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A tricky question - Can I ask my ex for a referral?

networking Referral
New answer on Nov 09, 2020
5 Answers
1.8 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jul 06, 2020

Hey all, this might be a ridiculous question but I have been bothered by it for a long time and will highly appreciate your time for giving some thoughts on this.

My ex is working at a well-known firm that is one of my most prioritised targets. It would be very helpful to have a referral in terms of securing an interview. However, I don't know if I should approach my ex just for this.

So what would be your opinion? If you do think I should give it a try, how would you suggest doing that, like in a personal or professional manner?

Thanks for finishing reading this without laughing too loud!!


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Content Creator
replied on Jul 06, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Well, you are probably the one who can answer best ;)

It really depends on your current relationship with your ex. If it is a good relationship, go for it. If you didn’t talk in last several months, well… I would look for someone else.

If you know what to do, it is not very difficult to find another referral.

In general, you should follow three steps:

  1. Identify the people that can help you
  2. Write them a customized email
  3. Have a call and indirectly ask for a referral

As general tips:

  • Don’t use LinkedIn for your communication – emails work better. You should target 30% conversion for your messages; if you are not achieving that, there is space for improvement.
  • When sending emails, your goal should be to organize a call, not to ask questions – you can then use the call for the questions.
  • You need to close the call with an indirect request for a referral – don’t leave that to chances. There are specific ways to ask to maximize your chances.

Before the call, you should have your CV and Cover ready – in this way you can send them right away it if the person wants to refer you.

If you are interested to know more on referrals, please feel free to PM me. I provide a 30 min session at 50% discount to understand the exact steps to get MBB referrals, directly from home – no events participation required.

This includes all the scripts needed for the email to send and the call to have with the consultant.

Following the same process, I managed to get 6 invitations out of 6 applications – including all MBB – and I regularly see my mentees getting referrals for MBB with that.



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Content Creator
replied on Jul 06, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

The main driver of that question is your current relationship with your ex. Did you separate in friendly terms, and thus will she be willing to refer you?

If so, go ahead - you don't have anything to lose and I don't see a point why you should feel unconfomfortable just about asking for it!

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind and give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!


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Content Creator
replied on Jul 06, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


I think there are two things here:

  • Personal aspect: only you can answer whether it makes sense or not to touch base with your ex for this.
  • Professional aspect: it does not matter that is your ex, since he/she will only present you as a got fit for the team.

Hence, make up your mind regarding the personal implications and, if worth it, green light ahead.

Hope it helps!



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Content Creator
replied on Nov 09, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

It depends on what relationship you stayed in after your breakup

Did you stay on good terms?

All the best,


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Anonymous replied on Jul 09, 2020

Dear A,

Of course it depends on your relationships on you separate, and actually her williness to refer you. If there is no issue neither for you nor for her, then just go for it and use this chance.

Wish you best of luck,


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