9 Keys on How to Email a New Networking Contact During a Job Search (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

Students and young professionals ALWAYS ask me what they should say when first reaching out to someone for career advice, so here is your blueprint. 

The bottom line is this: People have to trust you and like you BEFORE they will help you, refer you, hire you, or buy from you.  Therefore, the goal of any initial communication with a new networking contact is to build trust and rapport. 

Here are 9 keys on how to do that via email:

  1. Use a Compelling Subject Line For Your Email. (This makes a great first impression and increases your chances of getting a quick, favorable response.)
  2. Establish something in common.  (It could be a mutual acquaintance, a shared affiliation, you saw them speak at an event, you read their book, a recent blog entry or article, you attended the same college, etc.).
  3. Compliment their work and acknowledge how busy they are, without being a kiss-up.
  4. Describe yourself and your dream with passion and confidence.  (Remember The Lemonade Stand Principle: older people LOVE to help ambitious, younger people.)
  5. Include 2 calls-to-action.  (Don’t go overboard, but include a bigger request and a smaller request.  They might agree to the bigger request.  Even if they don’t, the smaller request will look even smaller in comparison to the bigger request, making it more likely to be accepted than if you had just sent the smaller request.) 
  6. Ask for “ADVICE.”  (Do NOT ask for a job or for help finding a job.)
  7. Write the email in a professional, reader-friendly format.  (Do NOT send a lengthy, poorly written email.  Students and recent grads are notorious for that.  Make your email is well-written and easy to read, and remove any word, phrase, or sentence that is not 100% necessary.)
  8. Use an excellent email signature. 
  9. Include a personal, high-value P.S. (This could be a thoughtful question or a link to an interesting, relevant article).

Here is an example.  Use this as a template and tweak it based on your background and who you are reaching out to, etc.

Hi Mr. Smith, 

Given your success and experience in the sports marketing industry, Dave Jackson at ABC Company thought you might be willing to give me some advice.

In May 2011, I will be graduating with Honors from Johns Hopkins University.  I’ve worked extremely hard in and out of the classroom during my time at JHU and am very motivated to achieve my dream of working in sports marketing after college.

Would it be possible for me to take you out for a cup of coffee, or for us to schedule a 15-minute phone call?  It would be great to meet you, ask you a few quick questions, and learn more about how you got started in the field.

I know you are very busy, so thank you for your time and consideration.

P.S. Here is a link to an interesting article about the future of sports marketing that I thought you would enjoy: http://www.sampleinterestingarticle.com


Your Name

President of XYZ Business Fraternity

Johns Hopkins University



Try this out, and let me know how it goes!

-Pete Leibman

-Career Expert, Author, Speaker, and Coach

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour




Blog: http://CareerMuscles.Wordpress.com

Twitter: @peteleibman

P.S. I speak nationwide to groups of students and young professionals.  To learn more about my programs and speaking availability for The 2011 Dream Job College Tour, please send an email to Pete@IdealizeNow.com.

Explore posts in the same categories: Email Etiquette, Get Your Dream Job NOW, Informational Interviews, Networking

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