How to Get a Job Referral From a Facebook Friend

Not long ago I was a job seeker. At one point I read statistics about employee referrals being the best way to secure a job. This inspired me to focus on networking to get a referral. As a new grad, my network happened to be small and not so diverse, but that didn’t discourage me.

I found that the most efficient way to reach out to my network was to engage with them on social media—and for me, the best venue for this was Facebook. I looked for friends with similar majors who had secured offers from attractive companies or who had the right connections, and I learned the following tips.

1. Join groups, follow companies and keep an eye on status updates

At the time I did not realize the value of Facebook Groups, but I found that they provided the potential to broaden my network. Many new grads join groups specific to their schools and majors such as “UCLA Class of 2014, Electrical Engineering” where they can share updates about career opportunities. Joining the right groups offers access to three types of resources: 1. A network with a common interest 2. Information about how people are getting interviews and offers 3. People who know about opportunities and will refer others.

You also can follow individual companies. Engaging with a company on social media keeps you in tune with the company culture, industry news, career opportunities and you can see if any of your friends also follow the company. Maybe they work there.

Another quick and easy way to search for work is to skim your news feed for posts about job opportunities. I knew a number of people who posted statuses about positions for which their company was hiring.

2. Evaluate the referrer and yourself

Once you’ve identified a friend who might be able to help you, don’t go in blindly. Just because someone is your friend doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your homework first.

Take time to check out the company’s Facebook page, official website and your friend’s profile. Does the company seem like a good fit? Is your friend someone you can imagine yourself working alongside? If so, the next move it to determine if you’re qualified for the position.

Don’t approach your friend if you’re clearly unqualified. Referrers only want to refer those who are marketable and likely to get hired, so you need to present yourself as an asset.

Side note: If the person isn’t yet your friend, Robert Meyer, Simply Hired’s Social Media Community Manager, suggests that “It’s never good to try to connect with someone without a mutual connection or an explanation to why you’re friending them. It’s best to have a mutual contact friend introduce you. Or you can try to interact with these people in groups on Facebook and then after becoming acquainted, request to connect.”

3. Use your interactions on social media to build common ground

On Facebook you can uncover lifestyle habits. Take a gander at your friend’s profile to get a sense of their personality and possibly some insight into their experience with their company.

Once you see a conversation-starter, go ahead and reach out. I recommend using private messages because it’s more personal. Be sincere about the way you approach your friend. Don’t jump straight into asking for a referral unless they explicitly posted a status in which they were receptive to referring others. You want to establish a strong relationship because this person needs to be able to vouch for you.

On another note, don’t forget to curate your own profile to project an authentic yet professional image. Privacy settings are great for this purpose.

Bonus Tips:

  • The best policy is to treat a referrer as you would a recruiter. Recruiters like responsive candidates. The speediness of your reply can be an indicator of your enthusiasm for the job, so stay on top of your social interactions. But if your friend isn’t responsive, as with recruiters, do not pester them with private messages. Courteously follow up one to two times, max, and if there is no response, it is best to move on. Also, you’d never forget to thank a recruiter for their time, so remember to show your friend the same appreciation.
  • Your referrer isn’t a recruiter (unless they actually are). Unlike recruiters, your referrer knows you on a more personal level, and you have the chance to get honest feedback. Whether you end up getting the job or not, you can ask your referrer for improvement points.
  • The relationship doesn’t end after you get the job. You may or may not end up working intimately with this person. Remember: when someone refers you, your performance also reflects on them.
  • What goes around comes around. If you do get the job, you want to be a resource to others and pay back the good karma you received. Sharing is caring; now that you are equipped with a job, stay aware of any openings at your company and help others the way you were helped.

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