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Friday, November 4, 2016

Use This Template To Write A Networking Email That People Will Be Happy To Respond To

By Mo Chanmugham, Esq.

It can be frustrating when you're looking for a job and no one responds to your networking emails.

I recently spoke to a young attorney who was having a hard time finding a job. To her credit, she wasn't just sending out resumes and waiting for people to call her back, she was going to networking events and sending out emails requesting informational interviews. The problem was that no one was responding to her emails and she was feeling stuck.

I asked her to show me one of her networking emails and I quickly saw what the problem was. Her email was three paragraphs long with her resume attached and sounded more like a generic cover letter than a sincere request to connect. Her email started with who she was, where she went to school, where she had worked, what she had done, and ended with the fact that she was looking for a job and would like to set up an informational interview.

The problem with her email and overall approach was that she was entirely focused on herself and not on the person she was reaching out to. If you want people to respond to your emails follow these guidelines.

You Are Asking For Advice, Not A Job

The guiding principle behind networking conversations during your job search is that you are asking for advice, not a job. While it is clear that you are looking for a job, the general wisdom is that people are more likely to say yes to a conversation if all you want is to ask them for advice. On the other hand, if you are asking for a job and they don't have one to give you then they have no reason to talk to you and you lose out on creating a relationship with someone who could potentially help you in the future.

For example, if you are a lawyer and you are networking with lawyers who do what you want to do one of the best ways to engage them is by asking them about their career story. Questions like, how they got started in this area of law, what do they like about their jobs, what do they find challenging, and what job search advice do they have for a new attorney will allow you to have a meaningful conversation where you get to know them and they see you as a thoughtful and sincere professional that they would feel comfortable referring to a job opportunity.

Keep It Short And Make It Easy For Them To Say Yes

In the sales industry there is saying, "If you confuse people, you lose people", meaning keep it simple. The same is true when asking for help in the job search. When you send a long, boring, generic email to someone you don't know you are more likely to turn them off rather than entice them to want to help you.

Instead, you want to send a short 4-5 sentence email, personalized to your contact by highlighting why you specifically want to talk to them, and requesting an opportunity to speak with them. Here is an example:

"Dear Attorney Smith,

I am a recent graduate of New England Law | Boston and I have a background in finance. I came across your LinkedIn profile while researching attorneys in the Boston area who practice corporate law. I see that you have practiced for several years and would love to ask you a few questions about your career path and how you got to where you are today. Would you have time for a quick 20-minute informational interview via phone in the next few weeks? Thank you for considering my request. I look forward to hearing from you.


Your name"

In this example, you can see that I summarized who I was and why I wanted to connect with this specific lawyer. I did not mention anything about looking for a job but focused on what I wanted to learn about this lawyer. And finally, all I asked for was a 20-minute phone call which most people should be able to fit into their schedule.

If you use this strategy, I'd love to hear how it works for you. Good luck on your job search and happy networking!

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