By Adunola Adeshola
Forbes, May 16, 2019.
Here’s what most people do the moment they decide they want a new job:
They get frustrated after a long day of work, open up their laptops, frantically update their resume, type in vague keywords on the internet and send their resume to every job posting that looks interesting. They awkwardly tell their friends and mentors that they’re “open to new opportunities,” and share their career interests in Morse code because they’re scared their job search might get back to their boss. Then, finally, they wait and hope for the best, feeling like they’ve done all they could do.
What happens next?
Absolutely nothing. They don’t hear back from any of the companies they applied to unless we’re counting the automated rejection emails. Their friends and mentors send them job opportunities that kinda-sorta-but-really-isn’t a good fit. And, they’re left wondering why no one seems to be noticing how qualified they are for the roles they truly want.
Are you guilty? Of course, you are, this is what 99% of people do.
But, at least 70% of jobs are never listed or advertised online, so if scrolling through Indeed and having underwhelming conversations with your network are your only job search strategies, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
You have to learn to tap into the hidden job market and one of the most effective ways to do that is to reach out to people you don’t know.
Here’s an example of what you could say:
Subject: Inspired by your work [or something you’re inspired by] would love to ask a few Q’s
Hi [first name],
I’m so inspired by how you’ve been able to thrive as a senior copywriter at Ketchum. My name is Megan Daniels, and I’m currently an account executive at a creative agency similar to your company. When I saw that you and your team were behind the campaign with Serena Williams and Dove, I knew I had to reach out to learn more about your compelling career journey.
I noticed on LinkedIn that you started as an account executive and moved into copywriting at another agency. I’ve been an account executive for 3 years and am currently looking to transition into a copywriting role that will allow me to create compelling content for beauty and lifestyle brands, something it seems you’ve been able to do quite well in your career, thus far.
It would be great to learn more about your experience in copywriting and the qualities you feel have helped you become so successful since transitioning from your account executive role.
I would be more than happy to meet you for coffee or at your office – or wherever is more convenient for you. Or, if you’d prefer a conversation over the phone, please just let me know. I’m very flexible, and even just 15 minutes of your time would be invaluable and greatly appreciated.
Would it be possible for us to find a time to chat?
Thanks so much,
Five Reasons This Works:
- Only Reach Out to People Who Inspire You
I know, I know. Reaching out to people you don’t know sounds strange. But ideally, you only want to reach out to people who have the job title you’re interested in learning more about, who work at companies you’re interested in possibly working at and who work in the industry you’re looking to transition into if you’re considering changing industries.
This guarantees that you’re only emailing people you’re genuinely interested in and inspired by, which makes your outreach more compelling and increases your chances of getting a response.
2. Keep it Short but Thorough
You want to keep it short, 3-4 concise paragraphs at most, while still being thorough, clear and specific. Explain how you found them, why they caught your interest, and what you’d like to discuss with them, without overloading them with too much information.
3. Mention a Connection
In the first paragraph, mention a connection you have with the person. This could be that you work in the same industry, want to make a similar transition or some other commonality from your research. If that’s not possible, go straight into why you admire them. Relaying why you’re attracted to the person will make later interactions more sincere and authentic.
4. Be Clear & Specific
In the middle paragraphs, be specific about what you’d like to discuss. This eliminates any surprises and lets the person know what to expect. But, steer clear from any wording that sounds like you’re asking for a job interview. The goal is to build mutually beneficial relationships, not to ask for handouts.
5. Close With An Easy Question
In the last paragraph, be sure to close with a question. This makes it easy for busy people to respond yes or no. Don’t worry about the specific time just yet, you just want them to say yes first. You don’t want someone not to respond because you made them think twice about if they can fit you into their schedule.
This template has helped my clients meet people who’ve offered to send their resume to hiring managers without my clients having to ask. It’s also led my clients to find out about job openings that hadn’t been posted yet and has resulted in interviews and dream job offers from companies they love.
If you want a smarter, more effective job search strategy, start connecting with real people, the right way. This email will get you started.