Everyone faces this problem at some point, so I want to share the tips I use to email busy people and get a response.
Why is hearing back from important people an issue?
The sheer number of emails being sent has something to do with it. The Radicati Group found that 269 billion emails are sent daily in 2017 and 2.4 million emails are sent every second.
Are you kidding me? That’s wild.
But in my experience, it’s not just the quantity of emails that leads to low response rates, it’s also the poor quality.
Most people write awful emails where they ramble on and on, have no clear purpose for emailing, and demand a response they frankly don’t deserve based on how they wrote their vague email.
For example, busy people have no time for emails that look like this:
Subject line: Please help!
I saw your blog and I really need help. My dad wants me to become an engineer but I want to be an artist. Sculpting has always been my passion but there are no sculpting jobs where I live in Nebraska.
I think I need to move to Austin, Texas. Do you think I do?
I hope you’re the person to help me with my problem and difficult future. Right now I just don’t know what to do and I’m frustrated.
But it’d be easier to talk about this on the phone. It’ll be worth your time. I look forward to talking.
Do you notice the weaknesses in this email? I’ll lay them out for you:
- Subject line doesn’t stand out or convince me to read the email. (A better one would be more specific and descriptive of what he’s going to tell me in the email.)
- He doesn’t introduce himself so I have no idea how about his age, current position, education, skills, and financial status.
- The entire email is vague and it requires me to assume or ask him details, instead of using that valuable time to respond if it were a specific email.
- He’s asking me to decide his future and putting the work on me. Again, not enough information for me to decide (and I probably wouldn’t tell someone what career decision to make even if I had all of the information).
- I have little incentive to help him because he didn’t persuade me he did his homework.
- The closing assumes that we’re actually going to talk. I don’t appreciate that.
The burning problem is the people you want to email the most are the busiest and least likely to respond.
Just imagine how many random and pointless emails you get during the week.
And then consider a busy CEO, key decision maker, or author’s inbox. Odds are they’re getting about 10 to 100 times as many emails as you.
So what are you going to do?
You can give up and miss out on all the knowledge and connections that could stem from a few emails with a power player.
However, I recommend you master these six tips for emailing busy people so you can cut through the noise and stand out.
How To Write Better Emails
1. Keep it short
Again, these are busy people we’re dealing with. They have a tremendous amount of work responsibilities on their plate and no time for long-winded emails.
Not to mention your email is potentially cutting into their little free time to spend with their spouse and kids, exercise, or their favorite hobby.
You need to keep your email short and to the point if you want any chance at a response. All you need to communicate is who you are, what it is you do, and why you’re emailing.
Also, it’s good practice to only have one question in your email. The more questions you include, the more work you require of them, and the less likely you get a response to a single question.
Keep this initial email short and sweet.
2. Introduce yourself and what you do
Keep this simple by saying your name and your occupation (sentence one), and what you’re working on (sentence two). That’s it!
For example, “Hi Max, My name is Brian Robben and I’m an entrepreneur and author. This spring I launched my new digital marketing company X that focuses on telling local businesses’ stories and growing their audience.”
Some people go right into their ask without every introducing themselves. That feels strange on the other side and it’s a bad move.
So don’t tell your life story, but introduce yourself in two sentences and then move on.
3. Acknowledge the power-dynamic
When you’re asking for help from someone, you’re lower than them on the power index.
You need something from them. They’re not asking you for something, so act like it in your email.
One way to do this is to compliment them.
Congratulate them on their latest book, major accomplishment, or press spotlight. (This information is an easy Google search away.)
People love being praised no matter how famous they get. And this breaks the ice, so to speak, in your email.
Another way to respect their time is to give more effort writing the email than you ask them to read or do.
Your writing should be extra clear and concise, so it’s easy for them to understand who you are and what it is you want.
4. Show you’ve done your homework
The absolute, worst, terrible, most egregious mistake is to ask a question that is one Google search away.
It’s also bad if you ask for advice on a topic they’ve already written or spoken about in depth.
You’re just wasting their time and your time if you don’t do your homework in advance.
