How to Write an Email Referral: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re looking to make meaningful connections and help your friends or colleagues advance their careers, writing an email referral can be a powerful tool. Not only can such a referral strengthen your professional relationships and establish trust, it can also lead to opportunities for both parties involved.

The key to crafting an effective email referral is to be concise while still providing specific details that highlight the individual’s strengths and achievements. To help get you started, there are numerous examples of successful email referrals available online that you can use as a template or edit as needed to suit your specific situation.

With a little effort and attention to detail, you can make the process of writing an email referral a simple and effective way to help others succeed. So, if you’re ready to start making a difference for those around you, consider taking advantage of this valuable communication tool.

The Best Structure for Writing an Email Referral

When it comes to referring someone via email, it’s important to make the process clear and straightforward. A well-written referral email can help the recipient understand why they’re being referred and what next steps they should take.

Here are some tips for structuring your email referral:

Start with a clear subject line:

The subject line should be clear and concise, letting the recipient know what the email is about. For example, “Referral for [Name]” or “Introduction to [Company Name].” This will help the recipient understand the purpose of the email and encourage them to open it.

Introduce yourself and the person you’re referring:

Start your email by introducing yourself and your connection to the person you’re referring. Be sure to include details that help establish your credibility and why you might be a valuable reference.

Explain why you’re referring them:

Describe the specific skills or qualities that make this person an ideal candidate for the opportunity or introduction you’re referring them for. Be specific and detailed, giving examples and anecdotes that support your recommendation.

Provide context and background information:

If relevant, provide additional context or background information that can help the recipient understand why the referral is valuable or important. This could include information about the hiring process, the company culture, or the industry trends they should be aware of.

Suggest next steps:

Provide specific instructions or suggestions for what the recipient should do next. This could include scheduling an interview, connecting on LinkedIn, or following up with you for more information.

End with a positive note:

End your email on a positive note, thanking the recipient for their time and consideration. Let them know that you’re available to provide additional information or support if needed.

Following these steps can help ensure that your email referral is clear, concise, and effective. By providing a well-written introduction that highlights the strengths and qualities of the person you’re referring, you can help them stand out and increase their chances of success.

7 Sample Email Referrals for Different Reasons

Referral for Job Opportunity


I am excited to refer my colleague, John Doe, for the job opening at your company. I have had the pleasure of working with John for the past three years and have consistently been impressed with his dedication and work ethic.

John is a skilled problem-solver who consistently produces high-quality work on time and within budget. He is an excellent communicator and team player, always willing to go above and beyond to help his colleagues. I am confident that he would be a valuable asset to your company.

Thank you for considering John for this opportunity.

Best regards,

Jane Smith

Referral for Graduate School Program

Dear Admissions Committee,

I am pleased to write a letter of recommendation for my former student, Sarah Johnson. During her time in my class, Sarah consistently demonstrated excellent critical thinking skills, a strong work ethic, and a passion for learning.

Sarah is particularly interested in pursuing a graduate degree in psychology, and I believe she would be an excellent fit for your program. She has a strong academic record, and her interpersonal skills would make her an asset to any research team.

I highly recommend Sarah for your graduate program and am confident that she will excel in her studies.


Dr. Robert Brown

Referral for Networking Opportunity


I am writing to introduce you to my colleague, Mark Lee. Mark is an experienced software engineer who is interested in networking with other professionals in the field.

I have worked with Mark on several projects and have always been impressed with his technical expertise and his ability to work collaboratively with others. I believe that he would be a valuable addition to your network and could benefit from the experiences and insights of other professionals in the field.

Thank you for considering my referral.

Best regards,

David Chen

Referral for Volunteer Opportunity

Dear Volunteer Coordinator,

I am writing to recommend my friend, Lisa Nguyen, for the volunteer position with your organization. I have known Lisa for several years and have always been impressed with her commitment to social justice and her passion for making a difference in her community.

Lisa has volunteered with several organizations in the past, and I believe that she would be an excellent fit for your group. She is reliable, compassionate, and hardworking and would be an asset to any team.

Thank you for considering Lisa for this opportunity.


