As with most things in life, the best way to get something is to ask for it. But is it really okay to just come out and ask for a job?
Well, yes and no. Like any kind of networking, asking for a job takes finesse. Think of it as a kind of precursor to a job application. Rather than asking someone to give you a job on the spot, you’re looking for leads, recommendations, and — sometimes — for a green light to submit a formal application.
Here’s how to craft the perfect job hunt email:
Know what you want
Are you just starting your job search and looking for leads? Have your sights set on a particular company? Running out of options and trying to broaden your search? What you want will determine what your message will say and who you should send it to.
Do your research
If you’re inquiring about a specific company or open position, make sure you’ve done your research in advance. You should aim to find out:
- What is the company, role, or industry like? The company size and culture should affect the tone of your email — more formal for larger companies or industries like banking and finance, less formal for smaller companies or more laid-back fields.
- What is the current job market like? Asking for a job in an industry with a talent shortage is very different from asking for a job in an oversaturated market.
- If you’re emailing a company or recruiter directly, are they currently hiring? Make sure you mention any specific open positions you’re interested in.
Send it to the right person
If you have a friend or contact who works in a company or industry you’re targeting, you may want to email them directly to ask if they know of any openings. At the very least, they may be able to point you toward the right person to contact. In a large company, this is likely to be someone in HR or recruitment; in a smaller company, it may be appropriate to contact the owner directly.
You can also increase your chances by throwing your job search open to your wider network. It may feel awkward to do this, but there’s no shame in making a public post or asking in LinkedIn groups about potential leads.
Sell yourself — but not too much
You’re not officially applying for a job — yet — but you should still include some information about yourself in your message. A few sentences describing your background, top skills or expertise, and what you’re looking for is ideal.
Attach relevant materials
In most cases, it’s fine to go ahead and attach a copy of your resume or a link to your LinkedIn profile or portfolio. Don’t overdo it — one of these is fine, but all three is a bit much — but it can help provide additional context about your experience in case there’s a relevant opening. Don’t forget to include your contact details, too, just in case!
Ready to get started? Scroll down for some email templates you can use to ask for a job.