The Networking Letter

How to make the right impression with your contacts

A networking letter has one main purpose – to introduce (or reintroduce) you to a contact who you hope may have some useful information or advice to help you with your career change plans. Your aim is to arrange a meeting with them so you can further your research into a particular career area. It is not to ask for a job.



When to Use a Networking Letter


There are three main situations when you would use a letter as part of your networking.

  1. You have met someone either at a networking event or perhaps in an informal setting and you would like to meet them again talk to them in more detail.

  2. You have been given the name of a relevant contact by a friend or colleague who knows you are interested in a particular career field.

  3. You have discovered the name of a potentially valuable contact through your own research eg reading the trade press.

You will need to adjust the opening of your letter slightly according to which of the circumstances above applies.



Key Points to Remember


You should bear the following points in mind when you are drafting your networking letter:

  • Keep the letter short and to the point. Try and keep the tone friendly without being over casual.
  • If you are following up after a networking event, remind them where you met or explain how you come to have their details (eg you have a mutual acquaintance or you read about them in a recent press report)
  • Explain who you are and why you are writing. Make it clear that you are not looking for a job at the moment, but are seeking an informational interview so you can further your knowledge of a certain career area.
  • Acknowledge that you are asking a favour and make it clear that you only want 15-20 minutes of their time, at their convenience.
  • If you are contacting someone you have not met before, you may wish to invite them to suggest an alternative contact if they are not the right person for you to speak to.
  • End your networking letter by letting them know you will contact them by phone in the next few days to discuss a possible appointment.



Sample Networking Letter



This letter has 2 alternative openings to be used according to your situation.


Your address 1
Your address 2
Your address 3
Postcode
Your telephone number
Date

Your Contact’s Name
Their Job Title
Their address 1
Their address 2
Their address 3
Postcode



Dear Mr Kalia

Opening 1
I was given your name by a mutual contact of ours, Helen McDonald, who suggested that I might get in touch with you for some assistance with my career plans. I am currently exploring the possibility of moving into Human Resources Management and Helen thought that you might be able to offer me some advice and direction.

I'm seeking the advice of professionals in this field about the best training and entry routes and would very much appreciate an opportunity to meet with you, or to speak on the phone, to hear about your experience. I hope you may be able to offer advice on matters such as career opportunities and trends in the sector, on conducting an effective job search, and on how best to uncover job leads.

My background is currently in marketing and I that has enabled me to develop strong organisational and planning skills and I have enjoyed taking a team approach to the projects I have been involved with.

Opening 2
You may recall that we met last week at the Innovations Centre networking event, and had an interesting chat about your HR role at XYZ and Co. As we agreed that evening, I am writing to ask if it might be possible for us to meet to discuss the matter in more detail as part of my career change planning.

I hope you may be able to offer me further information and advice on career opportunities and trends in the sector, on conducting an effective job search, and on how best to uncover job leads.

As I explained, my background is currently in marketing and I that has enabled me to develop strong organisational and planning skills and I have enjoyed taking a team approach to the projects I have been involved with.

Continue...
I would emphasise that at this point I am not actually seeking employment, but am focusing on extending my knowledge and understanding of the HR sector.

I will contact you next week to see if we can arrange a convenient time to speak. Would you be available for a 15-20 minute meeting?

Yours sincerely

Sign Your Name
Type Your Name




Sample Networking Thank You Letter



Sending a thank you letter after you have met is an important part of building a good relationship with your networking contact. Let them know that you appreciate the time they gave you and confirm any arrangements or follow up action you agreed when you met.


Your address 1
Your address 2
Your address 3
Postcode
Your telephone number
Date

Your Contact’s Name
Their Job Title
Their address 1
Their address 2
Their address 3
Postcode



Dear Mr Kalia

Thank you for meeting with me today. I really appreciate your willingness to give up your time to help me with my career plans.

It was very kind of you to contact your colleague, John Westwood, regarding the possibility of work shadowing in the HR department in his company. I look forward to hearing further directly from him.

The information and advice you gave me was extremely helpful and means I am building up a much clearer picture of the HR sector as well as now having some useful leads to be working on. I will check the websites you mentioned and research the availability of the courses you suggested.

Thank you again for your assistance and I will keep in touch to let you know how I get on in the future.

Yours sincerely

Sign Your Name
Type Your Name


If you use these tips you can be sure that your networking letter will be received in the spirit it is intended and you will get the response you are looking for.




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