So you’re looking for a new job. You’re about to reach out to your contacts for job leads. You’re about to engage in a delicate dance of communication. The dance may go well or not. It all depends on how you approach it. The key is to be flexible and adapt, as needed. Here are some tips that I have found helpful, when reaching out to your network by email.
Make it personal. Don’t send a bulk email, with a large distro. Address each person with a separate email. That way, it’s personal. Also, it shows that you care … you took the time to write him/her a personally-addressed email. It goes a long way. And they’re more likely to read it and respond.
Keep it light. Do not put all of the detailed information in the first email. Put out a feeler (for example, “just sending you a note to see how things are going”). If he/she responds, then keep it positive and tell them that you’re looking for a new opportunity. If he/she asks for details, be honest and give it to them. From my experience, some people (not your close friends) see you in a different light if they know you’ve been laid off. There’s a tangible hesitation to assist you on their part. I cannot explain this, but I have felt it.
Keep your cool. Don’t come off as desperate. Don’t beg. These may appear as signs of weaknesses and turn people off. You want to be and appear confident. People will be drawn to your confidence and more willing to help you.
Be thankful. Many people forget this. Your contacts, as yourself, are busy. They are taking time out of their day to engage with and assist you. The least you can and should do is to express your gratitude genuinely.
Relationships change. Understand and accept that a colleague/contact that was previously able to assist you may be unable or even unwilling to do so at a later time. This is nothing against you personally. People move on, as do their circles. We should accept and be thankful what comes our way. Don’t worry about the rest.