How to get a job by sending the right first message is a topic I have mentioned many times. I believe it is one of the most important advises I give to clients. The reason is that you cannot get value out of a relationship if you never built that relationship in the first place. Unfortunately most people try to start a new relationship with people that can help them get a job in the wrong way and most of the times they are just ignored. Here, I will share with you how to write an effective first message.
I love sales. It is one of the hardest professions to have but once you get good at it, the rewards get easier and bigger. Once you really learn how to sell something, you can always learn fast how to sell something else. The reason is simple: a great sales person can understand people and needs and figure out how to make people take specific actions at a specific time. This is a skill you cannot put a price on. Sales people know that if they don’t ask for a sale, they will probably not get it. But if they ask too soon, they will not get it either. They also know that if they ask you to take a big action you will probably not take it, but if they ask you for a small action, they will probably don’t get much value out of it. The best salesmen can be identified by their understanding of when they need to ask what to get a big fat Yes! as a respond.
Most people though do not understand when to ask what and this is why so many attempts to make a first contact to get a job just die right away. I am going to give you my first-contact template that I use whenever I want to start a discussion online with someone I do not know.
The first-contact template that can help you build the relations you need to get a job
- Good afternoon Mr/Ms [name or surname],
- My name is [your name] and I am contacting you because [value, commonality or flattery].
- I would like to have a quick 15 minutes [call or coffee] with you to [purpose of first contact].
- You can schedule a time of your convenience by using the following link which gives you access to my calendar availability.
- I am looking forward, [your name]
Let’s see it one by one:
1) Find a greeting that fits the kind of relation you believe the person will feel most comfortable having with you or the relation you would like to establish.
2) The best way you can lead any conversation is through value. If you can show the immediately that this relation can give them some kind of value then you have their attention. For example, if you mention that you contact them because you have access to some potential clients for them then you have their attention. If you mention that a common friend suggested that you would be a good fit for their expansion plan for a specific reason then you might be the person they were looking for.
Most of the times though, leading with value is not easy. In this case, lead with commonalities. Mentioning something you have in common with them makes them relate to you which in turn makes it more probable for them to respond positively. If you mention: I am contacting you because you were in the same school with my husband and he told me you would be the right person to talk to then you are using the commonality as a bonding trigger. If you want to find commonalities you share with people the only thing you need to do is to check their LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads etc profile. The article How to get a job by answering one simple question about the interviewer will give you a lot of tips on how to do that.
The last way is through flattery. People like people that make them feel good. Find something that you admire about them and it is relevant to the topic you want to discuss and mention your feelings about it. Does that person have a career that you admire? Did he participated in a project you find very interesting? Try it. A warning though: most people, especially in top level positions, expect flattery and every time they receive it the first thing they will think is that you want something from them. That can backfire so be careful with that technique. A very important tip that can help you avoid the backfire can be found below if you unlock the Tips section.
3) 15 minutes. That’s all you need. It is something that most people will be willing to give you. 5 minutes is too few of a time to create a connection, 30 minutes might be a period they are not willing to spend.
About the reason of the meeting/call: make it something very specific. Do not put 20 things in there since you do not have time to cover them all. One topic. One. Examples could be:
a) discuss the current plans for expansion of the company they are working in
b) their experience during a project you are interested in
c) their understanding of their field of expertise in your city.
4) This is a clear call to action. This is something that you need. The person needs to know exactly what the next step should be and the next step should be as easy as possible. In this case, I am asking them to do a simple click. I attach the link of a service I am using called calendly.com. It will let them see my availability based on my Google Calendar and they can select any time they prefer. No need for two-three additional messages to schedule a time that works for both. If you want to understand better why that service can help you get a job make sure to unlock the tips session.
5) Decide if you prefer to use just your first name or the full name and if you want to attach any title to it. Titles should be included if you believe that it is relevant and that it builds some kind of credibility.
Call to action – how to get a job that you love
- Go on LinkedIn.
- Find 20 people from companies you would like to work in but not from your city.
- Send them the message.
- See what worked, have a couple of talks, write down the information you found interesting.
- Now repeat the same process applying what you have learned with people working in your city.
If you liked the article make sure to unlock 3 more tips below. Learn how to use flattery in a safe way, how using calendly.com or a similar service is helping you give the right impression and how to use the results of the call to action to get more credibility. Answering the question “how to get a job?” was never easier!
- Flattery doesn’t have to be fake. In fact it shouldn’t. You should only talk highly of things that you truly admire. Sometimes though, even if your flattery is coming from a sincere observation people are suspicious about it. In order to avoid that, you can do two things: first, do not talk about the thing you admire directly. Talk about how that thing you admire has influenced you or the way you act differently because of that. So if that person has a great career you can say something like: I noticed your career path and seeing the way you transitioned from your previous industry to the current one makes me feel confident that I can do it myself. The second thing you can do is to just touch the point of flattery and then move on. Example: I noticed the positive comments the people who have worked with you have given and for that reason I believe you are the right person to talk about… You are touching the flattery point (people talking positively about him/her and then you move on to another topic). That has the additional effect of giving him a positive reputation that he has to stand up to.
- One of the problems that comes up multiple times with my clients is the question: How available should I make myself? If you appear really available, telling them that you can meet them whenever they want, then it seems that you have nothing to do. On the other hand, if you just give them really few options, you might lose an opportunity just because they do not have time. Calendly allows you to select specific periods of availability. So you can basically tell to the software that you want it to check your calendar only on Tuesdays from 13:00-17:00 and Thursdays 10:00-15:00. You do not appear too open or too restrictive. You are efficient and, as it happened a lot of times you are giving them a tool they might love. Calendly can save you hours of pointless emails where you try to figure out a suitable time to meet with others.
- Now, you noticed that in the call to action I asked you to contact first people that work in the company you want to work in but in another country. The reason is simple: you can do a lot of mistakes without that affecting your chances of getting a job in your city. You can learn a lot of inside information before you contact people from your city. Mentioning that information when you finally contact the local office will make you look as a person who did the right research about the company. Last tip: if you had a call with a person from another city that went really well, you can mention his name and position when you talk with the locals. That will give you extra credibility. Moreover, people realize that you already have relations with other individuals that work in the same company so their reputation is in stake, they will treat you better.
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