Myths about “Referral”
#1 A referral is much needed to get a job as I submit tons of applications and no one calls me.
#2 If I got referred, 90% I would get hired.
#3 I should ask for a referral after meeting someone through coffee chat.
Truths about “Referral”
#1 For entry-level jobs, you don’t need a referral, you need a great resume and an ability to articulate to sell yourself on both resume, on the phone and in-person. Most people don't have referral and they can still get a job.
#2 Referral can only get you to the interview. It is not a guarantee of a job offer.
Also depending on effort of the person who refers you, simply putting his/her name on the application doesn’t help. He/she needs to talk to the hiring manager to really make a difference.
#3 “I don’t know you and you don’t know me”, please don’t ask for a referral when meeting me the 1st time just because you really need a job. I don't trust you enough to risk my reputation at work to make a referral. If you want my referral, you have to earn it over time.
Networking is a long-term game and Person-to-Person 2-way relationship. It's not about "I can't find a job, I need a referral, let's ask him/her for a coffee chat". The fact is nobody wants to feel "being used" when he/she doesn't know you at the first place.
You need to prove you deserve his/her trust before asking for a referral.