LinkedIn this morning is rolling out a new feature for job searchers that allows them to better leverage their network of connections when looking for a new job. The company is introducing “Ask for a Referral,” which places a button next to the jobs where you know people who work at the company advertising open positions. You can then send your connections a message through LinkedIn, asking them to recommend you for the job in question.
As with many things, getting a job – or at least getting that interview – is about who you know. Referrals greatly help job seekers get a call back compared to an application sent on its own, LinkedIn says. If fact, you’re four times more likely to hear back from a recruiter at the company if you’ve been referred, and nearly half of recruiters say that referrals are the leading source of quality hires.
To get started, LinkedIn has made it easier for you to see just those jobs where you know someone who works at the company. On the desktop, you can click on the new job search filter to look for those jobs “in your network.” This can be combined with other filters, like location, industry, and more, to help you narrow down the positions you may want to apply for.
You can then tap the “Ask for a referral” button at the top of the job listing, and choose the person you want to reach out to. LinkedIn will prompt you to write a message, offering pre-populated text that you can personalize to your inquiry. The company recommends you remind them of how you know each other, or what you have in common, like going to the same school, before explaining why you’re interested and think you’d be a good fit.
The recipient can then choose to follow up on your message by referring you to the job through whatever methods their company supports.
The business networking platform has rolled out a number of new features focused on jobs and hiring in recent months, including a Career Advice program to help users find mentors who can help them figure out how to take their next steps; new data analytics tools for recruiters; and even a resumé-building assistant in Microsoft Word that’s powered by LinkedIn data.
While LinkedIn has largely cornered the market on professional networking, Facebook recently took steps to challenge LinkedIn with the expansion of its Jobs dashboard to 40 more countries worldwide. While many of its jobs are more entry-level, blue-collar, or low-skilled, it could move more heavily into professional jobs in the future, and leverage its own network of connections along the way, if it chose. That potential threat to LinkedIn’s business, which earned Microsoft over a billion in revenue in Q4 2017, shouldn’t be overlooked. LinkedIn will need to find a number of ways to cater to job seekers and recruiters alike through tools and services that help the right people get connected to the right jobs.
The new Ask for a Referral feature is live now across LinkedIn.