How to Ask a Stranger in LinkedIn for Job Referral

The most commonly asked  question by job seekers using LinkedIn is – How do I send introduction emails in LinkedIn asking for job openings?

I have to admit here – I ignore over 95% of the direct requests from LinkedIn to get connected.

In addition to LinkedIn requests, I receive several emails and comments daily. It’s just impossible to spend 5 to 10 minutes per email for over 150+ questions, requests, favors per day.

After looking at someone’s LinkedIn profile, I ignore or add them based on following information from LinkedIn Requests.

Asking for Job Referral via LinkedIn

Daniel Gulati’s article at Harvard Business Review is an eye opener for me. I plan to adopt his approach when someone asks me question via email or LinkedIn (usually a favor)

If someone asks for Job Favors via LinkedIn, Daniel uses the following trick to pre-qualify them

When people ask for an interview with your boss (or you), gently ask them to write three paragraphs about why they’re the best person for the job, including details of how their prior experience lines up with their desired role. I predict that at least 50 percent of those who originally asked will go silent, because they’re playing the odds: they’re applying for hundreds of roles, asking multiple people for job favors simultaneously and therefore won’t want to put in the extra work to push any single request. That’s perfect, because you can be confident that those who do reply are really serious about the job.

Don’t you think its cool idea to filter out the serious request from “shot in the dark” request?

You are going to hate when your contact is asking you to write 3 paragraphs about yourself.

But, if you are really serious about finding a job, it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to write 3 paragraphs.

I will definitely write 3 paragraphs, if I’m desperate to find a job.

LinkedIn   No – No

Don’t use LinkedIn’s default message used while sending an invite to get connected with a stranger.

Default Invite to connect message in LinkedIn looks like this

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

While sending an invite, you will either ask  your connection to forward the invite or you will reach them directly.

When Requesting for Forwarding

Always personalize your message.

  • Explain why you want your 1st degree connection to forward your request to their connection.
  • Then another brief paragraph about your background to the actual connection.

Direct Requests

Follow the 3 paragraph approach.

While requesting Job referral and you are going to reach your contact directly.

Write three  paragraphs about you. When you personalize your message, you are better chance to get reply from the connection.

Following is the one of the most common question asked by job seekers using linked

How do I send introduction emails in LinkedIn asking for job openings?

Now, you have an answer to that.

  • Personalize your message.
  • Keep it short.

Personalized message should contain the following information

  • Describing why you are the best person for the job
  • Explain how skills, prior experience or education fits with their desired role.

LinkedIn Basics

Watch the following video to understand what is LinkedIn.


If you wan to become a power LinkedIn user read this book I’m on LinkedIn–Now What ??: A Guide to Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn

Similar Posts


  1. I have two year gap after my graduation. In these two years, I only worked for 4 months. First 6 months, I was searching for job and after getting a good job. Because of some Reasons I left that job. And remaining time I was preparing for GATE exam. Even after this I was not able to qualify the exam. How do I answer the question about what I was doing since last one year.
    Now I’m again searching for job, using LinkedIn. What should I do?

  2. Hello,

    Thanks for such a informative topic and I learned new things from it.
    But,there is no example given for us to understand and know the key thing “Please provide us with Example letter with a good message to a Stranger requesting him to help in finding a job.
    Just few lines that doesnt make the other person angry at

  3. Hi sir.I want join for fall period in 2013,then when i have to take GRE exam for better admissions in best universities ,in U.S or Canada .plz give me answer……….

    1. Hello,

      You will have to appear for GRE almost 1 year before and based on your GRE and TOEFL you can start applying as early as possible..depending on the university’s application process start date.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *