Most of us have been in a situation where a work opportunity has arisen because of a contact or acquaintance. Often, connections and experience are as valuable as knowledge and education. With that in mind, LinkedIn has important new feature called “ask for a referral”.

The name of the new ability is pretty self-explanatory. LinkedIn users are now able to search for jobs at organizations that have someone already connected to them. For example, a contact on LinkedIn working in a company where there is a job opening.

Under the new system, users are able to ask that contact to provide a referral directly to the job post. To facilitate the referral feature, LinkedIn has added a new “in your network” filter on the network. This gives users the ability to refine job searches to organizations where contacts currently work.

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Other filters are available, such as industry specific and location specific searches. The Microsoft-owned company wants users to have the power to operate a referral system in a traditional sense. Indeed, users do not have to specifically search for an organization. If they happen upon position with a contact, a referral request can still be sent.

Of course, LinkedIn is not like Facebook, so there is a chance some contacts are merely loose acquaintances and certainly not always friends. With that in mind, LinkedIn is providing phrases users can choose to ask for a request.

Boosting Recruitment Chances

Maybe you will be asking a relative stranger for a referral based on previous work. The company advises users to be personal in the message and provide relevant information regarding the role.

“Referrals are the best way to get your foot in the door,” noted LinkedIn associate product manager Bryce Lewis. “In fact, the number one way job seekers on LinkedIn first discovered a job was through someone they knew, which is not surprising, as nearly 50 percent of recruiters say referrals are the leading source of quality hires.”

Lewis suggests a candidate is improving their chances greatly by using the new system. Indeed, she says users increase their chance of getting the job four times by using a referral.

“Long story short, it’s important to know who in your network can help you find your next role, and how to reach out,” she added.

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