Host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" Show

Shelly Palmer

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The Networking Email That Works Every Time


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?

One. Yours.

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

Hi ____,

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!

- You

Three points:

  • 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.

General networking:

  • 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!

(This content was originally posted at News to Live By.)

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More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.