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In today’s job market, many employers prefer to hire someone who is referred to them. But good referrals can seem like finding a needle in a haystack. If you are looking for a new career opportunity, here are some ways to get a job referral.

  1. Set up a “Soft Referral”

A “soft referral” is when you know someone who might be able to refer you for a job and ask if they will do that. You may even offer them some incentive, like the promise of lunch or coffee, for them referring you. Just keep in mind that most companies prefer an unsolicited referral over a soft referral.

  1. Network, Network, Network

Every job seeker knows that networking is important. The more names and numbers you have in your rolodex, the greater chance of building a referral network that will eventually lead to a good job referral. Don’t be afraid to ask for information or referrals from everyone you meet: you never know who might have a connection.

  1. Get to Know Your Co-Workers

Your co-workers are a great group of people to tap for work and career information and referrals. They also know your strengths and weaknesses, so try to get them excited about referring you for a new opportunity. They often even know something that you don’t, which could give you the competitive advantage you need to get the job.

  1. Introduce Yourself and Give Your Business Card

Even if you don’t know someone, introduce yourself and hand them your business card with a note on the back asking for a referral. The person may not remember who you are or what job you’ve applied for, but they will definitely remember your name.

  1. Get a Headhunter or Recruiter

Many people feel that headhunters and recruiters are a little too aggressive when trying to get a referral, but they can be invaluable resources if you happen to know someone who knows someone.

These people do indeed make more money the faster they place people, so don’t take offense if a recruiter tries to move things along a little speedily.

Use these tips to get a job referral, and someone might be calling you soon!