When I have been provided the contact information for a highly-ranked individual from one of our mutual friends, should I introduce myself as such?
Handle a personal or professional referral with the utmost care during your job search. Other’s reputations should never be treated carelessly and you represent not just yourself but the referee when reaching out to others regarding your job search. Double and triple check your correspondence and resume for spelling and grammatical errors, use a properly customized cover letter introducing yourself through the referee – put your very best foot forward.
It’s always appropriate to use the name of your referee when making first contact but make sure you have permission to do so first. Many times when I am referred by a candidate I represent to someone else, they want to keep our relationship confidential, preserving discretion surrounding their own search. If you’re unable to use the name, any qualifying information you can provide (i.e. someone out of ABC Bank referred me to you) will help to vouch for you. If you can’t disclose anything at all about the referee, an introduction along the lines of “I’ve heard through my network you may be hiring currently” can suffice. Always attempt to provide the name of the individual – much of the weight of a reference comes from how highly the contact regards your referee.
Again, remember that when you are referred to a third party, you represent the person kind enough to provide you with the help of a reference. Don’t jeopardize your relationship by failing to impress when the referee will surely be judged by your presentation and actions.