Steven Rodriguez

Referral for Business Partnership

Dear Business Owner,

I am writing to introduce you to my colleague, Sarah Kim, who is interested in exploring a potential business partnership with your company. Sarah is an accomplished marketing professional with a wealth of experience in the industry.

I have had the pleasure of working with Sarah for several years, and have always been impressed with her strategic thinking and her ability to develop and execute successful marketing campaigns. I believe that her skills and expertise would be a great asset to your company, and that she would be an excellent partner for your business.

Thank you for considering this referral.

Best regards,

Megan Lee

Referral for Scholarship Program

Dear Scholarship Committee,

I am writing to recommend my student, Maria Hernandez, for your scholarship program. Maria is an exceptional student who has shown dedication and perseverance in pursuing her academic goals.

Maria is particularly interested in studying environmental science and has demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability through her volunteer work and her coursework. I believe that she has the potential to make a significant impact in this field, and that your scholarship would help her achieve her goals.

Thank you for considering her application.


Dr. Julia Kim

Referral for Personal Recommendation

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am writing to recommend my friend, Michael Brown, for the position at your company. Michael and I have known each other for several years and I can attest to his hard work ethic, his dedication, and his ability to collaborate with others.

Michael has experience in the field and is interested in further developing his skills and experience at your company. He has a great track record of completing projects on time and under budget, and his work has always been of the highest quality.

I highly recommend Michael for this opportunity.

Best regards,

Emily Chen

Tips for Writing an Effective Email Referral

Writing an email referral can be a daunting task, but it’s an important skill to have. A well-written email referral can help your friend or colleague land a job or score a potential client. Here are some tips to help you write an effective email referral:

  • Start with a clear introduction: Begin your email referral with a clear and concise introduction. Mention how you know the person you are referring and why you are recommending them. This sets the tone for the rest of the email and helps the recipient understand why they should pay attention to your referral.

  • Include relevant qualifications and experience: When writing an email referral, it’s important to highlight the relevant qualifications and experience of the person you are referring. Be specific and highlight any skills or achievements that are relevant to the job or client they are seeking. This will help the recipient see why the person you are referring is a good fit for the opportunity.

  • Tell a story: People remember stories better than facts and figures. Consider incorporating a short anecdote or story that demonstrates the person’s character and work ethic. This will help make your email referral more memorable and engaging.

  • Be honest: It’s important to be honest when writing an email referral. If you can’t provide a glowing recommendation, consider declining the request. If possible, give constructive feedback that can help the person improve for future opportunities.

  • Add a call to action: End your email referral with a clear call to action. If you’re referring the person for a job, consider providing the hiring manager’s contact information and encouraging the person to follow up. If you’re referring the person for a client, provide your email address or phone number and encourage the client to contact you with any questions or concerns.

Writing a strong email referral takes time and effort, but it can have a significant impact on someone’s career. By following these tips and taking the time to craft a well-written referral, you can help your friend or colleague succeed.

FAQs on How to Write an Email Referral

What is the purpose of an email referral?

An email referral is used to introduce a person or company to someone else in order to help them connect or do business together.

What should I include in my email referral?

Your email referral should include a clear introduction of the person or company you’re referring, your personal recommendation of them, and any relevant contact information.

How should I start my email referral?

Start your email referral with a polite greeting and a brief statement of your purpose for reaching out.

What tone should I use in my email referral?

Your email referral should be professional and polite, but also authentic and personal. Try to convey your enthusiasm for making the connection.

How long should my email referral be?

Your email referral should be brief and to the point, ideally no more than a few paragraphs. Be respectful of the recipient’s time.

What should I do after sending my email referral?

Follow up with the recipient and the person or company you referred to ensure they have connected and to offer any additional assistance if needed.

What should I avoid when writing an email referral?

Avoid using overly formal language or jargon, making assumptions about the recipient’s interest, or including irrelevant information. Focus on what will be most important and helpful to the recipient.

Time to Nail that Referral Email!

So that’s pretty much how to write a referral email that can get your friend or colleague their dream job. Just remember to be sincere, provide specific job-related skills, and be generous with your praises. And if you’ve landed a great job due to a referral, don’t forget to pay it forward and recommend someone else in the future. Thanks for reading, and hope to see you soon for our next article on job hunting and career tips!