This post was curated by Mo Chanmugham, Esq. (Questrom ’99), Certified Career Coach & Founder, MGC Coaching
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 graduate 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.
The problem with 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 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. The reality is that most people find their jobs through a referral. So jobseekers must think long term. One conversation today could lead to a job offer a few months down the road if you nurture the relationship. Don’t go for the kill and ask for a job in the first conversation.
For example, if you want to work in Public Relations and you meet someone in your interest area one of the best ways to engage them is by asking for their career story. Questions like, how they got started in PR, what they like, what they find challenging, and what job search advice they have will allow you to have a meaningful conversation.
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”. The same is true when asking for help in the job search, meaning keep your email request specific and simple. Don’t send a long, boring, generic email asking for general career advice to someone you have never met. You are more likely to turn them off rather than entice them.
Instead, you want to send a short, personalized 4-5 sentence email highlighting why you specifically want to talk to them and requesting an opportunity to speak with them. Here is an example:
“Dear Ms. Smith,
I am a recent BU graduate with a degree in Public Relations and I’m a huge Dunkin Donuts fan. I came across your LinkedIn profile while researching BU alumni in PR and I see you have had several roles in PR for great brands like Dunkin. I 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.
Mo Chanmugham, Class of 2017″
You can see that I summarized who I was, and why I wanted to connect with this specific alum. I did not mention anything about looking for a job but focused on what I wanted to learn about her career path. And finally, all I asked for was a 20-minute phone call, which most people should be able to fit into their schedule.
Now it’s your turn. Find one person on LinkedIn that does what you want to do and send them an email using this as a guide. Good luck and happy networking!
Mo Chanmugham, Esq., CPCC, ACC is a former lawyer turned career coach who helps young professionals build fulfilling careers with clarity and confidence. Learn more at mgccoaching.com
Looking for more information from Mo? Watch his full-length webinar in our on-demand archive: “How To Write a Networking Email That People Will Respond To”.