And you’ve almost mathematically eliminated your chance at hearing back from them, since laziness doesn’t persuade top achievers to respond.
But people are much more willing to help those who have put time and energy into helping themselves.
In your email, include a short paragraph (2-3 sentences) specifically explaining what you’ve done leading up to this point and (or) what you’ve learned.
For example, if you’re asking your friend’s dad to help you get your dream job, make the process easier for him by:
- Communicating your selling points and the value you will bring to this company if hired
- Telling him your work experiences and a bullet point list of what you’ve learned from each
- Clearly explaining why you want to work at this company
- Attaching your resume and cover letter
5. Make a clear call to action
You have to communicate a specific ask that is clear and easy for the reader to digest and respond to.
Again, when you make them to do the work to understand what you are asking for, you significantly lower the odds they will reply. Help them help you with a clear ask.
These are some examples of specific asks:
- Are you available for a 10-minute phone call this week so I can pick your brain?
- I also live in Chicago and I’d love to buy you a coffee to briefly discuss my job search. I’m free to work around your schedule all day Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. What day and time works for you?
- Knowing about our 14,000 email subscribers and $70,000 per year online business revenue, what’s the next step you would take to grow this operation based on your experience?
- From the data I shared, do you know any investors who would be interested in purchasing equity in my startup?
In the midst of doing writing with concision and being prepared, don’t think you can’t be bold. You certainly can be if it’s written the right way.
6. Give the reader an out
Remember the power-dynamic, you want something from them. They owe you nothing. Treat it that way by giving them an out to not respond or help.
Ironically, acknowledging their busyness and lack of time is the exact close that gives you a better shot of getting a piece of their time in a response.
So you must communicate that you understand if they can’t respond in-depth or can’t reply at all because of their hectic schedule.
That’s the way it has to be. Because you being a considerate and genuine human will win over more responses than anything else.
Nice guys finish first in this arena. You should never ask someone for a favor and then demand their help.
Here are a few examples of closing paragraphs with an out for the reader:
- I hope we can connect but I completely get it if you have too much going on.
- If you don’t have time that’s not a problem. Keep doing your thing and continuing to inspire millions of people like me.
- I can work around your schedule anytime this week and next week to make the 5 minute call happen. But if you’re too busy that’s no problem and I appreciate all you’ve done for me.
Then end it with a respectful ending such as, “Thanks in advance,” or, “I really appreciate your consideration of this,” and sign off with your name.
That’s how you write an email that produces an extremely high open rate compared to average.
My Email Asking For A Recommendation Letter
You can see that these six steps are on full display in my email where I asked a Miami University professor to write a recommendation letter back in the fall of 2014 (see this article if you need help securing recommendations).
Subject: I’m applying to law school — hoping you’ll write a reference
Hi Professor H.,
I hope you are doing well. I’m a little disappointed that I don’t have you as a professor this year, but I plan to stop in and say hello to make up for it.
I’m applying to law school next year and I was wondering if you’d consider writing me a strong recommendation letter. I know you are busy, so I can make it very easy for you.
– I can send you a one page summary of my credentials in the two classes you taught me (A in JRN 201, A+ in JRN 333)
– I’ll send you my transcript, résumé, and previous papers in your classes
– I can also send you major points to highlight and a list of law schools where I plan to apply
If you have time and would rather discuss this in person at the location most convenient for you, I am free all day tomorrow (Thursday, 8/21) or Friday, 8/22. Next week I am free to meet in person all morning and afternoon on Wednesday, 8/27 and Friday, 8/29.
I would be very grateful for your help on this. Do you think you’d be able to write a recommendation for me?
How did she respond?
Send me your DARS transcript, resume and the points you want me to highlight.
Also — the list of schools.
I will be happy to write a letter for you.
Let’s meet at my office tomorrow at 3 PM.
I told you this email writing method works! I’ve used it countless times to ask for something and then get the information or favor I needed.
Now would she have said yes if I wrote a worse email? I honestly don’t know.
But I do know that I practiced an effective emailing technique and I gave myself the best chance of a response.
