6 Credible Networking Scripts That Make Employers Pay Attention
Just as “location, location, location” is the mantra of real estate, “networking, networking, networking” should be your mantra during your industry job search.
During the final year of my PhD, I finally conceded – the only way I was going to get a job in industry was through networking.
So, like many PhDs, I fired up my computer, hopped on LinkedIn, and clicked the blue “connect” button until my fingers ached.
I sent out the same message to each new contact telling them about all my wonderful accomplishments before I asked them for a job.
You know what happened after that? Absolutely nothing!
I was networking. Why were my messages being ignored?
The problem was, I was going about it the wrong way. I was focusing on me instead of them. I was asking for a favor before I provided anything for them.
Academia teaches PhDs, including me, that to get hired, you have to impress the person on the other end.
But it doesn’t work like that when networking with industry professionals.
To make a real connection with someone, you must provide them with value; you must make it easy for them to say “Yes” to you.
“Yes” to helping you meet new people; “Yes” to an informational interview; or “Yes” to giving your resume to their company’s hiring manager.
People on LinkedIn are inundated with messages. So, how do you get them to respond to yours?
As one Cheeky Scientist member shares:
“Over the past year, I have learned what works and what doesn’t work when messaging connections. I thought I would share some of my insights:
For one, keep your messages short and make them personal. No mass emails!
Also, don’t ask for a job – at least not right away. Instead, ask for their insight or for growth opportunities. Be honest and sincere, but always uphold professional etiquette.
And perhaps, most importantly, don’t exploit someone’s willingness to devote time to you – always show appreciation.”
One Well-Written Message Can Get You A Referral
According to a LinkedIn global survey, almost 80% of professionals consider networking to be important to career success.
This survey also revealed that nearly 70% of people that hired in the previous year were hired at a company where they had a connection.
In fact, 1 out of every 5 job candidates with a referral get hired.
Despite these odds, 38% of those surveyed found it difficult to stay in touch with their network with nearly half citing “not enough time” as the reason.
What these job candidates don’t realize is that networking and building professional relationships doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming.
Today, I will walk you through a number of networking scripts that you can use as a template for your online networking interactions; scripts that will make employers pay attention.
6 Detailed Reach-out Scripts For Every Networking Situation
1. Networking Script for building a strong professional relationship with your current connections.
In your industry job search, you should be actively connecting with people in positions you aspire to or at companies you want to work at.
These connections can be made in person or using online platforms, such as LinkedIn.
The key is to not only connect with someone – whether it be with an initial in-person encounter or by clicking “connect” online – but to also establish a professional relationship with that person.
To nurture your professional relationship with someone, you should maintain the connection through active correspondence.
Say you met someone at an in-person networking event. How would you continue the conversation online?
To start, never use an impersonal greeting such as “Dear Sir” or “To whom it may concern”. That’s a surefire way to get your message deleted.
In fact, many platforms automatically flag messages like this as spam.
You want to establish yourself as a colleague; the best way to do this is to address them by their first name. For example, “Hi Sarah” or “Good Morning Joe”.
Then, in your first sentence, remind them of your interaction (ie, what you discussed) and thank them for their time. If you connected on a topic, like a common interest, ensure to mention this in the first part of your message.
This will not only trigger their memory, but it will also spark their interest.
“Thank you for taking the time to speak with me during the [name of the event] last evening. I really enjoyed hearing about [topic]. Your thoughts on [XYZ] were very thought-provoking and I would love to discuss them further with you.”
Connecting with them on a personal level keeps the rapport going. It also provides you with an opportunity to ask about meeting in the future.
It’s important to always be working towards an informational interview.
These informal interviews allow you to ask the person about the current position; how they got there, what their career trajectory is, and how they like their job. It’s also the best way to ask for a referral.
However, before you ask for their time, ensure that you elevate their credibility; express your interest in their position (or field) or ask for their advice.
This adds value to them by promoting their expertise.
Then, when asking for a future meetup or phone call, keep the pressure low – make it as easy as possible for them to say “yes”.
