Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Networking 101

Please find below an email sent a couple of days ago to someone I know.
I've included it in full, and added my analysis after. This is a long one, so settle down, grab a Milwaukee's Best Light, and read on...


From: Ballsy F. Buffoon
To: Potential.Cradlesnatcher@Alum.Dartmouth.ORG
Subject: Hey
Sent: Feb 21, 2009 4:14 AM

Hey Potential,

We met at (Animal house fraternity) last night. I'm the '12 you didn't wanna show yor tits to.
You're an '03 on Wall Street. You asked me If I needed something, anything. I've been stuck trying to find private equity internships in (major European city) for this summer. Can you help?

Best regards,
Ballsy Buffoon

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


Initially, I wasn't sure how to break this gem down, but I've decided to keep it simple, judging the email on it's Tone, Structure and Content. One quick note before we get to the email itself - even though the email is relatively coherent, given that Ballsy sent it out at 4.14AM on a Friday night / Saturday morning, I'm going to assume he's had a few Natty Ices. Not that it affects my critique in any way, but I thought it worth noting. Anyhow, down to business then...


Starts out with a "hey," which is appropriately casual, using the cougar's first name as well, thus indicating a degree of familiarity. Short sentences in the body, basically statements of facts - no
arguments there either. And lastly, solid professional sign-off with a "best regards" and usage of the writer's full name - making it clear to the reader that while a degree of comfort had clearly been achieved through their interactions, this email (and the writer's intentions) is definitely all business.

Grade: B+ (Would have been an A- if he hadn't used "wanna" - I don't really like that word. Makes me think of this:


Overall, Ballsy does a decent job of following structural guidelines to networking emails, as explained to me by numerous recruiters. The one glaring issue is his complete lack of specifics. But he's a freshman after all - I mean, when I was a freshman, I'm relatively certain I would have lost interest in the woman after the titties incident (and my freshman summer was much less about PE, and much more about...well, this isn't really about me so let's just move on).

Back to the structure - 1) Establishes where they met. 2) Establishes who he is. 3) Establishes who she is and what she does, and then gently reminds her that she had been keen to help him (in case she had forgotten, probably because that was the last thing she had said before passing out). 4) Establishes what he hopes to achieve, as well as where and when he hopes to do so. 5) Makes a to-the-point query as to her ability to assist him in his endeavors.

Grade: B- (I would have liked some more specificity as to what he wants to do, and what he remembers of what she does / how that could potentially help him)


What the fuck is wrong with this kid? On the one hand, given that he's probably only 19 fucking years old, I have to give him credit for having the balls to write this email (hence the pseudonym). Also, props for getting a professional, possibly successful woman, NINE! years your senior, to "asked me If[sic] I needed something, anything." On the other hand, major points deductions for alcohol being heavily involved in both those incidents (probably much more so in the second than the first...but still). Anyway, on to the sentence by sentence breakdown:

1) Okay, so you met at a fraternity - so far so good, but with potential for trouble ahead.

2) So her refusing to show you her boobs was the best you could come up with from a "remember me" perspective? You clearly spoke to this woman for a considerable length of time, given what's said later reallllly couldn't come up with anything else? Nothing at all? Perhaps something a little more fucking relevant like, "I'm the freshman that wanted to work with a PE firm in (major European city)." But no, you went with the titties episode. And she didn't even fcking show them to you! Wait, I'm actually not sure if that's better or worse - from this email's perspective. I mean...from that night's perspective it's obviously worse. How does the following sound, "I'm the '12 you showed your tits to." Hmm, that's probably more embarrassing for ol' Potential Cradlesnatcher, so I guess it's for the best (again, from this email's
perspective), that you didn't get to see her jugs.

3a) I'm glad you highlight that she's an '03 compared to you being a '12. That won't make her feel old at all. And I hate when people say "on Wall Street" What the fuck does that even mean? Who the fck is even on Wall Street anymore? Deutsche? Asif, the fruit-seller? Ahmed, the coffee cart guy? At least fucking say what she does / where she works / anything that shows you were paying a little fucking attention to something besides her luscious breasts. They must have been nice...pity we don't have a picture of the girl. For now. God I love titties.

3b) "you asked me If I needed something, anything" Nice...reads like this is exactly what she said, verbatim. While it is impressive that you managed to get her to say this, it probably isn't the best way to relay it - I mean, it makes her sound like a desperate, drunken idiot (given that she's a working 28-yr-old talking to a 19-yr-old-just-started-college-kid). Also, it could lead to people (like me) calling her Potential Cradlesnatcher, and that doesn't help anybody. Next time, dial it down a notch, brosephus. Not sure why I felt the need to say "brosephus" there, but it felt appropriate. Other terms that could have worked: broski, broseph, brah, broheim, and of course, bro-asaurus rex. For living, breathing embodiments, check this out.

4) Don't say you've "been stuck", bro-asaurus rex, just say you're pursuing numerous avenues or something equally vague while still giving the impression that you have many options. And the "can you help?" while admirable for it's no-nonsense-ness, is a little too direct for my liking. Toss in a, "would be great if you could help" or "I was hoping to speak with you regarding...". I understand that you asked this girl to show her your tits last night, but now the sun is out, most of the alcohol has worn off, and she's probably just realllllllllly hungover - so be nice, and show a little respect.

5) The sign-off. I know I covered this in the Tone section already, but I loved it so much, I had to bring it up again. I don't think we'll ever see another email that contains the line, "didn't wanna show yor tits to," and ends with, "Best Regards, Full Name of Sender." Just fantastic all around.

6) The Post-Script as added by the network provider: I REALLY like this. Having a blackberry speaks volumes more about your professionalism than one of those media-centric iPhones. And it's signficantly better than blitzing ( Significantly.


i) In terms of fulfilling the purpose of the email: F-

ii) Entertainment: B+ (more ridiculousness was necessary for an A, e.g., "I'm the guy you sucked off last night," "I'm the guy who prematurely ejaculated on your expensive shoes that you had to wear to work the next day because you were going straight to work from the airport," and so forth...feel free to add your own version in the Comments section)

As an aside, for those interested in understanding the social significance of "blitzing", refer here:

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