And when I received a yes, I wasn’t surprised. (Too bad I didn’t go to law school because that recommendation letter would have been awesome, I know it.)
Related: Why I Turned Down Harvard Law School
Your response rate will dramatically improve when you use the strategy above to craft your emails.
It may take more time to write with this precision, but the results will be 10x better.
And the beauty in this is you can use what you’ve just learned all across the board: for grad school recommendation letters, networking with successful peers, seeking mentors, securing clients for your small business, and getting a response from your favorite celebrity.
All it takes is one well-written email to unlock a world of knowledge or opportunities.
(Hint: I’d bookmark this article for the next time you need to write an important email.)
Lastly, be sure to follow up and take action once your email is responded to. That’s the whole purpose of sending the email in the first place!
10 Careers For People Who Love Helping Others
Know you’re someone who loves serving others and is naturally inclined to that kind of work? A career that allows you to live your passion is just what you need.
For a lot of people starting off in the working world or looking for a new career, financial rewards are not the number one thing they are looking for.
Instead, they want a job that provides a sense of personal satisfaction through the feeling of helping others. These jobs are out there.
You have a whole host of jobs that put you in direct contact with those in need, whether this is through healthcare, education, charity or another option.
And then there are the jobs that provide a broader contribution to society including science and engineering.
So, let’s go through a list of 10 potential options if you are looking for a job that prioritizes helping others.
1) Teaching and Education
Education is a broad field that gives you the opportunity to impart your skills and knowledge onto others, whether these are children or adults.
Beyond the traditional primary and secondary school paths, there are also opportunities to teach at further education colleges or else children with special needs.
To qualify as a teacher, you will need a degree and a further year of hands-on training, but there are also opportunities such as youth work, childcare or becoming a teaching assistant.
Essentially, the knowledge that you are having a direct impact on people’s lives and you are helping them to develop themselves is immensely rewarding.
2) Nursing and Healthcare
As well as being able to serve others, nursing is a field that is always looking for new staff members so there will be no shortage of job opportunities. Just take a look at https://www.staffnurse.com/ to find out more.
Beyond the range of hospital jobs that you can choose from, you could also find yourself working in a GP surgery, adult care centres or people’s homes, to name a few.
The launch of the nursing degree apprenticeship has been designed to make the career easier for people to enter, but obtaining a degree is still required to progress in this field.
Otherwise, there are plenty of other careers in healthcare apart from being a nurse including physiotherapy, midwifery or pharmacy.
Although it takes a great deal of hard work and commitment to enter this career path in the first place, there is no doubt that working in medicine is one of the most rewarding options out there.
After all, you are helping people with their most important commodity; life.
As well as becoming involved in the day-to-day treatment of patients, there is also the option to go into the research side of the field and help develop groundbreaking medicine.
And there are also a wide range of medical specialties to choose from so you can decide on one that perfectly suits your interests.
On the down side, this tends to be a very demanding option that requires a lot of dedication to the role which can often impact work-life balance.
4) Social Work
Social work is a career that brings you into direct contact with some of the most vulnerable people in society.
Some of the most common include elderly people, adults with mental health issues and people with learning difficulties.
You will probably be required to get involved in some very tough situations including child protection, adoption or working with offenders. To become a full social worker, you will need to obtain a degree, but there are other non-degree options that give you the opportunity to work in this field in other capacities.
Be in the know that many of these jobs come along with high levels of anxiety and the need to work in some very challenging situations.
5) Emergency Services
Comprising of the police, ambulance and fire and rescue, the emergency services are three different career paths.
They all have in common the responsibility to directly respond to people in their most urgent time of need. And these tend to be very community-oriented jobs, as well as ones in which the tasks vary greatly.
There are a wide range of different options and entry levels for each of the three sectors we have mentioned.
The downside is that the working hours tend to be unstable and you are also likely to find yourself working on call.
But there is also a great sense of satisfaction in knowing that you are making a genuine difference to society.
6) Charity Work
There are all kind of career paths that are directly linked to the charity sector from fundraising to marketing.
