Women love to help others, but often find it difficult to ask for help themselves. But if you’re looking for a new job, it’s time to get over that fear: Enlisting others in the hunt is much more effective than going at it alone.

The easiest way to begin is to send a friendly (read: not desperate) email to your friends and former colleagues asking for job leads and professional contacts. While this can be scary, I’ve found that almost everyone who musters up the courage to ask for help reports back positive results.

Not sure where to begin? There are some basic do’s and don’ts of asking your network for help—for example, do ask about informational interviews, don’t send a broadcast email with your résumé. The key is to be specific: the more details you provide, the easier it is for others to help you. Include the names of actual companies you might want to work for and corresponding job functions.

The template below is a great place to start. After you’ve filled in your own specifics and adapted it to your circumstances, send the email out in bcc format to your broad network of trusted friends and acquaintances. Don’t, however, include former bosses, higher-level mentors, or people who you know have connections at your dream companies. To those people, send an individual, more personalized message.

Sample Email

Subject: “Need a Favor” or “Seeking New Opportunity”

Dear friends and colleagues:

I hope this email finds you well.

I am reaching out to ask for your help with any leads or contacts toward finding a great job in [insert your city]. As many of you know, I have been [summarize your education, experience, or current job title], which has helped me to [list specific skills you have gained or milestones you have achieved].

Now, I am interested in finding a position at an organization or company where I can [state your goals].
I am interested in speaking with someone who can provide insight into a position as a [note desired position], especially at [specify type of company], though I would also be interested in [list secondary companies of interest] in [insert your city]. I would like something that emphasizes [note sample job functions, like writing, marketing, or sales] in a [describe your ideal working environment, such as collaborative or creative] atmosphere. If you have any leads or connections that you might be able to share with me, I would greatly appreciate it.

Please also feel free to forward me any [list desired types of job, such as full-time, part-time, or freelance] job postings or opportunities that come across your radar during the next [state your desired job search time frame]. Below I have included a list of my previous experience, as well as several “dream” organizations. I am also happy to forward my résumé if it would be helpful.

Thank you in advance for your help. Please contact me if you have any suggestions or require additional information. I hope to catch up with you individually soon!

Best wishes,

[Your Name]

[Your Phone Number]

[Your Email Address]

[Any other relevant contact information, such as website, LinkedIn page, or Twitter handle]

Previous Work Experience:

* Company 1 – Short description of company (if not well known), your title, and brief details on your role
* Company 2 – Same as above
* Company 3 – Same as above

Educational Background:

* Degree 1
* Degree 2
* Related organizations or accomplishments

Ideal Position:

* Title / job function example 1 (Marketing Assistant, etc.)
* Title / job function example 2
* Title / job function example 3

Dream Organizations:

(There are countless companies out there doing great work, and I am open to all suggestions; below are just some of the types of organizations I am currently pursuing.)

1. Organization Type 1 focused on [insert more detailed explanation here].
Examples include:

* Example 1
* Example 2
* Example 3 or more

2. Organization Type 2 focused on [insert more detailed explanation here].
Examples include:

* Example 1
* Example 2
* Example 3 or more

3. Organization Type 3 focused on [insert more detailed explanation here].
Examples include:

* Example 1
* Example 2
* Example 3 or more

Consulting Expertise:

I would be open to freelance or consulting work in the following areas:

* Specialized skill you possess 1
* Specialized skill you possess 2
* Specialized skill you possess 3

Even if no one responds right away, trust that it’s been read and registered. (And know that next month, when that job at your dream company comes across your former colleague’s radar, you will be the first person she thinks of!) Armed with your network, you’ll be spending much less time browsing online job boards and much more getting applications out the door.

This post originally appeared on Pretty Young Professional: Smart Content for Smart Women. See Love Your Job Search Class for additional job search support and mentoring. Sign up to receive our blog posts delivered to your inbox by Subscribing to LYJ.