How do you get a referral to a job opening not listed publicly?

Want to score an amazing job opportunity that isn't publicly listed? Increase your chances of landing an unadvertised opening.

If you're on the hunt for a new job, you know how competitive the job market can be. But did you know that many job openings are never publicly advertised? That's right - sometimes, the best opportunities are only available through referrals. Most job applicants believe that for such rare jobs, there is less competition and thus it is easier to land, and get offered the role. So, how do you get a referral to an unlisted job opening? It's all about networking and leveraging your connections.

In this article, we'll explore the steps you can take to increase your chances of landing an unadvertised job opening through referrals. We'll also share some insider tips on how to make the most of your referral and stand out from the interview competition. By the end of this article, you'll have a solid plan for getting referred to an unlisted job opening and positioning yourself as the top candidate. So, let's get started!

Understanding the Value of Referrals

Referral-based job openings can be some of the most desirable, as they are often given to high-quality candidates who have already been vetted by someone within the company. Don't underestimate the importance of networking in the job search process. These types of openings can also be easier to land, as the hiring manager may already have a positive impression of you before you even apply. That's why it's so important to understand the value of referrals in the job search process and how to effectively network to increase your chances of getting referred.

One way to get referred is by actively building and maintaining your professional network. This can involve attending industry events, joining professional organizations, and connecting with people on LinkedIn. By regularly interacting with others in your field, you can establish yourself as a thought leader and build trust with potential referral sources.

Another way to get referred is by asking for a referral directly. If you have a strong relationship with someone who works at a company you're interested in, don't be afraid to ask if they know of any open positions or if they would be willing to refer you. Just be sure to do your research and tailor your request to the specific person and company.

Making the Most of Your Connections to Get Referred to an Unlisted Job Opening

Once you've identified potential referral sources, it's important to make the most of your connections. Here are a few tips to help you get referred to an unlisted job opening:

  1. Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date and well-written. Your LinkedIn network profile is often the first impression a potential referral source will have of you, so make sure it publicly showcases your skills and accomplishments in the best light possible.
  2. Clearly communicate your career goals and job preferences to your network, as you would to an interviewer. If you're looking for a specific type of role or industry, be sure to let your connections know. This will make it easier for them to refer you to relevant openings.
  3. Offer to help your connections in any way you can, whenever you can. Whether it's writing a recommendation, introducing them to someone in your network, or simply offering advice. It's unsightly to just be waiting for others to help you - make relationships a two-way street; make work relationships reciprocal. Show that you're willing to go above and beyond can help establish trust and increase your chances of getting referred.

How to Make Your Referral Stand Out from the Competition

Even if you have a referral, it's important to remember that you'll still be competing with other candidates for the position. Here are a few tips to help you stand out from the competition:

  1. Tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific company and position. Build content at length (have more to say, rather than submit a sparse, short resume) to show that you've done your research and are genuinely interested in the opportunity.
  2. Practice your interviewing skills so you are not thrown off or shocked by certain questions. Even if you have a referral, you'll still need to impress the hiring manager during the interview process.
  3. Make sure you're prepared to answer common interview questions and have examples of your skills and accomplishments ready to share.
  4. Follow up after the interview. Whether it's a thank-you note or a quick email, following up after the interview can help you stay top-of-mind with the hiring manager and increase your chances of getting the job.

Handling Rejections and Setbacks: Dealing with Disappointment

It's important to remember that even with a referral, there's no guarantee that you'll get the job. Respond to the release of the interview result in a decent, responsible way - no matter if you get good news or bad news.

You may face rejections or setbacks along the way, and it's important to handle these disappointments in a healthy and productive way. Here are a few tips for dealing with rejection:

  1. Don't take it personally. Remember that there are often many factors that go into the hiring decision, and it may not have anything to do with your qualifications or abilities. Just like some personal aspects can drive people to quit their jobs, as an interviewee, interviewers may have personal reservations that result them in not offering the job you applied for.
  2. Use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Ask for feedback on your application or interview, and add this to the list of feedback you've collated from your past mock interviews. In all, you want to use this summation information to improve your chances of success in future job searches.
  3. Keep an open mind and stay positive. Don't let rejections discourage you or derail your job search. Instead, focus on the progress you've made and the opportunities (including internal ones within your existing company) that are still available to you.

Alternative Ways to Find Unadvertised Job Openings

While getting referred is one way to find unadvertised job openings, it's not the only way. We should also look to expand your job search beyond being spoon-fed by your connections to seek out these private jobs. Here are a few other strategies you can use to uncover hidden job opportunities:

  1. Use your network to your advantage and further your career. In addition to asking for referrals, you can also ask your connections if they know of any open positions or if they would be willing to introduce you to someone at a company you're interested in.
  2. Consider working with a recruiter. Recruiters have inside knowledge of job openings that may not be publicly listed, and they can help you identify opportunities that align with your previous experience and career goals.
  3. Look for companies that are hiring. Even if a company doesn't have any job listings on their website, they may still be hiring. Try reaching out to them directly to inquire about potential openings.

Making the Most of Your Referral: Turning a Referral into a Job Offer

If you're fortunate enough to get referred to an unlisted job opening, it's important to make the most of this opportunity. Here are a few tips to help you turn your referral into a job offer:

  1. Show your gratitude. Be sure to thank the person who referred you and let them know how much you appreciate their support.
  2. Follow through on any requests or recommendations from your referral source. If they recommend that you highlight certain skills or experiences in your application or interview, make sure you do so.
  3. Stay in touch with your referral source. Even after the hiring process is over, it's important to maintain your relationship with the person who referred you. You never know when you might need their help or guidance in the future.


Referrals can be a valuable resource in the job search process, especially when it comes to unadvertised job openings. By understanding the importance of networking and leveraging your connections, you can increase your chances of getting referred to an unlisted job opening. Remember to make the most of your referral by tailoring your application and customising it to showcase your skills, and don't be discouraged by rejections or setbacks. Finally, consider alternative ways to find unadvertised job openings, such as working with a recruiter or reaching out to companies directly. By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to landing the job of your dreams.

But the question remains: is getting a referral the only way to find unadvertised job openings? While it can certainly be helpful, it's important to remember that there are many other strategies you can use to uncover hidden job opportunities. So don't limit yourself to just one approach – keep an open mind and be proactive in your job search, and you may just find that dream job you've been looking for.

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