Earlier this week, I got the following email from a student at the university where I serve as an assistant director of Career Services and teach in the business school. I get a lot of emails from students, but this one really caught my attention, and not in a good way.
I really would like to Network with someone from JPMs Newark campus. If you have any contacts there that would be great. I would like to get an internship there during either the summer or fall and need to build a connection with someone who works there.
The email itself is harmless, but as a request for help with networking, this won’t work for so many reasons. When we are networking, we need to stay focused on the recipient and ask “What will motivate this person to help me?”
Sadly, I’m quite certain there are professionals out there making the same mistakes!
So, here is the feedback I shared with the student:
- Most professionals will not share connections with someone they have never met. This is even more true if the person does not give some background on themselves, or other context for the request. I’d never met him so he should have opened with an introduction and some background, along with why he was reaching out to me specifically.
- Nothing in the message helps me help him. A reference to the role(s) or type of work he was looking for would have helped since I have hundreds of connections at this organization in widely varying roles.
- He asks for “any” contacts. See #2 – mentioning a specific department, function, or role can help remind me of someone specific.
- Likeability is everything, and niceties make a big difference. Opening softly with some rapport building, and most important, ending with a statement of thanks goes a long way.
I hope that you are doing well and didn’t get too buried under the recent snowfall. My name is XXXXXX and I am a (year) student at Lerner studying (major/minor). I’m writing because I was wondering if in your role with Career Services you have connected with anyone in the (name of department) operation at JP Morgan’s Newark Campus? It’s a field that interests me, and I’m hoping to speak with someone who could give me some insights about what it’s like to work there, and how best to approach my search for an internship with the company.