If you want to make it even easier on them, provide 3-4 times that you could meet/call. That way, all they’re required to do is select a timeframe or tell you that your proposed times don’t work for them.
“I’m very interested in learning more about your experience in [position or field-specific topic] and value your advice. Would be available for a brief chat by phone [or over coffee] to talk about your experience?
Please let me know what time works best for you. For ease, I have proposed 3 timeframes below.”
2. Networking script for establishing a new connection.
The same ground rules that apply to your current connections remain relevant for new connections. The only difference is that it will take a little more legwork to make that initial contact.
If you have a mutual connection with someone that has a job you’re interested in or works at a company you like, ask your mutual connection for an introduction.
People are more likely to respond to someone they already know.
Provide your mutual connection with a pre-written message to use for the introduction. Remember, finding you a job in industry is not their priority.
To increase the likelihood of receiving help, you should do most of the work for them.
If you don’t share a mutual connection with someone, you can find someone in your network that shares a similar interest or background with the person. Offer your connection an introduction to the person you want to connect to.
Connections are the currency of industry; enrich your credibility by becoming a super connector. That way, people not only see you as a valuable connection, but you’ll also learn more about the person.
No matter what strategy you choose, when reaching out to a new connection, always ensure that you add value to the person.
Leverage a commonality you have, congratulate them on a recent publication or promotion. Anything that elevates their expertise.
Be specific – if they just published a paper, mention an aspect of the paper that you found interesting. Ask if you could speak with them further about a point they made in their publication.
As always, you want to be driving towards an informational interview.
And when you ask for an interview, make your request specific – let them know that you have 3 questions regarding their career path, and how they landed their current position. Tell them it will only take 5 minutes of their time.
People are hesitant to invest their time into someone they’ve never met. If you let them know that you value their time (by keeping your discussion short), they’re more willing to agree.
You can lower the pressure even more by saying that you’re planning to make phone calls or will be in their area that day anyways.
For example, if they’re local and have a job in an area of industry you want to get into:
“I read your paper on [XYZ] and I was really impressed with your take on [topic ABC], particularly because I’m looking to enter the field myself. I would appreciate your input on [field- or career-related DEF].
I’ll be in your area sometime next week. Are you available for a quick chat over coffee? I only have three questions about your career path; it will only take up 10 minutes of your time.
My schedule is flexible, so let me know what day and time works best for you and I will come to you. Thank you for your time!”
3. Providing further value after an informational interview.
If you’ve had an informational interview with either a current or a newly established connection, it’s always good to reach out afterwards.
Again, provide them with value by showing your appreciation. Elevate them as an expert by letting them know that you’re taking their advice. This lets them know they didn’t waste their time with you.
You should also be working towards setting up another interaction – whether it be online, over the phone, or in person.
“Thank you for meeting with me today. It was great to discuss [topic XYZ] with you. I really appreciate the insight you provided.
You mentioned [action ABC]. I plan to apply your advice to [relevant topic DEF]. I’ll be sure to let you know what happens.
Please let me know if I can repay the favor in any way. Thank you for your time!”
4. Networking script for gaining traction with recruiters and hiring managers.
When you’re looking for a job in industry you’re bound to interact with a recruiter or hiring manager at some point during your search.
Many companies outsource the recruitment process to recruiting companies that specialize in specific areas of industry.
If you’re interested in a particular area of industry but you’re not being contacted by recruiters in that field, you can always take the initiative and make the first contact.
When contacting recruiters, you should abide by the same etiquette previously described – such as adding value. Offer to introduce them to other people that are seeking the jobs they are recruiting for.
The only one major difference with recruiters is you can afford to be more direct about wanting a job. After all, getting you a job is how they make a living.
In your initial reach-out, a great way to increase your response rate is to include a “P.S.” with a simple “Yes” or “No” question. Studies show that, aside from the subject or first line, the “P.S.” is the second-most read part of a message.
