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5 Hacks for a Spectacular Email: Network Edition

One of the most important aspects of being successful in business is networking. Reaching out to professionals in the industry to work with and learn from can be very valuable to your success as a woman in business. One of the best ways to do this is by emailing former Virginia Tech students. Read below for 5 tips on networking with Virginia Tech alumni through email.

1. Research Before You Send Your Email

Professionals in the industry get numerous networking emails throughout the day. Doing some research can help you stand out in the crowd and show that you truly care about learning from this individual. Most professionals in the industry use LinkedIn to share their company name and position which can be valuable to you when ensuring that an individual is working at the company you’re interested in. Additionally, LinkedIn can show you some of the things you have in common such as being in similar organizations throughout your time at Virginia Tech.

2. Include a Strong Subject Line

A strong subject line is crucial to getting the attention of professionals that you are networking with through email. You want the recipient to be interested in networking with you so it is important to grab their attention and ensure they will open your email. Here are some examples of subject lines that may seem uninteresting to the recipient:

  • “Want to Network?”

  • “Can you help me find an internship?”

  • “We should connect!"

These subject lines explain why you’re emailing but don’t offer any personal connection to the individual you’re reaching out to. To ensure your email gets opened, take time to add value by including elements that will grab the reader’s attention. Additionally, be specific and keep it brief. No one likes to read a very long subject line, so while it is important to make it personal, keep it to the point as well. Here are some examples of strong subject lines:

  • “Aspiring marketer looking for mentorship”

  • “Senior Accounting student interested in career advice”

  • “Follow up question on presentation in MKTG 3104 class”

3. Be Professional and Proofread

There are a lot of great ways to grab the attention of a reader, however, some can have a negative impact. Misspelling words, the use of improper grammar, not being professional, and a lack of personalization can all lead to your email being left unread in an inbox. Misspelling words and the use of improper grammar can demonstrate a lack of time and effort put into sending the email. If you can’t put time into sending an email to a network, why should someone take the time to meet with you to discuss their career? There are so many available tools on the internet to check your spelling and grammar, including Grammarly, to use before sending your networking email.

Being professional and personal is a way to stand out to alumni in a positive way when sending networking emails. It is important to make the recipient feel like they are not just a name on a list of people you are trying to network with. Be genuine and show your interest in learning from them rather than just copying and pasting the same email to five different alumni.

4. Mention the Things You Have In Common

The best way to connect with others is through what you already have in common. When emailing Virginia Tech alumni regarding their careers, they will likely have some similarities to you such as major or involvement in the same organizations at Virginia Tech. Not only will this demonstrate you did some research, but it will also give you all something to talk about regarding how that organization or major can help you be successful in your career. Additionally, the professional you are networking with will know a little bit about you going into the conversation. Mentioning things you have in common such as the person that connected you, something they mentioned in a presentation you heard in a class, or even just both attending Virginia Tech can make your email stand out.

5. Send a Follow-Up Email

Whether you get a response from alumni or not, it is important to follow up on your email. If you don’t get a response, it could be because your email simply got lost in their inbox. It is okay to send a follow-up email at least a week later to ensure that you aren't coming across as impatient. It is important to make sure the email continues to be professional and friendly. Everyone is busy and sometimes responding to emails from students is low on the list of priorities that need to get done. Express that you understand they are busy and would love a response whenever they have the chance to send one. Finally, keep it short. Your follow-up email should be shorter than the original email you sent. There is no need to guilt trip anyone for not responding to you or express your frustration with a lack of response. Simply state that you are still interested if the individual has time to meet with you.

it is important to follow up if you get a response as well. After meeting with someone take the time to send them an email thanking them for their advice. Show your appreciation that they took time out of their busy schedule to meet with you.

Hokies are always looking to help other students from Virginia Tech so don’t be scared to reach out to those individuals!

By Katie Smith

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