How to write a great letter of introduction to expand your professional network
- Whether you're connecting with a potential employer or a new client, a clear and concise letter of introduction is a valuable tool.
- The key to making your letter stand out is to add your own personal flair, without being too wordy. Introduce yourself and state exactly why you're reaching out, and provide an action item for how you'd like them to respond.
- If you're writing the letter for someone else, briefly let the reader know how you know the person you're introducing them to, along with next steps for getting in touch.
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What is a letter of introduction and why should you familiarize yourself with it? For starters, it's a valuable networking tool. There are two types of introduction letters: one that you use to connect with someone in your industry, whether they're a potential employer, a new professional contact, client, or customer; you can also use this type of letter to introduce one of your contacts to another, winning appreciation from both parties (which can pay off handsomely down the line).
Knowing how to write a letter of introduction comes in handy at all stages of your career. Follow these tips for a clear and concise introduction letter.
Know your audience
Regardless of what type of intro letter you're writing, the key is to make the letter personal so that it stands out from empty, generic intros. Who the recipient is will dictate how you craft your message.
In order to write an introduction letter that's effective, you'll want to do as much research as possible into the person's background. What does a potential employer's company hold as its core values? What does a new client need from your company? When introducing two people, what do they have common?
These tailored details will give your letter a human touch. After all, what is a letter of introduction worth if it doesn't actually feel like a sincere connection is being made?
How to write a letter of introduction on your behalf
- Begin by stating your name and job title. Avoid throat clearing — people are busy and have short attention spans, so dive right into who you are and what you do.
- State why you're writing. Express what the purpose of your letter is. Are you writing to welcome a new hire to your team? Are you offering your services to a potential customer? Are you pursuing freelance work? Explicitly state what you're looking to accomplish.
- Provide an action item. Offer instructions to the recipient on how you'd like them to respond. For instance, if you're reaching out to a new networking contact: "I'd love to invite you to coffee to learn more about your inspiring career path. Please let me know if you're available anytime in the coming weeks," or, "I'd love to give you a call to learn more about your latest project with X Company. Please let me know some possible times we can connect."
- Thank the person for their time. There's no need for a long-winded expression of gratitude. A short and sweet thank-you will do the job.
- Conclude with your full name, job title, and contact information.
How to write a letter of introduction for another person
Although the guidelines are not radically different from writing a letter on your behalf, there are some nuances to take into consideration when introducing someone to a person they've never met:
- Explain how you know the person and why you're repping for them. Lead by briefly telling the reader about your personal or professional relationship with the individual. ("Dear Mark, I'd like to introduce you to the whip smart Jane Allen, who I had the pleasure of working with at my last job.")
- State the purpose of your introduction. Identify what your goal is for introducing the two people. Is the person applying for a job in your coworker's department? Is the individual looking for career advice? Are they looking to set up an informational interview with your colleague?
- Close with next steps. There are two ways you can approach this: passively or proactively. A passive letter would encourage the recipient of your letter to contact the other person. ("Feel free to reach out to Adam, cc'd here, to set up a time to chat.") A proactive letter, however, would entail you taking the reins: "I'll set up a Zoom meeting for you guys to connect next week."
- Thank both people for their time.
Take time to edit
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people fire off emails without proofreading them.
In addition to making sure the recipient's name is spelled correctly, check for grammatical errors. A clean letter will paint you in a positive light, whereas a letter that's riddled with copy errors may make you appear unprofessional.
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