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How to Name Drop in a Cover Letter

How to Name Drop in a Cover Letter

Name-dropping in a cover letter involves mentioning a mutual contact as a referral for your job application. It can be a great asset if done correctly. Learn how to do it here.

A great way to get ahead of the competition in the job searching process is to have the opportunity to name-drop.

That can be done using a contact you have in the company you have targeted, or someone who has worked in the company until recently and has parted on good terms.

It goes without saying that you can’t just name-drop without the person’s permission, as that works as a referral.

So how to do that right and get the best out of name-dropping on your cover letter?

In this article, we are going to find out by answering the following questions:

  • What is name-dropping in a cover letter?
  • Should you name-drop in a cover letter?
  • How to name-drop in a cover letter?

And we are going to leave you off with a template for you to use when name-dropping in your own cover letter.

If you feel you are not getting your cover letter just right, check out our cover letter builder and get it done in no time.

But if you are ready to learn how to name-drop on your cover letter, stick around.

What is name-dropping in a cover letter?

First things first, we need to understand what name-dropping actually is.

Name-dropping in your cover letter is the process of mentioning a mutual contact you share with the hiring manager, and you are using it as a referral for your job application.

This shared connection can be a friend, networking acquaintance, or anyone else you know.

When name-dropping is done right, it can be a great asset for you, as it emphasizes your experience, and ability to work effectively with others in the past.

Should you name-drop in a cover letter?

Name-dropping in your cover letter is generally a great idea, as it shows that someone else is willing to put their reputation on the line to vouch for you.

Hiring managers often rely on referral recommendations, as they come from within the company they work at, and come from trusted employees.

So, as long as you have your referral’s approval, you should absolutely take the opportunity and name-drop in your cover letter.

How to name-drop in a cover letter?

Name-dropping in a cover letter can be fairly simple, as long as you know what you are doing.

Follow the below steps, and you will master it in no time.

Find someone you know at the company you are applying for

Whether you have stumbled upon a job ad or are specifically interested in the company, the first step is to find someone you know who works at the same company.

If no name comes to mind at first, don’t worry, there are some things you can do.

The first place you would want to look is LinkedIn, where you can go through employees at any company, as long as they have listed to be working there in their profile.

If that fails, you can try taking a look at your friends list on Facebook, and whether any of them work at your desired company.

If all that fails, you can always try the company’s website, or single Google the company’s name and some of your friends’ names.

Determine their reach

If you have found a contact in your desired company, you are one step closer to the opportunity to name-drop.

Take the chance to ask them about the company, and all the processes inside, so that you can get a better understanding of the company.

But more importantly, you need to find out what terms are they with the hiring managers.

A referral by someone who the hiring manager does not trust, can’t do you any good.

Ask for permission to use their name in your cover letter

If all goes well, you should be able to get to this step, which should be easy, as long as you are on good terms with your contact.

It is essential for you to get their permission before you name-drop in your cover letter.

It is not only polite, but it also helps them prepare in case the hiring manager contacts them with some additional questions about you.

Drop their name into your cover letter opening

Placement of your name-dropping in your cover letter is of great importance, you would want it as early as possible so that you can catch the hiring manager’s attention.

The best way to go is to include the name of your contact at the very beginning of your letter, where you introduce yourself.

Don’t go into detail, as it would only take up valuable space from your cover letter. The hiring manager would surely get in touch with your contact and find out whatever they need.

If you are sending your cover letter as an attached file in an email, make sure you mention your contact’s name in both your email’s body text and the full-length cover letter you attach. This way you ensure that the referral would be noticed.

Send them a copy of your cover letter before you send it out

Last, but not least, send your contact the cover letter before you send it out.

As they vouch for you, it is nice of you to present them with your application document, so that they would be prepared for any potential questions from the hiring manager.

Template for name-dropping in a cover letter

And now, as promised, we have a template for you to use in your own cover letter:

Dear [Mr./Ms.] [Hiring Manager’s Last Name],

My name is [Your Name], and I was approached by [Contact’s Name], who told me about your open [Role Name] position at [Company Name]. I’m writing to submit my application for the position because […]

Takeaways

We are all done, now you know how to name-drop the best possible way in your cover letter.

Let’s do a quick recap of all you need to do to get the best out of your referral:

  • Find someone you know in the company you have targeted – you can try searching through LinkedIn, Facebook, the company’s website, or even Google them
  • Determine your contact’s reach and how much trust would the hiring manager have in them
  • Always ask for permission before you use their name for referral in your cover letter, it is not only polite, but it would also help avoid awkward situations between them and the hiring manager
  • Make sure you name-drop in the beginning of your cover letter, as you would want the hiring manager to notice it as soon as possible
  • Last but not least, send your contact a copy before you send your cover letter out, and make sure you thank them

Now that you have all the knowledge you need, find a contact in your dream company, and get ready to nail the name-dropping in your cover letter.

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Kal Dimitrov
Kal is a resume expert @ Enhancv. He frequently publishes blog posts around resume writing, cover letters & job applications. Kal also runs a Career Accelerator Bootcamp for young graduates.
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