In the first post in this two-part series you’ll find two email templates that can help you meet new people and find job opportunities. Use these templates to take the heavy lifting out of your email communication while searching for a job or making new connections.
In part two of the series, I’ll share templates to help you request informational interviews with potential employers, so stay tuned!
Before jumping into the templates, keep these rules in mind:
- Short emails get responses, long emails get archived. If the recipient can’t read your email in 20 seconds, you’ve overstayed your welcome in their inbox. This is especially true if you’ve yet to actually meet the recipient.
- Plan ahead and do your research. Make sure you have a vision for why you’re reaching
out, what common ground you may have, and what you’re asking for. Before you start drafting your email, have a good idea about the recipient’s academic and professional background, as well as current interests and expertise. LinkedIn is a good place to begin that research.
- Use your subject line wisely. The first thing the recipient will see is your name and the subject line, so make it count. Be specific about why you’re contacting them. For example, “Meeting request: Fellow Michigan State alum” or “Introduction request: Former Deloitte employee” work well to establish why you’re emailing and what you’d like the recipient to do after reading your email.
- Have a clear ask. We’ve all gotten rambling, stream-of-consciousness emails that end with “So, what do you think?” Don’t be that person. Have a clear ask. Something like, “Are you available for a 15 minute call on Thursday?”
- Some people are going to say “no.” If you’re emailing busy people (and you should be trying to speak with experts and decision makers), prepare yourself to have your requests denied or get no response at all. Experts and decision makers are busy people, and the timing won’t always be right. If your invitation is declined, it’s nothing personal. Don’t get discouraged; keep emailing!
The templates below show you what the rules of email look like in practice. Before you use these templates, however, be sure to tweak and personalize them based on your needs as well as what information you think will be most well-received by the recipient.
And remember, writing better emails doesn’t just pay off in the job search. Email can advance your career and personal life, too.
How to ask someone for an introduction
One of the best things you can do for your job prospects is to ask the people you already know for introductions. The process of emailing, introducing, and finding new opportunities is made easier because you’ll already have a warm connection.
The template is simple. Depending how well you know the email recipient, you can adjust the level of formality in your message. You can also skip the part where you remind the person of how you met if it’s obvious.
Hi [First name],
If you recall, [remind the person how you know each other—e.g. “We used to work together” or “I was your student”]. Thanks for [add something genuine the person helped you with].
Recently, I’ve been working on [project/industry], but I’d love to learn more about [project/industry], especially [specific project, program, or job opportunity]. If I remember correctly, that’s similar to what you’re doing at [person’s company/organization].
By any chance do you know of anyone I should chat with? I’d love to learn more about the [industry/project/job opening] and how I can get involved.
If not, no problem. I wanted to be sure to ask, as well as share a brief update on what may be next for me.
Hope you’re well,
Why this works:
At the beginning of the email, you remind the recipient of your relationship, and you offer a genuine compliment and gratitude. In the next paragraph, you show that you’re accomplished in one field and also interested in learning more about something specific.
Being specific in your interest is key. If you asked, “Do you know someone in marketing?” the recipient could probably name 10 or 20 people in marketing but wouldn’t take the time to introduce you to them all. If you asked, “Do you know any email-marketing experts with a record of driving event attendance?” the recipient may only be able to think of one or two people, and with a specific ask, you’re more likely to get an introduction.
At the end of the email it’s nice to let the recipient off the hook if, for some reason, they can’t think of anyone, don’t have the time for an introduction, or aren’t comfortable introducing you right now. Remember, only a few of your emails will get a “yes.” Don’t get discouraged. Just keep emailing.
How to do project-based networking
Using project-based networking is one of the best ways to grow your circle of contacts. The hard part of this strategy is that you’ll need to have an interesting idea or project you’re working on, so you have something to talk about.
If you don’t already have an interesting project in mind, you can create a new, meaningful project. The critical part of project-based networking is the follow-up, so be prepared to send updates on your progress after your meeting.
Hi [First Name],
I spoke/met with [Referrer’s Name] recently, and he/she recommended we get in touch. I’m currently working on [project title], with a lot of great [benefits of your project]. It’s still in the early phases and I’d love to get your input since you have experience in [recipient’s expertise/industry].
In the past, I’ve worked on [previous past accomplishment]. My work has been featured/awarded in [name any awards/press/conferences/recognition you’ve gotten].
I’m writing to see if you’d be willing to answer a few questions I have about [specific problem]. It shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes, and it would help me out a ton. Can we schedule a 20 minute meeting when you have some availability? I’d be happy to come to you if that makes things easier.
Hope to hear from you soon,
Why this works:
A warm referral is the best way to start a conversation with a new contact. If possible, get a warm referral for anyone you want to email (see email template #1 above). “[Referrer’s name] recommended we get in touch” can be worked into any of the email templates in this post.
Any time you talk about yourself, make sure to include one or two credibility markers. When discussing your current project, talk about the impact you hope it will have on others. When discussing your past accomplishments, make it clear that you’re someone worth collaborating with who doesn’t waste anyone’s time.
Using credibility markers is a tactic called social proof, and it’s an important part of your job search strategy. For a guidance on using social proof, read, 4 Ways to Feature Social Proof in Your Job Search Strategy.
Similar to the previous template, specificity is key to a successful ask. Find a targeted part of the project that speaks to the recipient’s expertise when you ask for advice.
Over to you
In the next part of this email template series, I’ll share more templates for setting up informational interviews and even job interviews.
For you, what’s the hardest part of building your network? Which of these email templates are you most likely to use? What other situations would you like to have templates for? Let me know if there’s a particular situation that I offer a template for as part of this series!
About the author: Bennett Garner writes about how to land a new job, talk to anyone, and build a career you love for his insider’s list of email subscribers. You can also follow him on Quora where his writing has reached over 570,000 people.