I’ve written previously on how to ask your network for job search help using a “Need a Favor” approach where you send out a clear and specific group email.
What about email introductions? How do you ask for an introduction to a potential job search contact, such as a second degree connection on LinkedIn, without being a burden to your busy first degree friend or colleague?
One of my favorite new tools when it comes to requesting to be introduced to a contact is the “Two-Part Email” which I learned of through career coach Sarah Stamboulie and her must-see “Hidden Job Market” webinars. Women in my LYJ (Love Your Job) Search classes have been using this approach with great success.
The idea is people want to help you with your job search but you need to make it as easy as possible for them. Composing a thoughtful introductory email can be time-consuming. With the two-part email, you write the email FOR your contact.
As Stamboulie notes in her webinar, this may seem odd or presumptuous but people are usually very receptive and appreciative of the extra effort. From being on the receiving end of these recently, I can say I absolutely love them. I am able to tweak the draft letter and send it off quickly in order to make the connection.
Here’s an example from a recent LYJ alumna with identifying details changed for anonymity.
Part I of the email is a short letter from Elise to me asking for my assistance. Part II is the email Elise has drafted for me.
SUBJECT LINE: Possible introduction
Hope you’re doing well and enjoying the warmer weather.
I wanted to be in touch because I would love to be introduced to your contact Kim Jones who works at XYZ organization. Do you know her well? Do you think she’d be a good person to speak with? I’m continuing my exploration of educational arts programs at major nonprofits in NYC and thought she might be a great person to chat with. I was hoping to learn a bit about how she got where she is, what types of projects she works on, and more generally about this area.
Since I know how busy you are, I’ve drafted a couple of paragraphs for you to send to Kim if you’re okay with the introduction – see below.
I appreciate your time looking all this over and any feedback or comments. I look forward to hearing more about how you’ve been.
I hope you are having a nice weekend!
I hope that you’re well and enjoying the spring.
I am writing to ask a favor for a friend of mine, Elise Smith. Elise and I met in 2009 when she was working as a summer intern at XXX and she has since graduated and moved to New York City to pursue a career in social justice nonprofit work. Elise is interested in speaking with you because she is exploring educational programs in the arts, and is curious to know more about your work and background. I think you’d enjoy connecting with her as she’s always willing to reciprocate when it comes to networking, and she knows a lot about similar programming in the city.
If it’s okay with you, I’ll give Elisa your contact information so she can follow up to schedule some time to speak, or if you’d prefer, you can reach her at elise.smith(at)email.com or 555-123-4567. Here’s her LinkedIn profile for more background: www.linkedin.com/in/XXXX.
Thank you for considering, and please let me know if I can do anything for you!
I encourage job seekers to experiment with this way of asking for introductions. See if you get quicker and more enthusiastic results and feel free, as always, to report back.
ADDENDUM – After posting, I received the following suggestion from Sarah Stamboulie on additional ways to strengthen these emails: I think that Elise’s email, and your email for Elise, could be focused much more on Kim and xyz organization. I’d add 3-4 sentences to each email (they can be the same in both) about why Elise admires Kim, is especially interested in her work/background, why she admires xyz organization, and why she is especially interested in its work/mission/business model.
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