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 to achieve her career goals. I advised Grace that good networking is the most underutilized yet most fruitful component of a job search. A recent research study stated that it takes submitting 118 online applications to receive one response back—while a referral/networking/word-of-mouth recommendation has a one-in-seven response rate. Applying through a job announcement you find online probably isn’t worth it. As this study shows, the results and time invested into professional networking far outweigh the time and effort invested into searching on job boards.
Tapping into Your Network
How do you create a professional network? Guess what—you probably already have one. But like Grace and many job seekers, 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 and how much it can help you in your job search. So who is in your network?
– Former supervisors
– Former colleagues or clients
– Classmates / former classmates
– Fellow members of professional associations
– Fellow members of alumni associations
– 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 or have professional relationships with hundreds of people, you may be connected to hundreds or even thousands through various social media sites. So how do you reach them? I’m about to share one of my key professional networking tips with you.
Here it is: tap into that extensive network with a networking power letter or networking power email.
What is a networking power letter/email? It’s a very brief introductory letter or email that you send out to your network to share some basic information about who you are and what you do—essentially opening the door to future communication and follow-up while sharing briefly about your personal brand (how you bring value to others). It can be a very useful part of an effective networking strategy.
Important Tips for Your Networking Power Letter
Applying basic networking skills to how you write this letter can make it especially impactful.
– Keep it short. Think around 150 characters, give or take a few. Concise emails and letters are more likely to be read and are respectful of the reader’s time. No one wants to read a novel about your work experience or your whole life story in an introductory letter. Nor do they want to hear all the tales about your search for jobs and details about why you’re now having to reach out.
– 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 and your goals—it’s about what you can do for others. Quickly list one to three bullet points (with metrics if possible) that highlight key skills through 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 email 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 any job openings 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.
– Don’t just contact potential employers. Everyone in your network potentially knows someone who would make a worthwhile connection for you. Effective business networking is about growing your network and making connections and building relationships—not just using people to find out about immediate job opportunities.
Sample Phrases to Use in Your Networking Power Letter or Networking Power Email
– 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 to meet for coffee or to have a quick phone 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 email 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 email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– I’d love to stay in touch and connect on LinkedIn (or other social networking sites, 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 opportunities, or requesting a meeting or informational interview).
– Thank you for your time on the phone Monday afternoon. I look forward to staying 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 job searching frantically. They are phrases you can use to close out your professional 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.
– Email all of your professional contacts. Copy and paste your networking power letter into an email. Be careful that you personally address each one! The idea is not to blast it out to every human being but to make meaningful connections within your personal networks, social networks, and, of course, professional networks.
– Send a LinkedIn message to your connections. Strike up a 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 that should be mutually beneficial; don’t be afraid to offer to help others in their networking efforts or to pass along referrals/information if they, too, are looking.
– Sixty-five percent 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 connect with people and share your networking power letter with those you know. The possibilities are endless!
I strongly encourage you to use a networking power email 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 one-in-seven response rate, the numbers are in your favor.
Are you tired of your resume being rejected by applicant tracking systems? I know how frustrating it is to submit your resume and receive no response. I hate seeing qualified people never breakthrough the screening process. It shouldn’t be that way. That’s why I created this guide and I encourage you to download the FREE PDF so you can start seeing better resume response rates!
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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