A critical component of networking is understanding how to write a networking email introduction. Your approach can make all the difference between getting a response and being forgotten.

Here are three key tips on writing a response-worthy networking email introduction:

1. Create Commonality

When writing a cold networking email introduction, it is essential to establish a point of commonality with the other person. Doing so will immediately make you seem more familiar to them. If your networking target can see you as a version of their younger self, you’ve already made a powerful connection.

It’s great if you went to the same college or are from the same hometown or region, but that’s not necessary. The connection doesn’t have to be personal to be effective. What is it about this person’s professional background that compels you to write to them? Perhaps you both obtained a master’s degree in chemistry and you’re trying to transition into marketing just like they did. Or maybe they made the leap from being an employee to owning their own business, and you’re looking for advice on how to do the same.

Whatever it is, find the connection and lead with it.

2. Articulate What You Admire About Them

Flattery will get you everywhere. Has this person written articles on LinkedIn that you’ve read and can reference? Do they have a creative portfolio you find stunning? Maybe they spoke at an event you attended and you missed the opportunity to introduce yourself in person.

You must find a way to articulate something you admire about the person that is also compelling you to seek them out specifically. It is hard not to reply to a genuine compliment that is coupled with a simple ask.

3. Ask For Nothing More Than Insight

Flattery may indeed get you far, but asking for help to land an interview off the bat is inappropriate. That’s too big of an ask for someone who doesn’t know anything meaningful about you. Save that favor for later, once you’ve had a more in-depth meeting.

Instead, use this first email to ask for insight. Insight is invaluable and easily given. Consider the below questions when drafting your networking email introduction:

  1. What is it like to work for XYZ department or company?
  2. Would someone with my background ever be considered?
  3. Is an MBA needed to get to the next level in my career, or is another course of study preferred?

Asking questions that require information rather than action are easier for your contact to deliver on. Work on getting a response first and building the relationship before moving on to the bigger asks.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Atrium Staffing blog.

Michele Mavi is Atrium Staffing‘s resident career expert.

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