Personal Reference Cover Letter

When you apply for a job, it's important to use anything you can that will set you apart from other candidates. A personal recommendation offers prospective employers a "second opinion" as to why they should hire you, especially if that recommendation comes from a previous employer or a mutual connection who can vouch for your strengths as an employee.


Providing a personal recommendation enhances your credibility and reputation when applying for a job. Employers often request references or verify your employment, so if you can offer them a detailed, relevant recommendation with your cover letter, you save them some time and provide context for the qualifications you highlight in your letter and resume. For example, if you focus on your leadership skills in your letter, this carries more weight when you can provide a recommendation from a former employer praising the way you successfully oversaw a company merger.

Mentioning the Recommendation in Your Opening

Start your letter by noting the recommendation, especially if it's from someone who works from the company, someone the employer knows or someone respected within the industry. For example, open with a sentence such as "I volunteer with your director of community relations, Jane Smith, who thought I'd be a good fit at Taylor Inc. and recommended I apply for the marketing associate position that just opened up." This gets the employer's attention and provides you with an automatic endorsement that will distinguish you from other applicants.

Including the Recommendation With Your Letter

If you have a letter of recommendation, include it with your cover letter. If you're mailing your letter, send the recommendation letter as an enclosure, preferably in its own sealed envelope. If you're emailing your cover letter, you can send it as an attachment. You should contact the employer first to ensure the company accepts emails with attachments, however, because many organizations automatically delete emails with attachments to prevent the risk of a virus or other malware. Alternatively, ask the person providing the reference to send the letter, and mention in your cover letter that a recommendation letter will follow. Mention the person's name and when he plans to send the letter so the employer can watch for it.


Confirm that the person offering the recommendation understands how you plan to use it. He may prefer to write a letter only for a specific job you're applying for, or may rather write a generic letter you can use wherever you apply. If you're mentioning in your cover letter that the person recommended you apply for the job, make sure he's on good terms with the employer. If the employer doesn't know him well, the recommendation may carry little weight. If the employer doesn't have a good relationship with the person, the recommendation could hurt you. Also, ask him if he's willing to talk to employers if they want to follow up on recommendation. If he's not, he won't be prepared to sell employers on why they should hire you.

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Cover Letter Referred by a Contact Examples

Cover Letters and Email Samples to Use for a Referral

When you are applying for jobs, it’s always helpful to have a referral. Being able to mention a mutual acquaintance when writing to a hiring manager gives you an immediate connection, and can help get your resume noticed.

Your cover letter is the ideal place to mention your referral’s name, and the context you know them in. Including a referral, if you have one, is one of the best ways to get your cover letter noticed - and read.

What to Include in the Letter

Your cover letter should be written as a formal business letter, whether it is sent as an attachment, via post or email. An attachment or posted letter should begin with your contact information, the date, and the hiring manager’s contact information. An email cover letter should include the referral in the subject line of the message.

Begin your letter with a salutation followed by the hiring manager’s name. Mention your referral in the first paragraph of your cover letter, with a brief explanation of your connection.

You can then mention what interests you about the position, and how you are qualified for the job. Make sure you thank the person for their time and consideration, and use an appropriate cover letter closing, followed by your signature and/or typed full name. In an email, your contact information would follow your typed name.

Here are examples of cover letters which mention that you were referred by a contact.

Cover Letter Example With a Referral

Your Firstname Lastname
City, State, Zip


Firstname Lastname
City, State, Zip

Dear Mr. Maximillian,

I am writing to express my interest in the International Sales position open at Rubymax, Inc. I am very familiar with your products, and would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how I could help increase your International presence.

My colleague Joe Smith recommended that I contact you directly about this position. Joe and I have worked closely in the industry for many years, and he thought that I would be a good match for Rubymax.

My ten years of experience marketing widgets internationally have given me an overall knowledge of the business, directly applicable to your interest in increasing sales abroad.

In my previous position as International Sales Rep with ZQR Company, I successfully increased our revenue in each of my territories by over 50% within my first year. In the five years I spent at ZQR, I helped to establish sales bases in an additional five countries, while continuing to increase revenue in all.

Please take the time to review my resume. I believe that I am an excellent candidate for the position you have advertised, and would very much like the opportunity to meet with you discuss what I have to offer Rubymax, Inc. I truly appreciate your consideration.

Sincerely yours,

June Armour

Email Cover Letter With a Referral

Subject: Referred by Sloane Greene

Dear Ms. Future,

I am writing to you in regard to the position of billing manager that you have posted on your company website. I worked with Sloane Greene in the billing department of XYZ Enterprises for several years before taking a hiatus to raise my children.

When I mentioned I was returning to the workforce, she recommended I contact you about this position, as she felt that I would be an excellent fit for your organization.

At XYZ, I worked closely with Sloane to convert our billing system to handle the increase in sales volume the company was experiencing. I oversaw the seamless transition when our deliverables doubled in less than 6 months. I have successfully managed both small and large billing departments, but am most comfortable in an environment like that at your company. I feel that my experience would be an asset to Bright Enterprises, and would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you regarding the open position.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.


Beth Maple

Additional Cover Letter Samples
Review sample cover letters for a variety of scenarios including a follow-up letter, inquiry letters, job/industry specific sample cover letters, cold contact and referral letter samples.

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