The 10 Commandments of Perfect Networking E-mails

If you’re like me, you have a personal email address and a professional one. And you’re careful to not mix the two. Simple enough, right?

Apparently not so obvious for Hillary Clinton, who reportedly used a private account to conduct government business as secretary of state — to the tune of 50,000 pages of emails. Harmless mistake? Something more sinister? Clinton claims she used the personal email “for convenience.”

To prove her innocence, the former secretary also said: “I want the public to see my email.” Umm, 50,000 pages is a lot. Can we have a CliffsNotes version?

(Then again: South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham says he’s NEVER sent an email. Like ever. What?)

Personal or professional, how can we act on our own best behavior as we fire off emails designed to impress the reader?

If it pleases the internet, may I present…

The Ten Commandments of Networking Emails

I. Be courteous — “I hope you’re doing well.”

II. Be grateful — “Thanks for any help you can offer.”

III. Be curious — “I checked out your website and saw your recent project on
employee behavior. Was it a challenge to complete the survey?”

IV. Be clear — “I’m a friend of Robert Holland, your former co-worker at Star
Enterprises Institute.”

V. Be considerate — “I know you’re busy, and I appreciate your time.”

VI. Be direct — “I’m writing to see if you’re free for coffee.”

VII. Be honest — “I’m a recent grad and would appreciate learning from you.”

VIII. Be patient — “Please let me know when you have a chance.”

IX. Be careful — No spelling or grammar mistakes; first impressions are huge.

X. Be bold — Send an email and start the conversation. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

An Example that Includes all Ten Commandments

Here’s one example that shows use of each of the ten commandments:

Hi Stacy,

I hope you’re doing well. (Commandment I)

My name is James Rodgers, and I’m a friend of Robert Holland, your former co-worker at Star
Enterprises Institute. (Commandment IV). I’m interested in a career in human resources, and I’d like to learn more about your experience in the field.(Commandment VI). As a recent grad, I am full of questions and would love your perspective. (Commandment VII)

Also, I checked out your website and saw your recent project on employee behavior. Was it a challenge to complete the survey? I found the results on employee retention interesting. (Commandment III)

I know you’re busy and appreciate your time. (Commandment V) Again, when you have a chance (Commandment VIII) please let me know if you’re available. A quick conversation over coffee would be great.

Thanks so much, (Commandment II)


Make a great first impression… by making sure each email you send is professional, courteous and memorable!


For this post, we thank Danny Rubin at News to Live By!


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Danny Rubin AuthorAbout the Author: Danny Rubin is a communications expert for the millennial generation. He also writes the blog News To Live By, which highlights the career advice “hidden” in the headlines. His work has appeared on Huffington Post, Business Insider and the New York Times. Follow him @DannyHRubin



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