The Template

Every week, I maintain THE TEMPLATE, an award-winningWinner of the 2015 Plank Center Award (public relations org.) for commitment to mentorship. blog that's been viewed more than 1.5 million times by people all over the world. In every column, I provide step-by-step instruction to help you become a stronger communicator. Like I always say, "Write well, open doors!"

The Networking Email That Works Every Time

For even more smart networking emails and how to write a perfect follow-up note, check out this excellent resource from the Sidekick team at HubSpot!

effective networking emails

Imagine if this email popped up at work:

“Recent College Grad Who Needs Your Advice”

How would you feel? Honored? Important? Let’s go with both.

Most of us relish the chance to help from a position of authority — even if we’re swamped with stuff to do. That’s why the smartest networking email subject lines contain “Needs Your Advice.”

Yes, you typically network to find a job. But you can’t barge into someone’s inbox and ask straight up for employment. It’s too direct and intrusive. Ah, but the advice route. It can work wonders because:

– Everyone likes to be the expert and feel valuable.

– You look smart because you ask for insight and not a job.

And since the economy added 288,000 jobs in June, now is the perfect time to send “advice” emails to key people who need to notice you. An inbox is a crowded place, sure, but how many emails do “important” business types — or any of us, really — receive in a week that only ask for their wisdom?

One. Yours.

Also check out: Five Ready-to-Use Templates for Tricky Job Search Emails

Scenario: you want a job on Capitol Hill, and a friend of a friend is chief of staff for a US senator. Pretty big job, right? You send the networking contact this email:

Subject line: [Your Friend’s Name] Friend Who Needs Capitol Hill Advice

Hi ____,

My name is ____, and I’m a good friend of ____. I would love to find a job on Capitol Hill but am new to Washington, DC and would appreciate your advice.

– How did you get started on the Hill?

– What are the smartest ways to apply for jobs? I want to make sure I handle the process the right way.

Thanks so much for the help!

– You

Three points:

– Since you sought advice — and not a job — the person is much more willing to answer. (If you end up in a real conversation, remember the six most important words in networking.)

– You likely gain insight into the hiring process, which would not happen if you flatly ask “Is there a job opening?”

– You begin a conversation and — who knows? — maybe your inquisitiveness leads to a job.

Bottom line: If you want people’s undivided attention, let them be the expert. They will go all day. [TWEET]

Below are more subject lines you might want to use or adapt.

General networking:

Friend of [Mutual Acquaintance] Who Needs Your Advice

Fellow [Your Industry] Professional Who Needs Your Advice

To a college alum:

Fellow [Your College] Grad Looking for Advice

Someone notable you admire: 

Big Fan of Your Work Looking for Advice


New Employee Who Needs Your Advice


What’s your networking email strategy? 

Share below!

Featured: Vera Yu and David Li (Flickr)



comments powered by Disqus