When you are trying to make the transition from one career to another, it is important to let people know what you have to offer and why they should consider talking to you. After all, you may not have the pre-requisite experience. Your job, then, is to let them know why you, with the experience you do have, would be an asset to their field and company. What follows are 10 tips to get the interview that could change your career path, and your life. 1. Identify how you got this person's name. Were you referred? By whom? While the best referrals are personal, you can also create excellent referrals by finding logical links to your target contacts. Did you hear them at a conference, read an article that mentioned the person, see an excellent Web site that triggered this letter? Are you both graduates of the same school, members of the same club or religious organization, have children at the same school? 2. Be sure your letter includes ALL your contact information: phone, fax and e-mail! 3. Spell check everything in the letter and be sure you have all titles written correctly. If your campaign includes writing multiple letters at the same time, double check to be sure you have the correct information on each letter. In your haste to get yourself out there, you don't want to affiliate one company president with the wrong organization.
4. Be specific about your passion for the new field. Tell your contact something about yourself -- why you want to make the transition. If you need to cover any knowledge gaps, have specific thoughts about how you will tackle these issues.
5. State exactly the length of time and type of contact you are seeking. Is it half an hour, lunch? A phone call at the start or end of the day? If possible, make yourself available for a time convenient to the contact.
6. What exactly do you want? Ideas about making the transition and getting the skills you need under your belt? New companies and people to speak to?
7. Give the contact an incentive to see you or speak with you. Perhaps taking him or her to lunch at a nice restaurant, discussing his/her well-respected work (be genuine).
8. If you enclose your resume, be sure it is a visually attractive document, on good-quality paper, and that it is 1-2 pages -- not more.
9. End the letter with an action item, your follow-up. Is it your phone call to Ms. Contact? Then, follow up as promised.
10. Say thank you and keep the contact updated. If this person refers you to someone else and they help you, let the first contact know.
Source: Money & Work