The Outreach Email
Once you've identified people in your target companies/industries/functions/locations, you are ready to start having networking conversations!
As you begin, it's safe to assume that the people you hope to connect with are busy! It's important to show genuine curiosity in your outreach and pique their interest in having a conversation with you. After all, who doesn't enjoy a chance to chat with someone with similar interests and share advice?
Your Outreach Strategy
With the majority of outreach coming through email or LinkedIn messages, even as a follow-up from a live networking event, you need an outreach strategy. It's important to track your outreach. Use Excel, a calendar, really whatever format works for you to remind yourself whom you reached out to and when. It's typically best to reach out in the mornings in the middle of the workweek, but consistent outreach is more important than timing.
Crafting Your Message
When crafting your messages, here are tips to increase your response rate:
- Use a relevant subject line. Entice them to open your email by sharing your connection and indicate that you are seeking advice - NOT a job.
- Be brief. Be mindful of emails being read on mobile devices, so the shorter the better. Same for LinkedIn messages. 150 words or less!
- Be mindful of salutation. If you are familiar with a contact, feel free to use their first name. However, if they are very senior in their roles or life stage, use a more formal greeting (Mr./Ms./Dr.)
- Share connections upfront. If you have a connection (same institution/company affiliations/location), share in the first line of the outreach.
- Introduce yourself. Share who you are (albeit, briefly). It will help the reader start to understand why you reached out to them.
- Personalize. Given that you are only reaching out to people you know are relevant to your job search or future interests, be specific in sharing what it is about them that made you reach out. Highlighting their successes can also increase their responsiveness.
- Be specific in closing. Ask for a call and give a timeframe in an open-ended way.
- Show appreciation. Be positive and be mindful that you are asking someone to volunteer their time to share their experiences with you.
- Do not attach a resume/cover letter. The focus of your note is seeking to learn from them, not pushing yourself. Only attach documents when explicitly asked.
- Proofread. Remember all networking is part of your brand and your future job search. Always best to be error-free - no spelling errors, have the person's title/company/info correct.
Follow-ups are appropriate (again, people are busy)! If you don't get a response after the first message, you can send two follow-up notes (1 week apart). Don't dwell on who you do not hear back from because, with the Quantic network and Linkedin, the options are limitless!
Check out some sample outreach notes here.