Ask if there is an open position at a particular company or see if they’re still seeking job candidates for a particular job posting.
“I hope you don’t mind me taking the initiative to contact you, but I’m very interested in [company XYZ or position ABC]. I’ve done my research and I’m impressed with your knowledge of the job market that I’m targeting.
I believe that I’m a good for [company XYZ or position ABC]. I’d love to talk to you briefly about the position and my prospects Please find attached my resume for your reference.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you!
P.S. I see that you recently posted a job opening for [position DEF]. While I’m not seeking a career in this field, I know someone that is. Would you mind if I shared the job posting with them?”
5. Maintaining a rapport with recruiters and hiring managers (after meeting in person).
If you spoke to a recruiter or hiring manager at a recent in-person networking event, it’s critical to follow up with them after the event.
Recruiters and hiring managers are popular people at in-person networking events; they likely spoke to many people throughout the day.
So, chances are, they don’t remember you.
To remain visible to them, you must build a rapport by continuing your conversation online.
Within 24 hours of the event, reach out via LinkedIn. Remind them of your conversation. And as always, add value by elevating their expertise and expressing your appreciation.
“It was wonderful speaking with you at [event XYZ] yesterday. I loved your insight on [topic ABC]. You mentioned that you’re looking for someone for [position DEF]. I would love to continue our conversation and discuss the possibility of working together.
Would you be available for a brief phone call sometime next week? If so, let me know what day and time works best for you.
Thank you and I look forward to speaking with you again!”
6. Remaining memorable after an interview.
If you had an interview with a company, chances are, you weren’t the only person they interviewed. That’s why it’s important to make a good impression.
Depending on the situation, your follow-up could be with a recruiter, hiring manager, or a direct report at the company.
No matter who you’re in contact with, it’s critical to show your enthusiasm for the position/company and your appreciation for their time.
Remind them of the value you can bring to the company; show them that you’re willing to work as a member of a team.
“I’m very excited about the prospect of joining [company XYZ]. I think it’s a great fit for both of us. In the position, I would be excited to contribute to the team’s projects and apply my background in [area of expertise ABC].
I really appreciate my time with the team. Please let me know if I can provide any additional information. Thank you for considering me for the position. I look forward to hearing from you soon!
P.S. After the interview I remembered another question I had: [Simple “Yes” or “No” question].”
Networking is much more than clicking a “connect” button online. It’s also more than mass emailing your connections to tell them how great you are. Effective networking requires you to shift your focus to the other person. You may be the one needing a job; but people don’t want to help someone that doesn’t provide them with anything in return. To get your messages noticed by employers, you have to start by establishing a connection – point out something you share in common, get an introduction from a mutual connection. You must provide value. Elevate them as experts in their field, show them appreciation, or congratulate them on their career trajectory. And in every interaction, always be driving towards an informational interview – whether it be via phone or an in-person meeting. And throughout your conversations, ensure to remain professional and enthusiastic. By creating a rapport with those that can help you in your job search, you’re well on your way to a fulfilling career in industry.
If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists. Apply to book a Transition Call here.
ABOUT ISAIAH HANKEL, PHD
CEO, CHEEKY SCIENTIST & SUCCESS MENTOR TO PHDS
Isaiah Hankel, PhD is the Founder and CEO of the largest career training platform for PhDs in the world - Cheeky Scientist. His articles, podcasts and trainings are consumed annually by 3 million PhDs in 152 different countries. He has helped PhDs transition into top companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, Intel, DOW Chemical, BASF, Merck, Genentech, Home Depot, Nestle, Hilton, SpaceX, Tesla, Syngenta, the CDC, UN and Ford Foundation.
Dr. Isaiah Hankel received his doctorate in Anatomy & Cell Biology with a focus in immunology and is an expert on biotechnology recruitment and career development.
Isaiah has published two bestselling books with Wiley and his methods for getting PhDs hired have been featured in the Harvard Business Review, Nature, Forbes, The Guardian, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine and Success Magazine.More Written by Isaiah Hankel, PhD