You may find yourself directly interacting with people or you may be in a more office-based role, but either way, you will have the knowledge that you are closely involved in helping others.
Jobs are open for both graduates and non-graduates, and there are also plenty of voluntary opportunities as well.
If you know that you are directly involved in a field that you are passionate about, this is a fantastic and motivating feeling that can give you immense job satisfaction. Keep in mind you may have to work your way up from the bottom to get there or come into the sector from a different career path entirely.
You may not naturally associate a career in law with one which is helping people, but there are some options which give you the opportunity to give a voice to people without one.
For example, you could go down a career in criminal defence in which you support people who have been accused of crimes.
You could also become involved in the child protection side of law in which you help children in very vulnerable situations. Solicitors and barristers are the jobs that grab most of the headlines, but there are also plenty of entry-level positions that all you to work your way up.
Ultimately, you need to be selective about the type of job you are going for so that you have the feeling that you are helping people and making a genuine difference to their lives.
8) Science and Engineering
Though a lot of science and engineering careers are less about helping people on a daily basis, they are often involved in making the big societal changes that make all the difference in the long run.
For example, in a science career role, you could be involved in protecting the environment or developing new health treatments for people.
Plenty of engineering paths also lead to positive changes for people such as developing renewable energy sources.
Again, it is all about being selective with your career choice so you go for one that provides you with the maximum amount of job satisfaction and the feeling that you are really helping people.
9) Public Service
Though people who work in politics often have a bad reputation, many people do enter this particular career path because they want to help others.
The work that you are doing could impact the entirety of the country, even though whether you are in contact with them directly or not depends on what job role you go into.
So, if you are particularly passionate about the community you live in, a career in local government could be the ideal solution.
Alternatively, you could work in central government and choose between all the different major areas such as pensions, healthcare, education and justice. Job roles are varied so you could be coming in from a wide range of backgrounds.
But if you progress high up the career ladder, stress levels can rise accordingly as you are having to make the decisions that really impact people’s lives.
Psychology still remains a rapidly developing field. And the increasing focus on mental health in society means that there are more options than ever before becoming available.
Some of the most common branches of psychology that people enter include health, clinical, counselling, educational and forensic.
Like other job roles we have talked about already, you have the reward of knowing that you are directly helping people who are struggling with a range of complex issues.
The 10 career paths we have talked about are just some of the potential options you have if you are looking to get into a career that involves helping others.
While some require a great deal of training and study, others can be entered at any stage.
Essentially, you should think about where your passions lie before matching yourself up to one of these options.
It may be that you want to come into contact with people directly and feel like you are helping people in this way. It may be that you like the idea of contributing to wider societal changes that help people in the long-run.
Whatever the case, many people find that personal rewards and job satisfaction from one of these types of career outweigh the financial incentives of other paths.
Though if you work your way up, you still have an excellent opportunity to strike the perfect balance of finding a job that is rewarding in both senses of the word.
High Risk Career Choices That Could Pay Off Big
Are you the type of person who enjoys adrenaline and high-risk, high-reward opportunities? You’ll probably fit perfectly in one of these risky career fields below.
Career choices are never easy. Whether you’re a high schooler, a college kid, a young professional, or a middle aged adult, it’s difficult but crucial you find the right job.
A large portion of your happiness and future depend on it.
While there’s advice all over about how to find the right career based on your personality, sometimes this can lead to overthinking and feeling paralyzed on what to do next.
It’s best to know yourself and trust your gut when it comes to making the right career choice.
Since every choice you make in life will come with its own risk that it may not pay off, sometimes the ones with the most risk are the ones worth risking everything for to be happy.
For the risk-takers out there who need to have a sense of fulfillment in their work, the following high risk jobs could be right up your alley.
Starting Your Own Business
If there’s one career move that a lot of us will want to make, but can often be afraid of, it’s starting a business from scratch.
Starting your own business will always be a risk. Even when you have the capital, a solid business plan, and a lot of experience in your field; you can never guarantee that it’s going to work out.
But if you’re willing to work hard and work at it, it’s a risk that can often pay off.
