Used properly, e-mail lets you build relationships with key contacts at firms that might tempt you with a juicy job offer. It’s an excellent way to expand your network without leaving home.
First, research the companies you’re attracted to by reviewing annual reports or inspecting a firm’s Web site for names of top executives in the division where you’d like to work. Then call the secretary to get the right e-mail address, and launch your e-mail campaign:
Compare notes. Introduce yourself via e-mail and ask for the executive’s experience using certain vendors, software programs or professional services. Write that you’re making a purchasing decision.
Most managers will give their opinion and ask you for advice, too. And as long as you don’t share trade secrets or divulge inappropriate information, you can establish a mutually beneficial relationship online. In subsequent messages, mention your career goals and ask for help.
Take a survey. Send an e-mail in which you explain that you’re researching the industry for information to help you in your job and career. Ask the recipient to spend a moment answering a few simple questions, such as, “What recruiting tools have you found most helpful?” Follow up on the answers to establish a more personal e-mail exchange.
Always include your name, title, company, phone number and, if available, a link to your employer’s Web site. And don’t send unsolicited, bulky attachments that may take a long time to download.