You’re ready for a change at work – it’s time for the next stage in your career. What are your next steps? It’s likely that as you research new opportunities, you’ll reach out to your network and ask for an introduction or two. You send the basic message – Can you connect me with…? I’d like an introduction to… Can you send me this person’s email? – and get no reply. What went wrong? Vague requests risk getting lost in the shuffle of today’s rapid communication. When asking for an introduction, you’re asking for that person’s endorsement AND time. You’re also missing an opportunity to amplify your brand and craft your story in your terms. Inadvertently, you might even damage the relationship with your mentor/contact. Three issues that need to be addressed to solve the problem and get ringing endorsements from your mentors.
In my experience, most people are willing to help when asked. So why not make it easy for them without any of the offending issues?
Crafting the Request
You’re want to knock the socks off your contact. Let’s call her Sue. These effective practices will help you help them to help you!
- Be clear about your ask.
Within the first 2 sentences, explain why you’re sending the message to Sue. Who do you want Sue connecting you to? What should Sue know before reaching out to the 3rd party? If there is a specific job posting, include the link. Cutting to the chase puts Sue in the right frame of mind.
- Save Sue time and give her all the information she needs.
You’re reaching out because you think you have something to offer the 3rd party. What makes you uniquely qualified for the role? How can you solve a potential problem the 3rd party is experiencing? This is your chance to give direction to how you want to be introduced and what you want to be known for.
Aside - Ask how they would introduce you. Would you say something else? Can you improve upon it? Get different perspectives.
- Provide career information for context.
Time to back up your brand! What tools do you use to promote your career? Do you have a personal website? Are there examples of your work? Attach your resume or link to your LinkedIn page.
And that’s it! Following these three steps will make it convenient for your contact to pass along specific and flattering information to the 3rd party.
Take it a Step Further
Do you really want to wow your mentor? Don’t just make it easy for them to connect you. Make it worthwhile. Think about ways you can support your mentor too. What can you offer in return for the favor? Take an inventory of your own network for possible connections. But don’t just offer anything. Insincerity could do more damage than good. I personally prefer when messages are creative and still authentic.
I haven’t met anyone who isn’t thrilled when someone they helped succeeds. There’s something wonderful about knowing you might have had a small part in someone’s triumph.