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It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Or so the saying goes. It may be something of a cliché, but there is more than a grain of truth in that oft-quoted mantra.

With that in mind, LinkedIn is today rolling out “ask for a referral,” which does pretty much what it says on the box.

The new feature allows you to identify jobs at organizations where you’re already connected with someone through LinkedIn and then ask that individual to provide a referral to the person who posted the job.

A new “in your network” filter lets you narrow a job search to organizations where you’re already connected to someone. You can add additional filters, such as “location” or “industry,” to focus those results even more specifically. If you happen to stumble upon a job listing through other means, you’ll still be able to see all your connections related to that company, as before. Now, however, you’ll be able to hit the “ask for a referral” button and choose which of your contacts you’re most comfortable asking to give you an “in” with the recruiters.

LinkedIn will suggest some phrases to use in approaching your contact, however it recommends personalizing the message with information relevant to your professional relationship and your suitability for the role.

Above: Ask for a referral

With an anticipated global workforce crisis looming, companies and VC firms have been increasingly investing in recruitment platforms, tools, and technologies. Even Google is doubling down on its efforts in the recruitment realm, with standalone hiring apps and programs designed specifically to match job-hunters with recruiters.

However, one of the most effective ways for companies to find talent is through word-of-mouth recommendations from existing employees — and that is where LinkedIn’s latest feature comes into play.

“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.”

According to Lewis, a candidate is four times more likely to hear back from a recruiter if their application is made on the basis of 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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