Grace is a marketing executive from New York City who is amazingly well connected in her industry. She recently reached out to us to help her create a brand-driven resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile that reflected her career story and passion for helping companies succeed in their marketing efforts. Once Grace had her resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile ready to go, she really didn’t know where or how to job search. I advised Grace that networking is the most under-utilized yet most fruitful method of job searching. A recent research study stated that it takes submitting 118 online applications to receive 1 response back—while a referral/networking/word-of-mouth recommendation has a 1-in-7 response rate. The results and time invested into networking far outweigh the time and effort invested into searching on job boards.
TAPPING INTO YOUR NETWORK
Like Grace, you may be wondering how you can tap into the network that you already have—and you may not even realize how extensive your network really is. So who is in your network?
- Former Supervisors
- Former Colleagues or Clients
- Classmates/Former Classmates
- Facebook Friends
- Twitter Followers
- LinkedIn Connections
- Any Other Social Media Site Connections
- Blog Visitors/Followers
- Friends of Friends, Friends of Former Coworkers
ONE VERY EFFECTIVE WAY TO REACH YOUR NETWORK
Now that you know who is in your network, you realize how extensive your network really can be. Even if you may not know hundreds of people, you may be connected to hundreds or even thousands through various social media sites. Now it’s time to tap into that extensive network with a networking power letter or networking power e-mail.
What is a networking power letter/e-mail? It’s a very brief introductory letter or e-mail that you send out to your network to share some basic information about who you are and what you do—essentially you’re opening the door to future communication and follow-up while sharing briefly about your personal brand (how you bring value to others).
IMPORTANT TIPS FOR YOUR NETWORKING POWER LETTER
- Keep it short. Think around 150 characters, give or take a few. Concise e-mails and letters are more likely to be read and are respectful of the reader’s time. No one wants to read a novel or your whole life story in an introductory letter.
- Tell them who you are. Briefly state who you are (or how you’re connected to them/know them) and what you do. For those you have less frequent contact with, this will make the connection in their mind.
- Share your personal brand. Your personal brand isn’t about you; it’s about what you can do for others. Quickly list 1-3 bullet points (with metrics if possible) that highlight what you’ve done for others and why you’re passionate about it. Remember to keep it brief!
- Ask for help/commit to follow-up. An important part of your networking power letter or networking power e-mail is to share with the connection what type of help you need. It isn’t about desperately begging or pleading for help but politely requesting that if they know of anything that might be a fit, or if an opportunity crosses their path, that they think of you. Below are some examples of phrases you could use in your networking power letter.
SAMPLES PHRASES TO USE IN YOUR NETWORKING POWER LETTER OR NETWORKING POWER E-MAIL
If any suitable opportunities come to your attention, I would appreciate it if you would keep me in mind.
If you know of an organization that could benefit from the value and expertise I offer, please let me know.
I would love to schedule a brief 10- to 15-minute chat to learn more about what you do and how you got to where you are today. Would you be available for a quick chat next Thursday at 11:00 a.m. EDT?
I will follow up in a couple of days with my resume to provide a more detailed synopsis of the value I can offer others. (Sending your resume separately is a great strategy because it initiates a second follow-up touch to the same connection in your network. Plus, the added benefit is you can send your resume via e-mail or snail mail or attach it as a document in your LinkedIn message to your connection).
I would appreciate any advice or referrals you may be able to provide. You can reach me at 1.800.991.5187 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d love to stay in touch and connect on LinkedIn (or other social media site, or refer them to your professional blog). Here’s a link to my profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jessicaholbrook.
In anticipation of my upcoming graduation in May I’m reaching out to you to … (insert here whether you’re seeking referrals, opening the door to networking, or requesting an informational interview).
Thank you for your time on the phone Monday afternoon. I look forward to keeping in touch. I appreciate your keeping me in mind if any fitting opportunities cross your path.
Notice how the phrases above are not stated in desperation, nor do they state: please find me a job, help me get a job, or I’m unemployed and searching frantically. These are phrases you can use to close out your networking letter after you’ve already introduced yourself/made the connection and briefly stated how you bring value to others.
HOW & WHEN TO USE A NETWORKING POWER LETTER
Now that you’ve written a great networking power letter and you have an idea of who is in your network, what do you do? You send it!
Here are some ideas:
- Snail mail it in a hand-addressed envelope. Of course this method takes a few extra minutes, but in our fast-paced society, who isn’t caught off-guard by a hand-addressed envelope? I can assure you, curiosity will get the best of people—and they will open it, and they will read it.
- E-mail all of your contacts. Copy and paste your networking power letter into an e-mail. Be careful that you personally address each one! The idea is not to blast it out to every human being but to make meaningful networking connections.
- Send a LinkedIn message to your connections. Strike up the conversation with your connections on LinkedIn, but be personal; again, the idea isn’t to blast it out to everyone on earth but to genuinely initiate, build, educate, and maintain your network. You never know when reaching out to others … you may be able to help someone else. Networking is a two-way street; don’t be afraid to offer to help others in their networking efforts or to pass along referrals/information if they, too, are looking.
- 65% of Job Seekers Search on Facebook. A 2016 JobVite survey showed that the majority of job seekers favor Facebook over LinkedIn for searching (where the majority of employers/recruiters favored LinkedIn). There’s something to be said about tapping into your social network on Facebook—where you’re more likely to keep in touch with your connections. Don’t be afraid to share your networking letter on Facebook—as a note, a status update, in an individual message to your connections—there are multiple ways you can get your information out to your network.
- Other social media sites. Be creative and think about other ways you can share your networking power letter with those you know. The possibilities are endless!
I strongly encourage you to use a networking power e-mail to individually reach out to each of your LinkedIn connections. This is a great way to facilitate building your network and making contact in your job search. As a method that delivers a 1-in-7 response rate, the numbers are in your favor.