Lesson 7: Ask and You Shall Receive.
Welcome to Week 3! Here’s where the rubber meets the road. This week, you’re going to start cold emailing contacts, and asking for informational interviews. Now you may be asking, “What the heck’s an informational interview?” In short, it’s a networking technique that’s great for everybody looking toward a career shift, not just people who are actively job hunting.
I know this sounds like a big leap, but I promise you’ll make it to the other side. And don’t worry — we won’t start messaging folks until Wednesday. Today’s just prep work.
First, get your mindset straight.
I know it feels awkward to ask for something from a stranger. But you’ve got to remember — this is low stakes. Nobody will remember your name and think ill of you. Probably you won’t even receive a rude reply (but if you do, that’s on them).
The worst thing that will probably happen is that your message might be ignored. And that is OK. Nobody owes you their time. But with a well-crafted and polite message, I think you’ll be able to break the ice.
Here’s the secret.
Reframe your ask.
I wrote in the Art of the Ask blog post about how to reframe a job application into an offer. This is a super powerful trick. But what if you’re not sure what you have to offer? What if you’re still a student?
Here’s the secret…if you can’t offer something concrete, make gratitude your gift.
Did your contact write a blog post you loved? Have they inspired you in some way (from afar?) Are you grateful that they’re taking the time to read your email? Each of these sentiments is like giving a gift.
So what’s the magic cold message formula?
- You give a little gift in the form of gratitude or an offer.
- Share a little about yourself, your background, and your goals.
- Make a clear and reasonable ask.
- End with thanks (of course).
Check out these message templates and choose the one that sounds right to you. Customize it to fit your professional goals and your industry. Remember, you’ll add custom pieces to your message for every person you contact, this is just the framework.
Extra Credit: Share your message with somebody you trust. Get feedback, and feel confident that you sound awesome! (Psych yourself up, is what I’m saying.)
Up Next: You’ll start really meeting people! For real. :-)