Becoming A Freelancer
Similarly, choosing to leave job security and go freelance can also be risky business (albeit less than starting your own business), but it’s often worth it.
The risk of going freelance is real and it will also depend on how well you are at adjusting to freelance life. Work won’t always be handed to you; you have to chase it. The investment you need to give here is both your heart and time.
By putting everything you’ve got into going freelance, you should see success.
Working In Another Country
When you do own your own business, or if you have a side project that you’re working on, there may be a time that you decide to go international. And there are always risks associated with this move.
When you’re moving into a market that you don’t know and that you have no experience in, there is a greater chance that you fail.
If you can do your research and plan your entry carefully, the potential successes will always be worth the risk.
Real Estate Investing
There’s always the option to turn to real estate investing.
If you’ve wanted to start a career for yourself that you can operate alongside your work, for the time being, property investment is a strong option.
Whether you look into buy to let options, BTO, or decide to start flipping properties, you have the potential to earn more money than you know what to do with on your own.
Many beginner investors need to first just build up capital, and then be willing to patiently wait until the property and price is right.
Becoming A Professor
When you’re starting out on your career path and still in college, or considering going back to study for your graduate degree, you may consider becoming a professor.
This is a risk for two reasons.
Firstly, the cost of getting your doctorate can’t be ignored. Debt and risk go hand in hand together.
And secondly, the idea that you’re missing out on being in the working world and getting paid a high salary for your skills.
Now if you make it through academia to become a professor and earn tenure, then your job security will be at an all-time high and career risk at an all-time low.
Becoming A Doctor
For those considering becoming a doctor, you may wonder if it is entirely worth it.
Medical education is long, challenging, and expensive.
So you have to be able to analyze the cost vs. the reward relationship when it comes to training to become a doctor.
If you’re skilled, passionate, and willing to work hard, you should be able to both out-work and out-earn your student debt before you know it.
Training As A Pilot
As far as adventurous careers go, if you want to enjoy job security and a good salary at the same time, you’re often limited with choice.
However, a strong option would be to train as a pilot.
Of course there are risks with any kind of job like this, but you should find that although the training is costly, the salary you receive in return will repay your investment, and your security will shatter any risk.
You’ll also gain the flexibility to fly commercial or private, which can’t be said in many careers.
Joining The Army
An army job does not need as much of an investment upfront in terms of experience or money, but it does require a few years of your life.
Although some positions will require a college education like an army officer, it’s not required across entry-level positions. Out of all the options on this list, this one may be the easiest to begin.
Keep in mind a career within the army may prove a risk to your life at times, but the security, skills training and experience may make it the best investment you could make.
Working For The Government
You may also want to consider joining the government.
Working for the federal government, although not a risk in itself (depending on your role) can be worth the investment in your education that you may need to make.
You will often benefit from great working rewards and enjoy a varied working day, especially if you decide to go into an intelligence field.
At some point in your career, you may also want to think about going into mentorship.
Mentoring is often a great way to give back to the industry and encourage bright talent for the future, although it can mean you have to give up your time with very little financial gain in return.
Often times mentors find that the personal rewards make any risk you take entirely worth it.
5 Best Future Careers, And 5 That Will Disappear
If you’re going to look for a new career, why not consider the best future careers to make sure that job is going to be as profitable in 20 years as it is now?
There’s a whole bunch of careers that are set to disappear as organizations become more dependent on computers and automation to do the heavy legwork for them.
Some experts think that somewhere in the region of 47% of jobs might be lost over the coming decades. That’s absurd if you think about this for a minute!
If you’re looking for a career that will stay relevant, you’d have your head on straight if you considered picking a field from the five we’ve listed below—and avoiding the five industries listed below them.
Good Future Careers
1. Cyber Security
The world’s going to be even more reliant on internet systems than it is now. With the arrival of the “internet of things”, it’s going to be all around us, a part of everything we do.
This, naturally, will make the criminals of the world pay attention – and as such, as our reliance on these systems grows, so will the importance of staying one step ahead of the people looking to hack and causing mischief.
