It’s all well and good for people to say “network to find your job.” Many people think they don’t know how to network, or they are afraid of networking.

Sometimes it’s not fear of networking, it’s fear because you don’t know what to say. HOW do you do it? What do you say to people?

Here is a sample script for an email you can send to friends past and present, colleagues from present and past, friends of friends, people you know somehow.

INTENTION E-MAIL

Dear [name],

I hope you are doing well – I see that [you are now at xxxx/doing xxx/still at xxx – something personal to them, that you’ve noticed]. [What a great opportunity!  Or something like that.]

I’m writing because I’m embarking on a search for a new job, and hoped you could give me some advice and guidance.

Right now, I’m looking for an opportunity to use my [project management, relationship management, and organizational] skills to [facilitate the work of a senior executive and/or Board of Directors]. I have experience in the [media, broadcast, legal and human resources] industries, where I’ve done [everything from managing daily office activities to event planning, recruiting, personnel management and budget management]. I can[think on my feet, adjust to the needs of a large and busy company and handle confidential matters discreetly]. Roles I can see myself in are [Executive Assistant to a C-level person or staff to a Board of Directors].

I’d appreciate any ideas you might have. Would it be possible for you to give me 20 minutes of your time to talk about my search and get your input on where I can look to use these skills?  I’ll call to set something up at your convenience.

With great appreciation,

[Name]

You fill in the bracketed, non-italicized parts with information specific to you. Here’s the template:

Dear [name],

[PERSONAL OPENING]

I’m writing because I’m embarking on a search for a new job, and hoped you could give me some advice and guidance.

Right now, I’m looking for an opportunity to use my [CORE, SPECIFIC] skills to [HAVE THIS KIND OF IMPACT]. I have experience in the [SPECIFIC] industries, where I’ve done [LIST KEY ACTIVITIES, STRATEGIES]. I can [THINGS YOU DO THAT ARE ESPECIALLY RELEVANT TO JOBS YOU WANT]. Roles I can see myself in are[POSITION TITLES.

I’d appreciate any ideas you might have. Would it be possible for you to give me 20 minutes of your time to talk about my search and get your input on where I can look to use these skills?  I’ll call to set something up at your convenience.

With great appreciation,

[Name]

If you think 20 minutes is too long, then ask for 5 or 10. If you think you can get more time with them, ask for lunch or coffee.

IMPORTANT NOTE: State the skills you want to use first. Don’t start with job titles. Job titles conjure up specific images in people’s heads, and you might be pigeonholed into something that ISN’T what you want to do. Get the focus on what you really WANT to do – which means talking first about the skills you want to use and the impact you want to have. Later, you can give some examples of job titles and that will help people think about who to refer you on to. It’s the skills that will sell you, though, not the job title you target.

OTHER USES

You can adapt this script for a telephone call, a conversation in the neighborhood or at a party, and for people you don’t know.

For those you don’t know, put in the first paragraph the reason you want to talk with them – something flattering about them and their company.  If someone recommended you talk with them, use their name – or say something like “so many people mentioned you as the exact person I needed to contact, because of your expertise and knowledge of the field.”

REHEARSE

Get comfortable with your intention statement. Say it a lot to people you know well, until it comes out of your mouth naturally and with enthusiasm.  You will get clearer and clearer the more times you tell someone what you are looking for.