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?
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
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!
- 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.
Below are more subject lines you might want to use or adapt.
- 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
- New Employee Who Needs Your Advice
- What’s your networking email strategy? Share below!