How to Write a Cover Letter to Your Network to Ask for Help

Your professional network is something you've built over time and it's extremely valuable. I'm sure you've helped some of the members of your network in the past so they'll probably be happy to help you find a job, if they can. All you need to do is ask.

I suggest writing a cover letter email that asks for the help you need (contacts for job openings, recommendations, etc.), which you send to contacts in your LinkedIn, Facebook, and other networks. Then go beyond your official online networks: send personalized versions of your cover letter to friends and family, call them, or even send a hardcopy note via snail mail.

What Your Cover Letter Should Say

In your message, give this info:

  • What line of work you're looking for.
  • What areas of expertise you seek within that line of work (i.e., skill sets, areas of knowledge, and other keywords).
  • What job titles represent that type of work.
  • If there's a specific company you want to work for, ask if they know anyone who works there, whom you could contact.
  • Attach your resume so they can forward it to prospective employers. If you can't attach it, then link to it on your website, or link to your online profile, which you've created as a resume.
  • Ask them to forward your request to anyone in their networks who might be able to help you.

If LinkedIn has taught us anything, it's how interconnected we all are. What if each of your contacts sends your request to even a few people in their networks, and a few of them send it to a few in their networks? Think how many people would learn about you from trusted sources!

One important note: Be sure to thank everyone who responds to your request. And update them with another thank you note when you land your new job!

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