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Networking tips for young people

Advice on writing that all important email, asking questions and getting the most out of Network connections.
A young woman gestures with her hands as she speaks to a woman holding a paper cup.
Pair talking at a mentor introduction event in Manchester. Photo: Emma Pilkington

Be brave - always follow up with the introduction

It's perfectly normal to feel nervous but never leave the other person hanging! If you have changed your mind, send an email like this:

"Thank you for the introduction. I have been exploring my options and have decided I am more interested in ___ but thank you so much for your time"

Writing the first email

Don't be overly formal or too casual. Something like this works well: "Hi ___ how are you? My name is ___ and I am currently doing ___. I am interested in ___. I am hoping to learn more about ___. If you are under 18, keep your mentor cc'd in this email. Ask them, or us, for help writing the first email if you need.

Asking questions

Don't be shy! This person has already agreed to answer your questions. Think about what you want from the conversation. Do you want their opinion? Do you need information? Use open questions starting with 'who”, “what”, “where”, “when” and “how”. Avoid personal questions around sexuality, religion, politics etc. if they are not relevant to your discussion.

Phone and video calls

Make a plan for your call and write questions down so you can refer to them during the conversation. Make sure you're somewhere quiet if possible. Remember you don't need to impress anyone, just be yourself and chat as you normally would! If you are under 18, your mentor should be on this call too.

Ending the conversation

At the end of the email, phone or video conversation, thank them for their time. If they were helpful, ask if you can stay in touch and follow up with them later. A good way to end the conversation is to ask if there is anyone else they think you should speak to.

Keeping Safe

If you are under 18, your mentor should be cc'd into all emails and be on all phone / video calls. Never send personal information to the network connection, including your social media information. They should not be asking you for personal photos or details like your home address. If at any time you feel unsafe, let us know.