A Monthly Newsletter To Let Others Know Your Status

February 20th, 2007

Maintain your network contacts (image credits: www.maynardleigh.co.uk)Yesterday I was at a network meeting and a guy said something like “I’m a very private guy, but I made a goal to tell 10 people that I’m in the market and what I’m looking for. Last week I found 10 people and told them.” I think its great to let others know your situation (unemployed, underemployed, whatever), but I think there might be a better way. Here’s an e-mail that I get from a buddy that is looking for a new position right now (note: the changes in blue are an attempt to keep him anonymous):

Jason,

I got a call in mid-January from a recruiter who knows me. He’s looking for a president of a $10 billion Salt Lake City based maker of widgets (the kind you see at Babys-R-Us, for example). The job looks like a nice fit with my goals, and the recruiter thinks I’m a good fit with the specification. I heard last week that my resume passed the first hurdle.

My lean manufacturing course is complete and I have submitted my project assignment. The final is February 22, so I’m reviewing and preparing.

This month I am particularly interested in high level contacts at widget manufacturing companies. Example targets include WidgetPros, WidgetMakers (owned by All Things Widgets), WowzeeWidgets, Widgiwidgits, AWC (Another Widget Company) and Acme Widgetry (just purchased by Widgipro Asset Management). If you know anyone at any of these companies, please let me know.

I’ll keep you posted.

John Doe
1234 Main Street
Small Town, UT 12345
Phone: (555) 555-5555
Email: john.doe@mail.com

Author of “Experts In Widgets” at: http://widgetexpert.blogspot.com

Ok, here are my thoughts on this:

  1. I think its excellent that the guy I met yesterday personally spoke with 10 people – and he’ll probably speak with another 10 this week. But after 4 weeks how is he going to keep those 40 people (10 people each week) up to date on what’s going on? This is not a replacement for talking to people, but another tactic to keep your vast network updated.
  2. I really like the length – this is not going to be a pain to read and digest.
  3. The e-mail came personally addressed to me. I did not feel like I was getting spammed – this is a good friend of mine and I want to help him. Having my name there was an extra touch that I appreciated.
  4. Telling me the position and size of company of a good prospect is critical – it helps me know what to look for. Huge difference between the president of $1M company and a $10B company, right?
  5. In the e-mail he told me what the company does, and gave me a tangible example. This really helps me because so many company names are NOT descriptive of what the core business is, but now I can ask others who they know at widget companies.
  6. Knowing that he is a LEAN expert is also important because it helps me quantify his skillset. This may be a transferrable skill, further helping me understand what this dude does.
  7. When he says “this month I’m particularly interested in…” helps me udnerstand that part of the purpose of this e-mail is to help him. This is not a passive “we’re doing great – hope you are too” e-mail. Rather, this is a call to action.
  8. Telling me the names of the companies (and even parent companies) is huge – now I can ask my network for specific information. The difference between “I’m looking for manufacturing companies” and “do you know anyone that works at Company X, Company Y or Company Z” is huge – and critical.
  9. At the end of that last paragraph he calls me to action. Nicely, respectfully, but it is clear that he wants to know if I have contacts there.
  10. His signature gives me ways to get in touch with him. I already have him in my JibberJobber database – we’re buddies! But he makes it easy for me to find his number – and if I want to forward this to anyone then they can have it too.
  11. And, he ends with a link to his blog. This is an excellent way to remind me that he is a thought leader in something, and gives me substance that I can forward to my network. I’m sure you can include a resume with this e-mail also.

So there you go – another excellent example for you to follow. I did not do this in my job search last year but I see the value in sending this type of e-mail out to people to proactively work my network.

Who should this go out to? Everyone in your network. People care about you and your welfare. Include friends, family, past customers, past vendors, etc.

I can’t wait to get the e-mail that says “I landed my dream job! Thanks for your support during these last few months…

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16 Responses to “A Monthly Newsletter To Let Others Know Your Status”

  1. Jason,

    This is an excellent reference about carrying out a well planned effort to let others know about one’s professional status but How to work with some other guys I know are able to help but for some reason don’t even respond to emails and phone calls?

    In other words, How to ask proactively for replies when those guys simply say “I’ll let you know…” but they don’t tell me when they are supposed to let me know and despite efforts to contact them again, the response is… nothing?

    Regards.

  2. Scott Ingram says:

    Jason,

    This is a great suggestion. Thanks for posting it.

    I’d also suggest that there’s no reason this should stop once your buddy finds his next position. He may not need or want to do it as frequently, but a quick quarterly personal newsletter like this would be a great way to keep his network current on what’s going on in his life.

    Something that would probably be useful for any of us to do.

    Happy Networking!

  3. Jason says:

    Scott – totally agree. This is a great tool/strategy to keep in touch with people for the long run. I actually got another newsletter last month that was much more personal, and it was really interesting. The guy is employed and i learned a lot about him and his family. I didn’t know I was on his list but my response to him was “keep me on the list!!!”

    Mario – I think what you are talking about is very common. I’ll write a new blog post on your question, but the only way I think you can react is gracefully. Don’t hold a grudge, keep sending polite inquiries or updates, but never impose. More in the blog post.

  4. Jason,

    Excellent suggestion. I have found this technique extremely helpful. It is very important to be specific. That is, as in you example ask for specific contacts at specific companies. I’ve am now doing it this way after previously using the old non-specific “if you hear of anything let me know” approach and the differences in how people respond is simply amazing. If you haven’t asked me for specific help you haven’t asked me for anything.

