Is your Career Services Office or other advice source telling you that networking is very important and you need to reach out to your contacts - old colleagues, alumni, you "network" so to speak?
They are right. In the U.S. a full 80% of jobs are landed through networking.
But we can also picture what's going through your mind. “Reach out? How? What do I say? It's rather awkward to hit people up for a job!
We hear you. It is, after all, a rather bizarre dance even to the most seasoned networking-ninja American students. It is doubly difficult for international students and other foreign applicants who are not used to U.S. culture or the language
nuances of these “chatty but concise, personal but professional” notes.
Therefore, we’ll show you how to write these emails. Step by step, example by example. The all-important thank you note after interviews, the scary alumni reach-out on LinkedIn, and the unforgettable follow-up email after you've met someone important that you wish would never ever forget you.
We know it’s not enough to tell you how (see the previous point on language and culture); we need to show you how. Therefore, we prepared a Careerly Guide with 18 common emails that you can use as templates or examples. As always, it goes without saying, do not copy word for word.
Again, please remember, a whopping 4 out of 5 jobs are landed through networking - i.e. through a network of friends, family, colleagues, and professional and personal contacts. Only 1 out of 5 are found 'cold' through simply applying for them on company websites or online job boards, and even there, usually the candidate followed up with a human being in HR or another department.
At the very least we recommended keeping these three basic best practices in mind:
1) Keep your networking emails short, succinct, and easy for the reader to understand.
2) Make sure the "ask" (what you are asking your contact for) is clear, and keep it to ONE single "ask" per communication. Do not do anything to make it difficult for them to say “yes.” And quickly.
3) If English is not your first language, have someone read over the first few emails you write. You’d be shocked how the most harmless things don’t really translate over.