Artwork by: Antonina Kasyanikova
Sending out emails to build your network can be challenging. What format should you use? What do you say? We’ll help you address these questions by giving you some tips and networking email templates.
Throughout your career, you will find it helpful to meet professionals in your industry. By networking, you can connect with and learn from others in person or online. Networking by email can be a convenient way to meet colleagues in your area, across the country, or even in the world. In this article, we discuss how to send networking emails and provide some templates to guide your network expansion efforts.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:
The what, why, and when of networking emails
How to write a great networking email
3 Networking email templates
A networking email is a message sent to someone you may or may not know to create a connection between you and them. It could be a person that you just met or someone you have known for a long time and want to reestablish contact with (professionally). In any case, your goal is to get in touch with them to build your career network. The specific person and situation will dictate the tone and content of your message.
Networking is key to building your career. As they say, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Networking by email allows you to reach and maintain professional contact with people you respect, whether you can meet in person or not.
We already mentioned a few scenarios where a networking email is valuable - someone you don’t know, following up with a new acquaintance, and people you have not spoken to for some time. There are other situations where you should send a networking email, such as when in-person networking opportunities are limited or nonexistent.
A couple of other cases where a networking email would be appropriate are if you want to meet in person with a colleague or industry contact in your area or if you want to thank or follow up with someone after a meeting or phone call. Sending a networking email is a good way to establish and maintain the connection.
Below are some tips and guidance on how to prepare for, create, and send great networking emails. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a long email. The person you’re contacting is probably very busy and doesn’t have time to read a long-winded or rambling message. Keep it short and to the point. Three to four paragraphs, with only a few sentences in each paragraph, is a good amount.
Before writing your email, do your homework on the person you are contacting, as well as the topics you’re requesting information about. Look them up (online or otherwise) and find out as much as you can about them (professionally). Also, fact check yourself about any questions or specific points you might want to include in your email. This could be dates, numbers, references, or whatever you plan to discuss with them.
You will probably be sending a lot of messages, but don’t be tempted to send out generic emails. It’s okay to use the same framework and layout, but you need to tailor each message to the specific person you are sending it to. Use the information you gathered in your research. A message that includes personal details is much more impactful and more likely to get a response.
Along the same lines, it’s good to find something besides just the industry or company that you have in common. It could be a hobby, hometown, school, sport, etc. The more specific or personal it is, the better it will be for making a connection with the person. Include a sentence about that in your message. Just remember to keep it appropriate and polite.
Conclude your message by suggesting the next step. You may want to request an interview, invite them out to lunch, or meet up at the next industry event.
As with any professional correspondence, always carefully read over your networking emails before you hit send. Taking the extra time to proofread your message and correct any errors is definitely worthwhile. Your error-free email will aid you in making a good impression on the recipient.
Now that you know how and what to write in your message, let’s look at some examples you can use as templates to create your own emails. Obviously, these are only examples, and you won’t want to use them word-for-word, but they can give you some ideas on how to craft your messages. Pay special attention to the intro, closing, and overall length, and don’t forget to replace the content in the bracketed words.
Follow-up message for a new contact
Subject: Excellent meeting you at [where you met]
Hi [person’s name],
I am [your name] with [your organization]. I’m [info about who you are and what you do]. I really enjoyed our conversation the other day at [location]. Your ideas about [topic of discussion] were insightful, and I’d like to hear more.
How are you doing on your current [project or task]? We’re thinking about working on something similar, and I’d love to get your thoughts. Please let me know if you have some time available.
When we spoke, you expressed an interest in [topic] and I was thinking you would find this informative: [link to reference/article/video/book/etc.].
Message to a contact you’ve lost touch with
Subject: How are things going with [company/project/task]?
Hello [person’s name],
It has been quite some time since we last connected, and I wanted to reach out and catch up. How’s it going overall, and what’s the current status of [a project the person was working on when you last spoke]?
Things are going well with me. I’ve been working diligently on [something you’re working on] and it’s going well. We’re [add some status details about your effort].
I’d love to discuss what you’re up to and what I’ve been doing. Let’s have a call or meetup when you have some time. Just let me know your availability and we’ll make it happen.
Recent graduate asking for career advice
Subject: Recent graduate seeking direction on [career field]
Dear [contact’s name],
My name is [your name], and I am a college student studying [your field of study] at [your university]. I recently came across your profile and was impressed by your extensive experience and accomplishments in [relevant industry or field].
As I approach graduation and prepare to embark on my professional journey, I am seeking guidance from individuals like yourself who have thrived in [industry or field].
I have been particularly interested in [specific aspect or specialization within the industry] and admire the work you have done in this area.
I understand that your time is valuable, and I would be grateful for even a short conversation or an email exchange. Please let me know if there is a time that works for you. I’m happy to adjust my schedule to fit around your needs.
When sending emails like this, you may or may not receive a reply. The person you’re messaging is probably a very busy person that receives lots of emails. If it’s someone you know well, then your chances are better, but, with cold emails, it is quite common to be ignored. It’s okay to send a follow-up message (give them a business week to respond), but send only one follow up. After that, just move on.
Networking is a necessary and often awkward task that you need to do to boost your career. If you follow the above guidance and utilize the examples provided, then you will make your effort much simpler and be more successful in building your professional network.
Networking emails are beneficial for building your career.
Research your contacts and create professional and concise messages.
Reach out to as many people as you can. The bigger your network, the better.
Be genuine, stay on point, and you’ll gain some great business contacts!
Garland is a writer and technology consultant that lives in far west Texas, USA. He is semi-retired from a successful 25-year career in the Information Technology industry, and now spends his time writing for various websites (mostly career development related). Garland holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance, and a master’s degree in Economics and Computer Information Systems.