If you know how to keep these attacks at bay, you’ll be high in demand in the corporate or government sector.
2. Tech Development
Well now, the whole world isn’t going to become dependent on technology just by chance: there’s going to be people behind those systems, working hard to find the next great breakthrough and push the world forward.
It’s important to note that not all IT based jobs will be safe; the market for app development jobs, for example, is likely to wind down.
However, if you can train yourself in advanced technology systems and make sure you’re always at the cutting edge of what’s happening, you’ll find plenty of work.
3. Data Analyst
Data is already used to influence companies much more than you probably realize, but it’s set to become even bigger in the next decade and beyond.
There’s already more data than any company could need, but there’s a problem: there aren’t enough people who know how to interpret the data.
If you’ve got an eye for spotting trends and can make sense of large quantities of information, then look at becoming a data analyst. Computers won’t be able to make sense of it on their own (in the beginning at least): it’ll need the human touch.
And talking of a human touch; healthcare is another industry that will be kept safe from computers.
Of course, automation and AI will form a significant part of healthcare, but it’ll work in conjunction with health professionals, not replace them.
Don’t worry if you don’t like the thought of dealing with blood and other healthcare hazards; there are plenty of specialized jobs available that are just as safe.
If we take a look at the job prospects for a radiologist via wikiprofessional.org, we can see that it’s a future proof career option; demand for this job, along with other physicians, is due to grow by 24% over the next few years.
Some jobs just can’t be performed by a machine, and healthcare is right at the top of the list.
5. Social Care
There’ll also be plenty of jobs in an industry that can be considered the cousin of healthcare, social care.
Again, there will be elements of technology incorporated into the industry, but it’ll be working alongside the core workers, rather than replacing them, as the very essence of this type of work depends on human interaction.
And this market won’t just be safe because computers can’t take over: it’s a growing industry in its own right.
In the not too distant future, people aged 70 and over are going to form the biggest age group in the country, and there’ll need more people than there currently are to take care of them.
Bad Future Careers
1. Number Crunching
If you’ve got a knack for mathematics and producing reports and paperwork, then look away now, because this is one surprising career that is likely to shrink in importance in the forthcoming years.
While it currently requires a high degree of expertise, a slew of applications that will more or less automate the entire process are already here, and there will be more on the way, too.
Though traditional companies still rely on human hands to take care of these jobs, modern companies are using machines to take care of their account, bookkeeping, tax returns, and so on, and it’ll be these companies who dominate the future.
2. Global Knowledge
The rapid globalization of the economy has meant it’s been a golden age for workers who were able to navigate different cultures and languages.
While we’re still a ways off from not needing tour guides with specialized, in-depth knowledge, the abundance of apps and other smartphone related tools will shrink this industry over time.
At a more immediate risk are translators, who will have to compete with software that automatically translates languages. The tech isn’t quite there yet, but it is coming, and from then it’ll only be the highly sensitive translations that are done by humans.
3. Non-Artistic Writing
Now, there’s little chance a computer will take the place of a novelist anytime soon. That’s just not going to happen because art is inherently human.
However, writing that isn’t obviously artistic, such as web content, technical reports, and (gasp) newspaper articles will increasingly be written by machines.
Some news outlets already use bots to write their weather reports, and it has been reported (by humans) that robots are more and more responsible for what we’re reading online and in our newspapers.
The entire logistics industry is about to be turned upside down, as nearly all components can be performed by a robot. Machines will be responsible for the running of warehouses, packaging, and delivery, with little to no human hands helping them along the way.
For a glimpse into the future, look no further than Amazon’s delivery plans. Welcome to the future!
According to studies, broadcasters score some of the lowest when it comes to job growth, stress, and work environment.
This makes sense since competition has to be high for these limited roles and job security is not going to be strong when a media company can quickly fill a broadcasting role with another talking head.
It’s also difficult to find that first broadcasting job as radio stations become syndicated and the Internet gobbles up more music and sports positions.
These are just a few of industries where humans will have more or less importance in the future. So if you’re looking for a change of career, make sure it’s one for the future!