  5. My comments are:
    1. Great informational interviewing. (See What Color Is Your Parachute? for more details.
    2. Organize your data & people. Keep a log of what was said, when to contact again, you know what I mean.
    3. SEND THANK YOU NOTES TO ALL WHO HELP. That alone gets many a job.
    4. Use a JIST card. I’ll send details about what that is.
    5. Cold call with a script.
    6. Give or send a proposal, after research, not a resume.
    7. Networking with the idea of giving something in return.

  6. Jason,

    I use this technique and find it works very well. I send out about 100 emails each week, and usually get ideas, advice, or introductions from at least ten people. When I am fully employed, I send emails out every few months, but when I am in transition, I step it up to monthly.

    For the last few months, I have been using JibberJobber to help me manage the process. For each contact, I set up an action item for next month, reminding me to send my next email. JibberJobber sends me an email a couple of days before the due date. I can click in that email and it takes me to that person’s record in JibberJobber. From there, I can see what I wrote last time, and send an email directly.

    It’s important to personalize the messages. At the very least, use that person’s name in the email. Beyond that, I usually look for something unique to say, or to ask about, with most of my contacts.

    I try not to constantly “ask.” When I can find something I think the recipient will like, I attach it to the message. And depending on their situation, I will ask what I can do to help.

    I don’t use mail merge. My ISP (Cox) and my firewall both frown on repetitive subject lines. And Iit just doesn’t feel personal enough to me – even if the recipient does not know, I do. Instead, I use a group of eight subject lines, each slightly different than the other, and send my messages in groups of eight.

    Maria, What I do with folks who do not respond depends on who they are and how much I want to connect with them. Some of them I just forget – drop them off my list. Others, I just keep sending monthly updates. About 25 percent of the time, that will generate a response (“sorry I keep forgetting to get back to you…”). If I very much want to have a conversation, I’ll see if I can find someone else to help me get in the door.

    Kent

  7. I admire your industriousness! Think on this too!

    Personal connecting with people who can help or hire, works best!
    Mabe hiding behind e-mails works for you, but I like to see eyeballs, twitching, or any other facial & body language that tells me to leave or stay. Use a JIST card! Regards, Marilyn J. Tellez, M.A.
    Certified Career & Job Transition Coach

  8. Marilyn,

    No question, face to face is best. I don’t hide behind these emails. I use them in addition to my face to face networking and phone calls. Without the emails, though, fewer people would have me top of mind. Most of my network is outside my home city, and I can’t see everyone frequently. Emails and phone calls help keep the network warm.

    Kent

  9. Jason says:

    Ya, face to face is best. But here is my problem (I don’t think I’m uncommon). My network that I keep track of in JibberJobber is about 450. There is NO way that I can meet with each person, or even call each person, and give them updates on what’s up. I’m not going to chat, small-talk, get into deep discussions with 450 people. And, as Kent mentions, there are many contacts that are not local.

    E-mail is an acceptable way to communicate this stuff. Its easy for ME and its easy for YOU. Its convenient for you – you can ignore it, you can reply to it, or you can save it for later. And the same message that I send to a five star contact is appropriate for a 1 star contact, don’t you think?

    AND … this is not the only recommended way, its one more tool/method to add to your strategy/execution.

    Marilyn, I’d LOVE to know what your JIST card is.

  10. One pithy comment.
    If you want only one job, 450 or 4,500 e-mails won’t get you the job you really want.
    Are you looking for private contracting gigs? Then, this e-mail networkig makes more sense.
    Otherwise, you are doing “busy work”.

    The JIST card is a technique from JIST publishing. Google them. It is a 3×5 index card that you use to give or send to everyone you meet with all your data on it. Call it a mini-resume, but it is more effective as it tends NOT to be thrown out.

    I have lots of other tips as well. Regards, mjt

  11. Marilyn,

    Perhaps we aren’t talking about the same thing here.

    In my two most recent transitions, the best offer came as a result of networking. In both cases, I had spoken once with the person (who was in a distant city in one case, and a different continent in the other) and then kept in touch via email. In both cases, an email from my contact is what told me about the opportunity. Emails were not busy work – they were an integral part of my campaign. Not all of it, but an integral part.

    What works is networking. You do it face to face when you can, by phone when that is the best way, via email when that is the best way for that person. It isn’t either/or. It’s both/and.

    Kent

    Your

  12. Yes, we have talked about apples & oranges, both are fruits but not the same!

    Firstly, when I work with someone to find a job, I want it to be a personal encounter, as personal as possible without my pretending to be a therapist.

    If you find that pc work, emails & such give you what you want, I am not the person to say it doesn’t work—for you!

    I just want to know what makes the person tick, give them as many resources as possible, including networking & then turn them loose! Be well & have fun! mjt

  13. [...] My post last week on creating a monthly newsletter to keep in touch with your network has some interesting comments. The first is from Mario, a CPA in Mexico, who asks: In other words, how to ask proactively for replies when those guys simply say “I’ll let you know…” but they don’t tell me when they are supposed to let me know and despite efforts to contact them again, the response is… nothing? [...]

  14. [...] Have you ever received an e-mail newsletter from one of your friends or professional contacts? This is the kind that say something like “here’s all the stuff going on in my life” and mixes professional with personal information? I wrote about this in February and have since seen two more examples that I wanted to pass along. [...]

  15. [...] Why is this important?  Because it helps you send newsletter-like emails to your contacts.  This is HUGE and something I think every job seeker should do.  How? Read this post on newsletters for job seekers. [...]

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