This post, Network More Effectively to Land the Job, is another in our series providing insight and action steps for those seeking a career in branding. Julie Cottineau gives her top tips and shares insights from her 25+ years at great companies such as Grey, Interbrand and Virgin. You can read more entries in this Career series HERE

Okay, I’ve got to admit this particular subject is one I am pretty passionate about. It’s one of my pet peeves… lazy networking.

I get so many correspondences from students that go something like this…

Dear Ms. Cottineau,

I heard you speak in my class and I am very interested in a career in branding. I was hoping we could have lunch and you could tell me about your background and your experience. Looking forward to hearing from you.”


Interested (but lazy) Student

What’s wrong with this approach? So many things:

  • It lacks specifics.
  • It lacks focus.
  • It shows a lack of commitment.
  • It also, frankly, is a bit lacking in respect for my time.

If you are really that interested in connecting with me here’s how you can let me know you really care: 1) do your homework, 2) show your commitment and, 3) make it easier for me to help you.

I am interested in helping – I took the time from my work schedule to come speak at your University and share my knowledge and experience with you. But in this kind of lazy networking email… you are making me do all the work.


Here’s a version that is more likely to get a response:

Dear Ms. Cottineau,

I was really inspired by the talk you gave in Professor X’s class last week. You might remember me, I was the student in the front row that raised my hand and asked you about X. After your lecture, I went on to the Virgin website to educate myself more about the 360-degree approach to branding that you shared with us. I found the recent campaign for Virgin America particularly impactful because of XYZ.

I also joined your mailing list, liked your Facebook page, and am now following your blog and re-tweeting your branding insights on Twitter. I did some research about you online and I am really fascinated by your background. Like you, I have the desire to work in Europe and I am also a big believer in lateral twists. In fact, I thought you might enjoy the attached article on inspiration from this month’s issue of Fast Company. Here is a link. I am not sure if you saw it, but if you find it interesting, perhaps you might enjoy sharing it with your Facebook or Twitter followers.

I am reaching out with a very specific request that I hope won’t take up much of your valuable time. I am a third year student looking for a summer internship at a mid-sized digital agency in NYC. I have narrowed my list to a top 5.  I was hoping I could get any perspective you might have on these agencies and ask if you have any contacts that you might be willing to forward my resume and cover letter to (See attached). I would also love to hear if you think I have left any agencies out of this top 5 list that you think should be there.

I’d love to get your feedback in whatever way is most convenient for you. Can we schedule a 15-minute chat next Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 9am? If not, is there a more convenient time? My number is xxx. If it’s easier for you, I’d also appreciate any thoughts you have by email.

Thank you in advance for your inspiration. I am sure you must get hundreds of request like this a day. I assure you, I will pay your generosity forward some day.


Mr./Ms. Student More Likely to Get a Response

What’s smarter about this approach?

  • The student shows commitment by doing their homework.
  • They show loyalty and interest in helping me grow my brand.
  • Their request is specific and manageable.
  • The next steps are clear and easy for me to follow-up on.
Take the time to do your homework, and your request has a better chance of breaking through and getting answered. Make sense?
Want more answers? Just let us know your additional questions in the comments section below.
Check out the next post in our series: Land the Job: Bring Your Experience Off the Page!

Brand School, our premier branding program, will give you the tools you need to develop your branding creativity and skills. Receive updates about Brand School’s next session and get free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

Please also check us out on Twitter and Facebook for more insight and discussion on branding.


“I learned a lot from Brand School.  It inspired me to think outside the box. I have a much deeper understanding of how to effectively build a brand.” – Mike Sass, Entrepreneur

Previous articleSo You Want To Work In Branding. Here’s My Advice…
Next article‘Word of Eye’ Is Key to Success in Branding Today
Julie is the Founder and CEO of BrandTwist, a brand consultancy that helps entrepreneurs and corporations build stronger, more profitable brands.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here