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Referral Guide

What is a referral?

Referrals are basically a recommendation from a current employee. While applying to technical roles, a referral can help you “get your foot into the door” or “tip the scales in your favor,” and if you have time, you should do whatever you can to get one. Referrals only help you get a first round at companies, but getting that first round may sometimes be the hardest part of the process.
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For most companies, you cannot get a referral if you have already submitted an application, so make sure to get a referral and use the special referral link to apply!
Referrals do not make or break an application, though. So if you’re unable to get one for a company, don’t sweat it. They can help your application stand out, but they only do so far to get you a first round and the rest would be up to your own merits (projects, internship experiences, leadership positions, etc.).
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Pro-tip: Only spend time getting referrals for your top companies or companies that are notoriously hard to get an interview at (FAANG, Unicorns, Top trading firms etc.).

How to get a referral

Reach out to people who are currently working at a company (in some cases, even interns can refer!)
LinkedIn and Handshake are great places to do this
Tell them that you would love to learn more about the company and that you’re applying soon
❗ Take the time to talk to them to learn more about the company! Don’t make them feel like you’re just using them for a recommendation.
Establish a real connection with them by showing that you are genuinely interested in their companies (do some research on the company and ask thoughtful questions during your call).
Never start off with asking for a referral directly unless you already know them well!
Don’t stress if they don’t offer you one right away. Reach out to other people in the company (reach out to ~5 people per company for a good chance of success).
After getting a referral and applying, update the person who referred you! They might be able to see how you’ve done internally, but it’s always nice to maintain the relationship.

⭐ Contributors

Vico Lee ‘24
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