Asking for a referral can be one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the job hunting process. But it just got a little easier.
Whether you’re finding ways to stitch together paychecks while unemployed or feigning endless doctors’ appointments to sneak out to midday interviews, searching for a new job can definitely suck. So we’re extremely here for any tip or trick that makes it all less stressful.
This morning, LinkedIn released a feature called “Ask for a Referral,” a simple tool that seeks to do just that. Say that you’re trying to be Girlboss’ new branded content editor. (Wait…are you actually? That would be awesome.)
When you go to the job listing on LinkedIn, it automatically pulls up any LinkedIn connection who works at the company. But instead of sending your connection a LinkedIn message, an email, or texting them, you can now click “Ask for a Referral” and it queues up a pre-populated message. You literally click one button and you’re on your way.
I admit, it sounds annoying. Isn’t the very point of reaching out to a pal, rather than just applying online, about the value of human connection? Why would you send a pre-populated robo message to a friend you’re asking a favor from? Could impersonal and transactional communication even make someone less likely to recommend you?
But hit the button and you might just become an insta-fan.
This is a highly normal message that looks surprisingly close to what I’d actually write. The friendly sign-on and sign-off and words like “chat” make it sound like it was written by, well yes, perhaps a robot, but a robot with serious emotional intelligence. The kind of robot we must truly keep an eye on so they don’t steal our jobs and girlfriends.
In their blog post releasing the product, LinkedIn suggests personalizing your message in the following way: “Remind them how they know you. Jog their memory of where you met if you haven’t been in touch recently. Call out things you have in common, like if you went to the same school.
“Share why you’re a good fit. Include why you’d be a good fit for the job, including your skills and relevant experience. This will make it easier for the person you know to recommend you to the hiring manager or recruiter.
Highlight why you’re interested. Stand out by telling them why you’re interested in this role. This can be anything from being a fan of the company’s product or service to wanting to move to the city their office is located in.”
We all know that referrals are key. If you have a contact who works at the company who can personally vouch “this applicant is not a huge pain in the ass” to the hiring director, it can only help. Better yet, the feature is pain-free for the person receiving the message, who can fiddle with their own one-click form letter that starts “Sure,” “Let’s talk,” or “Sorry.”
After all the Facebook data breaches and Twitter harassment issues and the erosion of individual thought and interior life that companies of their ilk contribute to (let’s not get started on that today), no one would blame you for standing ready with a pitchfork, coming at social media’s every update.
But when it comes to finding work “Ask for a Referral” could prove a helpful tool that’ll allow you to avoid the terror of facing down a blank page. As national treasure Ina Garten often says: “How easy is that?