'll advise you not to apply, for reasons that only an insider would know.)
  • Give your referrer the details. Speaking of singing your praises, your contact can only do that if you let them know which job you're applying for. Don't assume that just because they work at the organization, they'll know what the job entails. Share the job description, and match the requirements to your qualifications. This will give them some talking points to keep in their back pocket, in case they're asked about you.
  • Provide a copy of the cover letter. Forward your email or give your contact a physical copy of your cover letter, for their reference.
  • Say thank you. Whether the employee is writing a referral letter or merely agreeing to be included in your cover letter, it's important to say thank you. Send a thank-you note or email to let them know that you appreciate their help. They'll appreciate the gesture, and it will strengthen your connection.

Employee Referral Cover Letter Template

Download the employee referral cover letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) and review more examples.

Screenshot of an employee referral cover letter sample
©TheBalance 2018

Sample Employee Referral Cover Letter (Text Version)

Stephanie Applicant
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345

September 1, 2018 

Laurel Lee
Director, Human Resources
Sunnyside Group Home
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321

 Dear Ms. Lee,

I am writing in reference to the position of Youth Counselor at the Sunnyside Group Home. I have the pleasure of being acquainted with one of the Counselors on your staff, Eleanor Seville. Eleanor and I did our undergraduate work together at Sunnyville University and have been in touch professionally and personally since then. She let me know about the open position and recommended that I contact you. 

I have been working with at-risk youths for 15 years, and have found the experience extremely rewarding. I have counseled young people with a variety of challenges, including family situations, drug use, eating disorders and behavioral issues. My experience makes me well suited to help the residents at Sunnyside learn and grow in a protected environment.

While I have experience in working with all ages, I believe that the adolescent population at your facility would benefit from the knowledge I gained during the past five years while working in Student Services at Sunnyville High School. I was recognized by the District as "Outstanding Teen Leader 2018" for the After-School Job Mentoring program I developed and implemented with the cooperation of several local businesses.

I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss what I have to bring to the position at Sunnyside. Thank you for reviewing my attached resume.


Stephanie Applicant