6 Steps for Networking on Behalf of Your Partner (or friend!)

business entrepreneur instincts strengths Oct 16, 2019

I received an excellent question this week from a woman asking about etiquette around networking on behalf of her partner. I know she's not alone in trying to navigate this sphere as I myself have also networked on behalf of my spouse. When done well, this type of networking can lead to identifying your partner's tribe and ultimately, job offers.

Here was the woman's question: (names and locations have been changed for privacy)

I am wondering about a networking situation and how to best approach or introduce people. Basically, my amazing boyfriend, Jared, has decided to leave Kansas and move to Maine to live with me. But he needs a job.

I recently found a music technology job in Portland for which he is highly qualified and I think it would be a great fit both for him and the company. I figured that since I was/am very involved in the music scene in Maine, I must know someone there or at least have a mutual friend who does. I posted on Facebook looking for anyone with connections at the company and three of my friends from college marching band commented with names of people they know who work there.

My question is... is it professional to contact them to make an introduction? Should I message them or should I have Jared do so? Jared has never met my 3 friends from marching band, so they could only speak about my character if they were asked. I think the goal is to learn more about the position, the company, and also get a foot in the door. Thoughts?

This is a GREAT question and I'd love to share my answer to her with you all. YES, it is totally professional and appropriate to make an introduction on behalf of your partner and here are the steps I recommend taking to make it happen:

  1. Write separate emails to your contacts introducing your partner (CC your partner on the email) and talk *briefly* about what your partner is looking for and their qualifications.

  2. Make this as objective as possible. They know you love and adore your partner so they don't need to hear too much about how sweet and friendly they are. Highlight hard skills like: project management, client relations, recruitment, on-boarding/training, editing, analytics, content creation etc.

  3. Your example of their skills can be really powerful when told like a story, "My partner figured out an innovative way to save the company $10,000. It's a really cool story, but I'll let them tell it!"

  4. Make this email short and concise. We're all busy no matter how much we want to help.

  5. Next, have your partner "respond all" to the email ASAP following up with a teeny bit more information (maybe more detail on the story you told) and highlighting: 1) their enthusiasm to meet Company X 2) their contact info 3) the hard ask: can the recipient introduce them to their contact at Company X?

  6. Wait 5 days. If no response, send a follow up response acknowledging how busy the recipient may be (never apologize for reaching out!) and thanking them for any time they can offer to help further this connection.

This is a painless, effective, and I'd argue FUN way to introduce your partner in a manner that let's them stand on their own and tell their story. The goal is for your contact to see your partner the same way you do and to see that your partner can speak for themselves. Having your partner follow up to your original email ASAP (before the correspondence replies) transfers ownership of the networking opportunity to your partner and stops highlighting you; that's the GOAL.

Have you ever networked for a partner or friend? I'd love to hear how it went, so drop me a comment below!

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