In the world of online job applications, there are really two categories of applications: those submitted through a current employee of the company and those that were not. Applications submitted by a current employee are immediately placed on the top of the metaphorical resume pile because research shows referrals are typically a better fit for a role and stay in their jobs longer than someone who applied without knowing someone at the company.
So, it's highly advantageous to get a current employee at the company you're interested in to refer you through their internal system. Most people are glad to do this (assuming they think you're a good fit for the role) because they earn a referral bonus if you get an offer and accept a job.
You can ask for an internal referral from a friend you have at the company or during an informational interview. Check out our articles on informational interviews by starting here.
Let's assume you identified someone at the company who you can ask to refer you and look at an example of how you can make the ask in a phone or in-person conversation:
"I'm really excited about the [insert job title] opportunity at your company and definitely want to apply. If you have an internal referral system, would you feel comfortable referring me? That would really help my application stand out!"
If you are making the ask via email, here's an example of what you can write:
I'm putting together my application for the [insert job title] role at [insert company name]. It occured to me that most companies have an internal referral system (and oftentimes they give bonsues to the employees who make the referral!).
An internal referral significantly boosts my chances of an interview. Are you willing to internally refer me? I've attached my resume to this email so you have all of the information you need. If you don't feel comfortable doing this I understand.
While it can be uncomfortable to ask someone to do this, it's worth doing it. Most companies have a policy that any candidate who was internally referred automatically gets a first-round interview.
Go for it! Write out your outreach message here.