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The Networking Email That Works Every Time

Imagine if this email popped up at work: 

“Recent College Grad Who Needs Your Advice”

How would you feel? Honored? Important? Let’s go with both.

Most of us relish the chance to help from a position of authority — even if we’re swamped with stuff to do. That’s why the smartest networking email subject lines contain “Needs Your Advice.”

Yes, you typically network to find a job. But you can’t barge into someone’s inbox and ask straight up for employment. It’s too direct and intrusive. Ah, but the advice route. It can work wonders because:

  • Everyone likes to be the expert and feel valuable.
  • You look smart because you ask for insight and not a job.

And since the economy added 288,000 jobs in June, now is the perfect time to send “advice” emails to key people who need to notice you. An inbox is a crowded place, sure, but how many emails do “important” business types — or any of us, really — receive in a week that only ask for their wisdom?

One. Yours.

Scenario: You want a job on Capitol Hill, and a friend of a friend is chief of staff for a US senator. Pretty big job, right? You send the networking contact this email:

Subject line: [Your Friend’s Name] Friend Who Needs Capitol Hill Advice

Hi ____,

My name is ____, and I’m a good friend of ____. I would love to find a job on Capitol Hill but am new to Washington, DC and would appreciate your advice.

  • How did you get started on the Hill?
  • What are the smartest ways to apply for jobs? I want to make sure I handle the process the right way.

Thanks so much for the help!

– You

Three points:

  • Since you sought advice — and not a job — the person is much more willing to answer. (If you end up in a real conversation, remember the six most important words in networking.)
  • You likely gain insight into the hiring process, which would not happen if you flatly ask “Is there a job opening?”
  • You begin a conversation and — who knows? — maybe your inquisitiveness leads to a job.

Bottom line: If you want people’s undivided attention, let them be the expert. They will go all day. [TWEET]

Below are more subject lines you might want to use or adapt.

General networking:

  • Friend of [Mutual Acquaintance] Who Needs Your Advice
  • Fellow [Your Industry] Professional Who Needs Your Advice

To a college alum:

  • Fellow [Your College] Grad Looking for Advice

Someone notable you admire: 

  • Big Fan of Your Work Looking for Advice

Interoffice:

  • New Employee Who Needs Your Advice

Before you send another email requesting an informational interview, give this networking email strategy a try. 

Hire a TopResume writer to help you land more interviews, faster.

Note: This article originally appeared in News to Live By

Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!

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Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!