Using Email in Networking

Email and LinkedIn can be effective modes of communication when building and maintaining your networking contacts. Here are some tips on getting the most out of your digital relationships.

Initial outreach

  • Email or LinkedIn is a good way to establish initial contact, but after that try to schedule an in-person meeting or a phone conversation. A more personal connection offers a better sense of who you are and helps you develop a stronger rapport.
  • When using email to make initial contact, send a separate message to each recipient. The more names you put in the "To" field of your message, the less likely recipients are to respond. Personalize each email by, for example, mentioning your most recent conversation with that contact.
  • Once you have sent a message to a potential networking contact, follow up a week or two later with a phone call to schedule a meeting.
  • Address your contacts by "Mr.," "Ms." or "Dr.," unless you are already on a first-name basis.
  • Spell-check and proofread all emails. This is especially important if you are using a mobile device with an auto-correct function.
  • Don't use informal language, slang, text-message conventions, abbreviations, or emoticons.
  • End your message with "Sincerely," followed by your name.

Maintaining contact

  • After meeting with a contact, send a thank-you message.
  • Keep your contacts up to date on your job search, especially when your contact’s suggestions have resulted in another meeting or an interview.
  • Send periodic career updates to your contacts.

Sample outreach email:

Dear Ms. Jones,

It was a pleasure to meet you at the Boston College Career Fair on Thursday. I recall from our brief discussion that you were also a Communications major. Given that I’m very interested in the field of public relations, I wondered if you might be willing to meet with me in the coming weeks to share more information about your career path and advice about getting into the field. At your convenience, I would like to set up a phone call or take you for coffee.

Thank you in advance.



Sally Student
Boston College, Class of 2016
Communication Major