If you’re a recent grad like me, you probably already know all about the importance of networking. Building your network and reaching out is a great way to get to know other people in your industry that are killing it, get some valuable career advice and potentially secure a job in your field.
Even if you’ve already landed that perfect first job, it’s important to keep seeking new opportunities and network on a regular basis. Email networking is a quick and easy method that if done correctly, has a high success rate.
1. Keep it simple
If the goal is to get someone to read your email, we want to make that process as easy for them as possible. Your pitch should be short, to the point and free of excess resume information. Take the time to assess which of your great qualities should be highlighted based on who you’re contacting and what they would be most interested in.
For example, if I was to reach out to someone about a marketing job, I would make sure to talk about my role at Speer and a few other Marketing positions I've held but I would leave out that I hosted a podcast — unless they really love podcasts. Use your judgement.
Condense your writing as much as possible and simplify the language. Like I said we want them to read it, so instead of throwing in a bunch of big words, just keep the tone mature and use plain language.
2. Show Credibility
Find a way to show them that you have credibility in the industry. Even if you’re just starting your career and you don’t have much experience under your belt, pull from the experience you do have to show that you’re ambitious and have already been working in your field.
When I was hosting that podcast in university, we would use this technique all the time to secure local celebrities for our show. As students people tend to underestimate you, especially in the media industry. To give ourselves credibility we would make sure to mention other celebs we had interviewed in the past and provide them with a link where they can listen to our content.
Before we had celeb interviews to share, we would interview our friends on campus to showcase the cool projects they were working on. It was great practice and it showed our potential guests that we have the skills to promote them properly.
3. Do Your Research
I find that people love when you have taken the time to learn about them and their career. I always throw in a line about why I wanted to reach out to them specifically. This can be anything from you’ve been following their career since they were at XYZ company to you watched their Ted Talk or read their Book. Keep it short and most importantly be genuine. Flattery won’t get you everywhere but it will help the email feel more personal.
4. Use lots of Paragraphs
Breaking up your writing makes a large block of text a lot easier to skim through. This basic writing technique is great to apply to email writing as well — especially a networking email with tons of points about how amazing and qualified you are. I usually try to change paragraphs every 2-3 lines.
5. Follow Up
I’ve come to learn just how important is it to follow up. Assuming these people are extremely busy thriving in their industry, they probably get hundreds of emails everyday. Your email can easily get lost in the clutter and never read.
I’ve included an example of how I like to follow up. I always hit reply all so that my new message is added to a thread. This way they can easily see the contents of your previous email.
I wanted to follow up on my previous email about a potential job opportunity in Marketing at your firm.
As I mentioned I would love to meet up for coffee to discuss this further. Please let me know when you’re available next week, I’d be happy to accommodate your schedule.
I Look forward to hearing from you,
In this example I also provide a timeline. This is important in your initial email too because it takes all the guesswork out of it. If I know where they work, I’ll even suggest a nearby coffee shop as a meeting point. Anything to make their life easier.
6. Send a Thank You
After you’ve sent some successful networking emails and the coffee dates are flooding your calendar, don't forget to thank them! After your meeting, send them a quick thank you email expressing just how much you value their time. If they mentioned any opportunities to you during the meeting, make sure to reinforce your interest and keep the conversation flowing.
What I’ve noticed in my years of email networking is that most people genuinely want to help you and share their knowledge with you. It may take some time but eventually you will find those key people in your life that will help guide you in your career. Happy hunting!