Some of the best job openings aren't posted. Learning about them—and better yet, getting your foot in the door for an interview—often depends on whom you know.
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Making your friends and family aware of your desire for a new position is a good place to start, but broadening your network to include distant acquaintances, friends of friends and others you really don’t know can be the approach that helps you find the job of your dreams.
Email can be a powerful networking tool, and you can use it to inquire about positions with desirable organizations, request a meeting to discuss your goals or to ask the recipient to look over your resume. Obtaining an email address and attaching your resume is the easy part; writing the actual message can be a challenge. Learning some key elements to a winning networking email and downloading one of the templates provided may give you the tools you need to succeed.
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Whether you know the recipient of your networking email or not, you should always begin with an introduction that explains who you are and why you are sending an email.
Talk about a mutual acquaintance, a shared alma mater or a common passion if you have not yet met the individual. Expound on how you came to know and chose to contact the recipient. If you have made the recipient’s acquaintance in the past, write a sentence or two regarding how you know one another. Bring up a funny or memorable anecdote to jog your hopeful helper’s memory and think of you in a positive light.
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State Your Intentions
People are busy. Your recipient with respect and appreciate your effort to concisely state the purpose of your email. Instead of beating around the bush with small talk, get right to the point of your email.
Explain that you seek the recipient’s assistance in your job search, including the reasons you believe this person is well-suited to help you. Of course, you should do so in a polite and friendly manner. Your contact is more likely to want to help you if you are humble and earnest rather than arrogant and demanding.
The Networking Email Mutual Acquaintance template includes a thorough introduction and purpose for your email. To use this template, click inside the text control boxes that contain sample text and replace them with your details. You can change other details within the text, as well, or elaborate with more detail, but aim to keep your email message brief.
Once you are done, press Ctrl+A to select all of the text and then press Ctrl+C to copy it. Open your email program, create a new email message and paste the text from the template into the body of the email.
Stroking your contact’s ego certainly can’t hurt your cause, but don’t butter someone up just to get what you want. If you are acquainted with your recipient, talk about a trait, achievement or outlook you honestly admire. This characteristic should be in line with your career goals and display the suitability of your request to connect.
Even if your email recipient is relatively unknown to you, provide a motive for your admiration. Talking to a mutual acquaintance or performing a little research on your contact’s career history will not only provide material for your email, but it can also confirm that you are reaching out to someone with the chops to help you.
The Networking Email to Acquaintance template is designed for contacts with whom you are at least somewhat acquainted. Along with an introduction that helps spur the recipient’s memory, it also includes an example paragraph showing why the sender admires and hopes for assistance from the recipient.
Customize the Word template by replacing sample text with your own. Once you are done, press Ctrl+A to select all of the text and then press Ctrl+C to copy it. Open your email program, create a new email message and paste the text from the template into the body of the email.
After asking for specific assistance, such as a telephone discussion within a certain period, a lunchtime meeting to talk about the job of your dreams or sharing your resume with the contact’s own connections, be sure to show your appreciation.
Follow up with a note of thanks once you have received help from your recipient. Should your networking email result in an actual job offer, consider going a step further by treating your contact to lunch or sending a small gift as a token of your appreciation.