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4 Steps To Landing A Job Referral Without Any Insider Connections

Source | FastCompany : By GRAEME AUSTEN

Quick—what’s the first thing you do if you’re looking for a new job?

If you’re like most people, you head to LinkedIn and start searching for mutual connections at the companies you’re looking to work for.

And rightly so. It’s widely understood that one of the best ways to get your resume noticed is by having a current employee refer you. In fact, according to research by the recruiting platform Jobvite:

  • Employee referrals have the highest applicant-to-hire conversion rate—only 7% apply via referral, but they account for 40% of all hires.
  • Applicants hired via referral start their new jobs sooner than applicants found through career sites (29 days for referrals versus 55 via career sites).
  • Referred hires get paid more than those hired from any other channel.

Simple enough, right? Well, not really. Because chances are you don’t know anyone at the company. Does that mean we can’t get referrals, though? Certainly not.

When I first moved to New York, I knew absolutely no one—not a single soul. But over the next 12 months, I was able to get referrals for jobs at Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and more. Rather than submitting 50 resumes and praying (we all know the feeling), or going to hundreds of meet-ups (ugh), I used a laser-focused approach to networking.

Job hunting can feel like a numbers game (and to a certain degree it is), but this approach can drastically improve your odds of landing an interview.


Since you don’t know anyone at the company, you have the luxury of being able to choose the person you want to build a relationship with. Ideally, that person is going to have some influence on the hiring decision for the position you have in mind.

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