Networking Emails: The Dos & Don’ts

Lately, I’ve been receiving tons of emails asking for career advice and after the first few I realized it might be beneficial to bring this topic to the blog. Over the past two years, I have gone from a senior in college who had absolutely no clue what she wanted to do to a Digital Marketing Assistant in the beauty industry living in an apartment on the Upper East Side. To say that it has been a weird couple of months is a major understatement. It has been a strange transitional time between being a student to an “adult” navigating the job search process and networking opportunities.

Since I moved to the city, I have started attending different Bucknell Alumni Career Development events (mostly at the constant urging of my mom) where I have met tons of current Bucknellians. I tell them about my job and what I went through last summer while searching for the right fit. I get tons of questions because what I do is pretty unique, especially right out of college, and I am always more than happy to share my advice. After these events, I have received multiple follow up emails both thanking me for my advice and asking additional questions. Now, to preface the following tips, I am ALWAYS happy to take the time help students at my alma mater because Bucknell will always hold a special place in my heart. However, that being said, there are many things I have noticed in these emails and things that I have learned from writing my own networking emails that I hope help you when you sit down to write your own.

email-mistakes(image)

Do: Always state the full name of the event where you met

I have gone to several different events this summer so when someone emails saying they met me at a Bucknell event, it’s not always easy to immediately recall who this person is. Thankfully I use LinkedIn or Facebook to help jump start my memory, but it makes things 10x easier if you say “It was so great meeting you at the Bucknell Summer Career Fair at the so and so hotel in June…”

Don’t: Assume they will remember you

Okay this point is a little harsh, but it’s true. If there is one thing I have learned from emailing people I’ve met at events and students now emailing me, people will not always remember you. I physically cringed when someone emailed me “As you will recall” because in all honesty I hadn’t the faintest idea who they were. So going off this point…

Do: Try to give context or a memorable story

Some conversations are more memorable than others, but try to pinpoint something you talked about at the event. It gives context and will help in focusing in on what we discussed. It also helps to remind me of your career goals or future aspirations. For example, someone I met 3 years ago, remembered me when I tweeted at her a memorable story from the first time we met!! (Still in shock about this!)

Don’t: Write a novel

Although you should always give context, try to keep the email concise and to cut to the chase. The most valuable thing someone has is their time, so don’t waste it. For example, instead of being vague or throwing out the idea of getting coffee, be succinct and ask if this person is available for some time to meet with you about career advice/to learn more about their company/etc. Don’t make it hard for people to know how they can help you.

Don’t: forget to SPELL CHECK!

My inner English Major cannot help but silently correct misspelled words or incorrect grammar in emails. Take the extra 30 seconds to read through any networking emails you write. Sending an email with multiple errors or even just one, may make the person you are asking for help potentially feel less inclined because you didn’t take the time to write a professional email. Going off that point…

Do: Flatter your new connection, it is never a bad place to start

Lets face it, feeding someone’s ego a little bit is always a nice start! Don’t overdo it, but a compliment can go a long way!

Don’t: Forget the Thanks You

Always thank the person you met for their time and for their advice at the event. I think “Thank you” has somehow been pushed to the wayside and it has become more about what the other person can do for you. Be respectful and polite and never forget to thank someone for their time.

Do: Give first, and expect nothing in return

And lastly, there is nothing worse than an email that has no thank yous and simply assumes that the other person will help you. Remember that networking is a give and take, and try to focus more of your energy on establishing a connection with this person. Networking is about meeting new people with the long term goal of helpful contacts down the line. These initial follow up emails are not the time for you to ask a random stranger for a huge favor.

I hope these tips help you write your own follow up emails from Networking Events. These are by no means hard and fast rules to networking emails, but I have found them beneficial in the last few years. What are your tips for writing networking emails? Do you have any questions about writing your own follow up emails?

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