WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
CONNECTIONS: THE FOUR TYPES OF REACH OUT
When it comes to furthering your career or landing a job that makes you leap out of bed in the morning, it’s all about knowing the right people. And do you get to know the right people? By Reaching Out. That is, knowing exactly how and when and with whom to network. With the right etiquette, know-how, and discipline, Reaching Out can help you shape your ideal career.
Picking up from where we left things last week, let’s look at the Reach Out strategies we mentioned; Re-ReachOut, the follow-up Reach Out, the Borrowed connection and the cool Reach Out.
The first kind of RO is a Re-RO. You send this to someone you know already, although probably not very well. Remember, Reaching Out is about getting in touch with your weak ties to strengthen and expand your network, not chatting with your best friends!
The Follow-up RO is reserved for Reaching Out to someone you’ve met once or twice, whether at a party, conference or work event.
The next type of RO is the Borrowed Connection. This is where you’re addressing someone you’ve never met, but share a mutual contact with. Before doing this, ask your mutual contact whether the target would appreciate an email from you.
Finally, the Cool RO is for targets you have no connection with. This might, for instance, be someone in your field that you admire.
With regards to strategy, it’s always a good idea to pay the target a compliment, regardless of the RO type. When addressing someone you have a connection with, it could help to refer to that connection you have in common. The closer we get to the Cool RO, the less personal your ROs will get. But still try to make Cool ROs personal. You could compliment an article your target authored and refer to specific arguments in it.
Lastly, you should mix things up. Different types of ROs provide different opportunities, so finding a balance is key to a successful Reach Out strategy. However, keep in mind that response rates vary according to the type of RO you send. For instance, the less daunting Re-RO and the Follow-up RO yield a 60 to 80 percent response rate. By comparison, Cool ROs lead to a response only a quarter of the time on average, so you’ll probably want to focus a bit less on these.
Reaching Out can help you achieve a range of goals, and impacts both your career and personal life.
Before you start Reaching Out, think about what you want to achieve with this strategy and choose your targets accordingly – there are many different types of goals that Reaching Out can help you with!
To start with, every type of RO can help you with your career, whether you’re looking for a job, taking on a new project or wanting to get ahead at your current company.
A Re-RO target, such as a former co-worker who works at a company you want to be employed at, can probably land you an interview; a Follow-up RO can turn into an opportunity, whether you’ve met someone higher up in your own company or someone influential working elsewhere; and when it comes to Cool ROs, contacting headhunters, hiring managers, or influencers in your field can result in a job offer, advice, or a new project.
With regards to the Borrowed RO, the key is to remind your contacts about your skills and let them know what opportunities you’re looking for. After all, who knows who they might be able to contact?
Take attorney and author Irnande Altema. When she graduated from law school, she shared her interests in government and legislative work with her former boss. It turns out the boss was able to introduce her to a legislative consultant, and soon after she landed a job at the consultant’s firm.
But Reaching Out isn’t just great for getting you a job: when Reaching Out to potential clients or journalists, you can also advance your business by increasing sales or boosting press coverage. You might even develop more meaningful connections with your target – they could well become friends or mentors.
HOW TO DO IT
You can easily Reach Out using email or social media.
You’ve learned the basics about your network and types of ROs. Eagerly, you sit down to write your first RO email, but…you get stuck. Don’t worry – Reaching Out can be daunting, and that’s why you should take it step-by-step.
First, novel-length emails are unlikely to get a response. Better to keep them concise and to the point. Here’s how:
To start, choose which email you send the RO from. It’s normally a good idea to choose your personal email, in case the target responds once you’ve left the company you work for. The only exception is when Reaching Out to someone regarding a query directly related to your work.
Second, make sure your subject line grabs your target’s attention. You might want to think about capitalizing the first letters of each word – curiously, a study by Yesware revealed that such emails get more responses!
Next, greet the person in a simple manner. ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’ will normally do, but this doesn’t mean you should get too chummy – if applicable, stick to the target’s title, such as “Professor” or “Doctor.” Then, introduce yourself as briefly as you can. For the sake of convenience, prepare a one sentence bio to reuse.
Finally, offer your gifts and ask for the favor. Once again, while gifts are a necessary part of your Reach Out, you won’t always need to ask for a favor. After that, sign off, making sure to include your contact information. Remember to proofread everything before you send!
Email might not always be the right channel of communication. If your target frequently uses a social media platform, like Twitter or LinkedIn, and you want her to notice your social media presence or her email address is well-hidden, then feel free to Reach Out via social media instead.
Reaching Out via social media can be done using a similar process, although not everything will be applicable. Things such as the subject line won’t always be necessary. Also, include your email address so that the target can easily move the conversation to email if needed.
Founder of IssueVoter, Maria Yuan, found out what can be achieved by Reaching Out via social media. Knowing her target – Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures – might be interested in her event because of his social media history, Yuan tweeted to Wenger, sharing an IssueVoter event. This led to a conversation in which Wenger shared his expertise on crowdfunding campaigns.
So it’s worth keeping an eye on the target’s social media activity before Reaching Out!
Stay on track, follow up, and make Reach Outs part of your daily routine.
Reaching Out only once in a while won’t really make a difference. The best way to do it is to turn it into a daily routine. When you’ve got that down, there are a few more things to pay attention to.
Please leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments box provided below.
Have a fruitful day!
Olusola Bodunrin is a social commentator with a passion for gathering facts on social issues. He is writer, businessman, blogger, and wardrobe consultant. He is a graduate of Philosophy from the University of Ado-Ekiti. He anchors – ‘What You Should Know’ on SHEFFA.
‘What You Should Know’ is a column that offers to educate and enlighten the public on general falsehood and myths.