When I originally received New York-based writer/photographer Dawid Wiacek’s pitch letter, I was in the middle of a job search that wasn’t turning up many leads. I was working hard, sending out ten resumes and cover letters a week.
But I was only applying to jobs I found online, to people who didn’t know me. I knew my most valuable asset would be a direct recommendation from a trusted source, but since most of my closest friends don’t work in my industry, I hadn’t considered how messaging them could help.
Until Dawid’s letter. (Which he let me reprint below!)
Whether you’re just starting off as a freelancer, looking for new clients, or because Spring has sprung and you’re ready for a new opportunity, consider letting your network help you. Here are four basic rules for the road:
1. Show off your personality
Dawid’s letter is whimsical. It’s funny. I didn’t even know Dawid, but I really liked his sense of humor, and his writing was intimate, so I felt like we had met and already become friends.
2. Remind people that you’re really good at what you do
Dawid proved to his network that he’s a good writer! His letter was clearly checked for grammar, spelling and triple-checked for concision. Every joke or point made was hammered home in one line, more or less.
3. Explain what you’re interested in
In the pitch letter I crafted after reading Dawid’s, I included a list of “Top Five Industries/Types of Jobs That Would Be a Great Fit.” Friends responded to bullets from this list more than any other part of my letter. My contacts remembered that one person working in that one industry that was precisely suited to what I was looking for, and coffee meetings were soon scheduled!
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4. Make the ask (call your network to action)
Dawid didn’t beat around the bush when it came to asking his network for help. He directly invited his contacts to share his portfolio with “any good people or fine business” they thought might need his services. Telling your network exactly why you’re writing to them, and what you hope to achieve, helps them craft an equally direct reply to you.
Ask, and you shall receive!
Here’s Dawid’s letter:
Happy New Year, handsome ladies and pretty gents (did I get that right?).
The first days of January often give me pause -- and a touch of frost-bite, if I stand outside too long wondering about life.
This year, I've come to the realization that I'm a doggone skilled writer -- and several institutions have even paid me decent money for my work.
Each day, I work tirelessly to amplify my portfolio. I relish the opportunity to flex my creative muscles as well as the finger muscles I use whenever I type. Just kidding -- human fingers don't contain any muscles!
To that end, if you know of any good people or fine businesses that could benefit from professional-grade writing services (resumes, white papers, ad copy, blog articles, etc.), I invite you to share my portfolio. More important than my writing, though, is my adaptability and my unwavering integrity -- in business and in life. Too bad that doesn't shine through in my portfolio.
If you and I haven't talked in a while, let me know how you're doing; there's a statistically high chance I miss you and would love to catch up. If you know me at all, you know this boy can lend an ear...
Thank you. Best wishes for a healthy and productive 2015!
Dawid "Dah-veed" Wiacek