How To Write A Networking Email (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Dec. 3, 2020

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The word networking can be scary. It makes us think of stuffy professional events and awkward transactional interactions.

It’s time to change that perception. Have you considered that sending a follow-up email after an interview or connecting with an old colleague on LinkedIn can be an effective form of networking? We have access to so many digital channels that networking doesn’t have to be awkward cold calls or forced meetups.

If you’re looking to expand your network, whether you just need career advice or you want to ask around for a new job, there’s one trick that will get you noticed.

We’re going to look at some of the best networking email tips and share our one sure-fire secret. Read on for email writing tips and some email templates to make you stand out as you network.

Tips for Writing a Networking Letter

Here it is. This is our number one tip for writing a great networking email: make it about the person you’re writing to instead of about yourself.

If you want to get noticed and get lots of responses from your outreach, you have to show interest in your recipient. No matter what kind of networking email you’re sending, you need to make sure you show your interest in the person you’re contacting.

Often people make the mistake of reaching out to someone in their network and directly asking for a favor. While some people will grant you that favor, you’re more likely to be ignored than if you show interest in their career.

To make the most out of your network, you need to frame your request as a compliment or simply leave it to your contact to offer you a favor. For example, say you know a friend who’s connected to someone in your dream position at a company you’re targeting. Let’s call your friend Sam and the person you want to get in touch with Rob. Instead of asking Sam to introduce Rob, he should show Sam his interest in his career path and ask how he got to know all of his high-up connections.

Chances are, Sam will respond better to you asking about his career journey and help you out, whereas if you ask to be immediately put in touch with Rob, he might feel like you’re using him. It all comes down to basic psychology – we all like to feel useful and helpful, so approaching networking as an opportunity to learn more about someone’s professional life will ultimately bring you better, more meaningful results.

You’ll most likely begin to build a professional and personal relationship with whoever you’re contacting if you use this method. Instead of just creating a transactional relationship, you’ll get to know this person, and they’ll get to know you.

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As you get to know each other, it’s more likely that they will want to help you out, and they can rely on you to return the favor in the future. Creating this type of meaningful relationship can continue to help you out down the road instead of being a one-off favor you get from someone.

You can expect lots of success with this networking method, but there are a few smaller things to keep in mind to really get the most out of your network. Here are some more networking tips you should follow when sending an email:

  • Build trust. One of the reasons showing interest in your contact works so well is that it builds trust between both of you. If you ask for their advice and want to learn from them, they know that you’re interested in more than just what they can do for you.

    You want to build trust in a professional connection since your contact will be more willing to introduce you to their network or help you out if they can vouch for you. They don’t want to waste their friends’ time by referring someone who will leave a negative impression, so the more you let your contact get to know you, the better long term relationship you can have.

  • Be specific. When you’re reaching out to someone, even if you don’t know them personally, you should call out some details to let them know you’re paying attention. Feel free to highlight anything you admire about their work history or something that caught your attention and made you want to reach out. Letting them know that you’re invested in learning about their career will make them more likely to respond to you.

  • Get personal. If you’re reaching out to someone you don’t know, you should bring up things you have in common. Look for any connections, like you both worked at a company or attended the same school. Finding something you have in common can encourage someone to get back to you and continue the conversation.

  • Keep it short. Everyone gets a million emails a day, so keeping your message concise can work in your favor. Offer to continue the conversation over the phone to avoid a long email chain and save time.

  • Ask for advice. Instead of jumping in and asking for a favor, ask your contact for advice. This leaves the conversation open-ended, and they can choose to help you instead of feeling like they must help you. This difference is crucial in making a good impression and leaving the conversation open-ended. Sometimes you can end up with better options or help from your contact if you let them decide how to help you instead of just asking for what you want.

  • Offer something in return. You never want to just cold email someone and expect them to do you a favor. Think about ways in which your relationship could also benefit them. Can you offer to make an introduction in return? Can you suggest some advice? Find a way to make it a beneficial relationship for both of you.

  • Use flattery. While you don’t want to go overboard with flattery, telling someone you admire them or love their work is an excellent way to boost their ego and get them to want to help you. Everyone loves feeling appreciated, so add something small to flatter them without being obvious.

5 Networking and Email Letter Templates

It can be intimidating to write a networking email, but we’ve pulled together a few samples that you can use to write the perfect email with a great open rate. We’ll give you a few options for different scenarios so you can draft the best one for your needs.

Emailing a Stranger

Hello [name],

I hope this email finds you well! My name is Jane, and I’m currently a sales associate at ABC Company. I saw your article on boosting sales in Sales Journal, and I was impressed with the knowledge you had to share. I found your distinction between B2C and B2B sales really insightful.

If you’d be willing, I’d like to hop on a call with you to learn more about your professional journey and how you learned so much about sales. Feel free to send over some times that work for you if you’d like to connect.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Warm regards,
Jane Smith

Emailing Someone You’ve Met

Hello [name],

I hope you’re having a great week! I wanted to reintroduce myself and give you my email as a follow up to our brief conversation at the design convention last week. I really enjoyed hearing your presentation on bringing design and functionality together, and I was hoping we could connect to discuss it further.

If you’re open to it, I’d love to schedule a quick call and pick your brain for more advice. Please let me know when you’re free to chat.

Best,
Bruce Smith

Connecting with a Distant Contact

Hello [name],

I hope you’re doing well! My name is Karen Johnson, and I’m trying to establish myself as a freelance writer. I noticed your profile on our alumni network page (Go bears!), and I was impressed by your work experience with all of the newspapers you’ve written for. I especially loved your piece on making literary classics interesting for the younger generation.

I was hoping that you’d be willing to grab coffee with me or hop on a phone call so I could learn more about your career journey. I’d love the opportunity to pick your brain and hear about all the amazing work you’ve done.

I look forward to hearing from you and getting to know you!

Thanks in advance,
Karen Johnson

Connecting with a Hiring Manager

Dear [name],

I hope this email finds you well! I just applied for your Executive Assistant position that I found through your company’s website. I’m reaching out because I was wondering if you have 15 minutes to talk about the role and what you’re looking for in a candidate.

I think this job could be the perfect fit for me, and I’d like to hear more about what skills and experience you’re looking for in applicants, as well as any advice you could offer me. If you are willing, please send over some availabilities, and we can set up a conversation.

Kind regards,
Jim Robinson

Contacting a Mutual Friend

Hi [name],

I hope you’re having a great week! My name is Alyssa Jones, and I’m currently a sales manager at XYZ Company. Our friend Katherine Smith shared your contact information with me and mentioned that you’re the Director of Sales at ABC Company. She thinks we’d have a lot to learn from each other and you’d be a great person to get to know better.

If you have the time, I’d love to schedule a call and get to know you. Please let me know when you’re free, and we can hop on the phone.

All the best,
Alyssa Jones

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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