How to Write an Effective Networking Email
Published: Dec 07, 2023
Your professional network can be relied upon for guidance, advice, support, or if you’re looking for a new job. Building a good network takes time and often requires you to step outside of your comfort zone and make the first move, which can be particularly challenging if you're not already familiar with the person you want to connect with. Here’s how to put together an effective networking email.
By now, the idea of conducting research shouldn’t be too surprising. Research is incredibly important during a job search and when crafting a resume or cover letter, and the same goes for writing an effective networking email. If you’ve got someone that you’d like to connect with, take the time to learn more about them before sending them a message.
Start with their current employer, then take a look at which companies they’ve worked for in the past. If possible, check out their social media profiles to learn a bit more about their personality and interests, or any professional affiliations they may have. It’s also worth checking their network to see if you have any common connections. All of this information will help you tailor your message, which is crucial if you want to get a response.
Establish Your Goals
The next thing you should do is determine why you want to connect with the person in question. Before you start to draft your email, ask yourself:
- Do they work for a great company that you’d like to work for some day?
- Are you looking to gain knowledge and insight into your field?
- Does the person seem like they would make a good mentor for you?
- Did you go to the same school?
- Have you always admired their work?
Along with these sample questions, you may want to come up with some of your own depending on your unique situation. Throughout this process, you may find that you share similarities with your potential network connection, which would be great to mention in your introduction email.
Throughout your career, you’ll find that most people are happy to share their experiences with you, whether it’s a story about how they overcame an obstacle, or tips on how to survive your day-to-day; however, even when more experienced professionals take the time to help you without asking for anything in return, it’s still nice to at least try to offer something in exchange.
Before sending your email, consider what you can do to help the person in question. Perhaps you already have a network connection that would be beneficial to them, or there’s something you can do to help their cause. If they’re involved with a charity, consider donating to it. The point is, you might have to get creative if there is a wide experience gap between yourself and the potential network connection.
Your first order of business is coming up with a catchy subject line. It can be really easy to make your email look like a scam or one of the many junk emails your potential network connection is likely to receive every day, so you may want to include key information such as your name or your industry. Here are some sample subject lines to help get you started:
- Subject: Connecting with [Your Name] – Exploring Collaborative Opportunities
- Subject: Invitation to Discuss [Your industry/Topic]
- Subject: Seeking Professional Guidance and Expertise
- Subject: Networking Request from [Your Name]
Your introduction paragraph should be concise, since the person you’re trying to connect with is likely busy with work and their personal life. In other words, they’ll be more likely to respond positively if you keep it short and simple. Here’s an example of a quick, simple introduction:
Dear [Name of Recipient],
I hope this email finds you well. My name is [Your Name], and I recently came across your profile on [Name of Platform]. I am [provide your title/role, and the name of the company you work for].
In the next paragraph you should explain why you’re reaching out, and for good measure, throw in something about the potential network connection that you admire. Here is a starting point for you to work off of:
I’m reaching out to you because [brief description of a shared interest/industry/project], and I am particularly impressed with [provide examples of their achievements, skills, or projects].
Now, we move onto the ask. In this paragraph you’re going to briefly mention a major goal, while requesting to connect with the person in question. If you’ve come up with anything you can offer in return for their help, this is where you want to make mention of it. Check out this example:
I am very interested in [briefly describe a topic, project, goal, or skill], and considering your expertise in this area, I would be grateful to be able to connect with you [over email, phone call, etc.]. Your experience and insight would be of great value to me, and I believe there is potential for mutual collaboration.
Finally, we’ve reached the end of our email. In this section we want to place the ball in their court when it comes to getting in touch, and we want to thank them for their time. Once you’ve done that, it’s time for a simple sign-off. Here’s a sample:
Please let me know if you’d be available for [email, text, or phone conversation] in the near future. My schedule is flexible and I can make time whenever you’re available.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to the possibility of connecting with you and learning from your experiences.
[Your Contact Information]
In the event you’re already familiar with the person you’d like to connect with, you can make minor adjustments to the samples above. For example, the first sentence of your introduction paragraph might look something like this:
I hope all is well. This is [Your Name], and it was a pleasure to meet you at [Name of Event].
It would be quite embarrassing to send a networking email with silly spelling and grammar mistakes, so take the time to look over and edit your email before sending it. As always, a great tactic for editing your own work is to step away from it for some time, then go back and read it when you’re less familiar with it.
Sending a networking email to someone you don’t really know can be a little nerve-racking, but always remember—you’ll never know if you don’t try. The worst-case scenarios are the person will say they’re too busy, or you won’t get a response at all. Either way, don’t let that stop you from making the effort to build a solid professional network.