Inside: Networking email templates and strategies for how to approach networking in your job search most effectively.
One of the most common questions I get as a Career Coach is “How do I even START to think about networking?”
I get it. It’s daunting to think about reaching out to a stranger, or even to someone you know, and asking them for a job.
So here’s the big secret – don’t do that!
Instead, follow this advice to make meaningful connections, make progress in your career, and not drive your contacts and potential contacts bananas!
Why Networking Matters
The long and short of it is that networking matters, even if you’re introverted, because relationships matter.
It’s about people first, not as a means to an end, but because people and relationships make this whole big world go round!
The end result can be and often is a new job though. The stats on this vary on who you ask, but typically 65% – 85% of new jobs are found through referrals and networking.
That’s a TON of jobs.
It also means that you are likely spending time on the wrong things in your job search. Instead of dropping application after application, you should be making connection after connection!
But Isn’t That Using People?
Let’s reframe the concept of networking a bit, shall we?
I like to think of networking not as “using” people to help you get a job, but building relationships with people you genuinely want to learn from.
That’s the real difference between an effective networking approach and an icky one. In the effective networking approach, you are reaching out to others to seek their advice and that’s flattering to them and helpful to you!
If someone reached out to you because they view you as a subject matter expert and value your perspective, you wouldn’t hesitate to share your story and drop a little industry knowledge, right?
But if someone from your past or a complete stranger reached out and straight away asked you for a job, you might be like “Who are you?” and “Why?” and “I have no idea how to help even if I could?”
Ready to Give Networking a Chance? Follow These Steps:
If you’ve convinced that you need to start networking as part of your job search or to grow your career, give this a try.
Make Your List of People
Identify people that you would like to seek advice from. This could be:
- Someone within your existing network (friends, former colleagues, neighbors) who do work that you would like to do.
- A friend, former colleague, or neighbor that is a really good connector. Perhaps they are extroverted and successful in their own field and simply know a lot of people.
- A friend of a friend who has your dream job.
- A total stranger on LinkedIn who has your dream job.
Add these people onto a list – I like to use a Google Sheet with columns for target companies, names, dates, and next steps.
Make Your List of Questions
Now think about what specific kind of advice you would like to get from these people. For example:
- What’s it like to work in their role/industry/company?
- What skills do you need to develop to get to the next stage of your career?
- What stepping stones helped them get where they are today?
- If they were you, where would they look for new opportunities?
- What challenges are they facing in their industry right now?
- What opportunities do they see within your target industry?
- Who else do they think you should talk to in this field?
Come up with your own list of questions that are meaningful to you.
Notice I did not include “Can you get me a job at your company?” Big nope to that! That’s not what we are doing here. We are building authentic connections first and learning.
Make the Ask
Now that you know who you want to talk to and what you’d like to ask them, it’s time to actually make the ask.
If you have their email address, tweak one of the networking email templates below to make it work for your situation and the contact. If you don’t have their email address, try to get an introduction or reach out via LinkedIn.
Networking Email Template 1 – Warm Lead
I hope this message finds you well! My name is (name) and I am (include context on how you know this person – friend of XYZ.)
After having completed my degree in (major), I am pursuing ways to utilize the skills I built in undergrad with my interest in (interest area). In speaking with (mutual connection XYZ) she was telling me about your career path and work at XYZ organization which I found fascinating.
I was wondering if you had 20 minutes for a phone call sometime in the next two weeks to speak about how you got to where you are today and any advice you would share for someone starting out in this field?
I look forward to reconnecting!
Networking Email Template 2 – Cold Lead
I hope this message finds you well. My name is (name) and I am (include context on how you found this person – fellow alum at XYZ, found on LinkedIn searching for people in your geographic region in XYZ roles).
When I came across your profile on LinkedIn, I was immediately drawn to your experience in (XYZ) and inspired by what you have done in your career to date. After spending the past five years at XYZ company in XYZ role, I am in information gathering mode seeking ways to utilize my skills in XYZ and interest in XYZ to drive (what kind of) results.
Given your expertise in this field, I would love the opportunity to learn more about how you built your successful career. Would you have 20 minutes for a phone call sometime in the next two weeks to speak about how you got to where you are today and any insights you could share about the XYZ industry?
I look forward to hearing from you!
Networking Email Template 3 – Entrepreneur
I hope this message finds you well! My name is (name) and I am an aspiring (type of business owner) and truly inspired by what you’ve done with your business.
After spending the past X years with XYZ company in XYZ type of roles, I am eager to make a change to tap into my love of (what is exciting you about this type of business). Owning my own business (in this industry) has been a dream of mine for some time now and I want to take the next steps to get there. I came across your website/Instagram/profile on LinkedIn and found your career path fascinating, particularly given our similarities in XYZ.
Would you have 20 minutes for a phone call sometime in the next two weeks to speak about how you got to where you are today and any advice you would share for someone starting their entrepreneurial journey?
I look forward to hearing from you!
What’s the Worst that Can Happen?
See? Those emails are pretty straightforward, not too long, ask a direct question that’s easy to answer in yes/no, and they are also very nice!
Another exercise I do with coaching clients is to think through “what’s the worst-case scenario?” It’s helpful when thinking about taking risks or choosing one path over another.
It applies here with networking outreach too.
What’s the worst that can happen when you send one of these emails?
- Your email gets ignored. Oh well! No harm, no foul! Moving on.
- You have a conversation and it’s awkward. Okay, no one likes awkward, but did you still learn something? Even if that something is what questions you may want to ask of the next person you reach out to. Or how to better prepare if you do find yourself stumbling over the question “tell me about yourself” in a conversation with a stranger? Learning is good!
Not so scary, right?
Off You Go – Networking Email Templates in Hand!
The ball is in your court now! You know how to ask, you know what to ask, now you need to channel Nike and just do it.
Need some more help?
Grab the Complete Networking Toolkit which includes a step-by-step plan, a list of networking groups, and a LinkedIn Profile Makeover guide.