When you want to refer someone for a job opportunity on LinkedIn, writing an effective referral message is key. A good referral message can greatly boost the chances that your connection will be considered for the role. Here are some tips on how to write a strong LinkedIn referral:
Make the referral personal
A referral message shouldn’t just be a generic blurb. Take the time to make it personal and customize it to highlight why you’re recommending this person. Mention how you know the person, whether it’s a former colleague, classmate, etc. Include details on projects you worked on together or accomplishments you witnessed first-hand.
Providing personal context on your relationship shows the hiring manager this isn’t just a random person, but someone you actually know and can vouch for.
Highlight relevant skills and experience
Your message should emphasize how this person’s background makes them a great fit. Read through the job description carefully and pick out key skills, qualifications, and requirements. Then illustrate with examples how your connection has those abilities or backgrounds.
For instance, if the role requires 5+ years in a certain field, note how this person has X years doing that exact work. The more you can tailor your message to the specifics of the job, the better.
Keep it concise
Referral messages should be short and to the point. Hiring managers appreciate brevity as they’re often reviewing many applications. Keep your message to 3-5 concise paragraphs or around 250 words.
Stick to the most relevant details on why you’re recommending this candidate. You can leave out minor tangents or extraneous info that won’t directly influence the hiring decision.
Include a call to action
Wrap up your referral with a clear call to action. Ask the hiring manager to please consider the candidate and let you know if they need any other info. Providing next steps makes it more likely they’ll follow up.
You can say something like: “Please let me know if you would like to connect with [name] or need any other details on their background. I’d be happy to help during the interview process as well.”
Send as InMail if possible
When making a referral, it’s best to directly InMail the recruiter or hiring manager if you’re connected on LinkedIn. Sending it through the LinkedIn messaging system makes it more likely to get noticed than an external email.
If you aren’t connected, see if any shared connections can make an introduction or forward along your message. Otherwise, look up the company’s general recruiting email or job mailbox to send your referral.
Follow up afterwards
Don’t leave it at just the referral message. A week or so later, follow up to politely ask if they received your note and see if they have any questions. If the role is on LinkedIn, you can also click “Follow” to get notifications if the status changes to “Under review” after your referral.
Following up shows you care about their consideration and want to help in any way possible throughout the process.
Let the candidate know
Once you’ve sent a referral, immediately loop in the candidate so they can update their materials and prepare for outreach. Send them a quick note saying you passed along their info and will keep them posted on any next steps.
You should also give them a heads up if you plan to follow up with the company so they can watch for any changes. This allows the candidate to take action and engage as well.
Sample LinkedIn referral message
Putting these tips together, here is an example of what a solid LinkedIn referral message might look like:
Subject: Referral for [Candidate Name] for [Job Title]
Dear [Hiring Manager Name],
I wanted to share an enthusiastic referral for [Candidate Name] to apply for your open [Job Title] position. I’ve had the pleasure of working with [Candidate] for [X Years/Months] when we were at [Company Name]. [He/She] consistently impressed me with [his/her] skills in [Relevant Skill 1], [Relevant Skill 2], and [Relevant Skill 3].
[Candidate] will be a wonderful fit for this role based on [his/her] background doing [Responsibility 1], [Responsibility 2], and [Responsibility 3] – directly in line with your requirements. [His/Her] experience with [Specific Qualification] in particular is exactly what you’re looking for in this hire.
Please let me know if you would like me to make a formal introduction between you and [Candidate Name]. I’d be happy to discuss [his/her] qualifications in more detail. Wishing you the best of luck in your search. Please keep me posted on [Candidate]’s application.
Following this template can help craft an effective referral message that gives your connection a leg up. With a personalized, relevant recommendation, you can greatly help someone land their next role.
Extra tips for referrals
Here are some additional suggestions to ensure your LinkedIn referrals are helpful and well-received:
- Only refer people who have specifically said they are interested in the role and given you permission to share their information.
- If the job has been posted for a while, politely ask the hiring manager if they are still accepting referrals before sending.
- Focus on referrals where you have a direct relationship to the recruiter or hiring manager. Random outreach is less likely to get a response.
- Think carefully about who you refer. Only recommend people you would genuinely want to work with again.
- Follow up 2-3 weeks later if you still haven’t heard back after the initial referral.
- Offer to answer any questions the company has throughout the interview process.
- Thank the hiring manager for considering your referral, even if your candidate isn’t ultimately selected.
With an effective referral message and some extra effort, you can help connect quality candidates to new opportunities.