Asking for education guidance but not a full mentor
April 9, 2020 8:47 AM   Subscribe

I am currently working for a struggling industry in a niche position that has the potential for diversification into other sectors (other industries, public service), but due to the very specific nature of my experience I'll require additional education and certifications to be able to make the leap. I'd like to reach out to a few professionals who are listed as mentors on my relevant career's professional organization. They each have experience across multiple sectors and I'd like to find out what education they could recommend. Is my email request tailored well enough?

I'm quite happy with where I am but I have significant concerns about the stability of the industry and my goal right now is simply to broaden my options down the line. I will need to pay out of pocket as my company's training budgets for the year have been retracted so I want to make sure I target the most valuable option(s).

I want to make it clear that I'm not seeking work or a major time commitment as a mentor, just guidance on the education/certification piece. I also need to proceed with a bit of caution as I don't know who knows who in this industry and my request for input on how to make that leap could be shared with my employers.

My draft email is below, I searched online for scripts and then tailored one to my situation but wanted some additional opinions on content/tone. Any thoughts or recommendations?

Good morning (name),

My name is (name) and I’m currently working as the (title) for (company). I found your information from the (organization) mentor list for (my location). I see that you have experience across a range of sectors and I’m hoping to learn more about what education and certifications you might recommend to bolster my experience and allow for potential diversification into the public sector or other industries in the future.

I’m currently considering pursuing a few options including (x, y, and z certifications). I’m quite happy with my current position but was hoping to get some guidance on which path might be the most valuable.

Would you have time to give me your opinion on these options and whether there is volunteer experience that might also be beneficial? If you are available, I am able to connect by phone or by email, whichever is more convenient for you. My email is (x) and my phone number is (y).

I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you for your time!

(phone number)
posted by reader to Work & Money (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My experience is based on the Great Recession of the 1980s - the long ago times - BEFORE there were WORD PROCESSORS or WORD PROCESSOR SOFTWARE

I was going to do post-grad full time for two years and needed a summer placement AND a job as it was going to cost me $70K and I did NOT want to be wondering where the next paycheck was going to come from

I went to the library - and took down the Business Who's Who directory and systematically listed businesses that met my criteria - recording details of the CEO and postal address

At the end, my list was about 2,000 businesses

I prepared my CV - two pages double-sided (standard) and sent out 2,000 personalised cover letters. (Do not ask about the technology a pre-Word Processor world required)

IT IS A NUMBERS GAME - people skim the cover letter, but if your CV looks like you have potential - you get the call

I am not sure that I would even bother with email - my secretary gets my email and her job is to put the important stuff in front of my nose. She is a good person and she would put your email aside, but I would not see it until it was quiet - allow 4-6 weeks.

The nice thing about a physical letter is that it can get passed around - I may not look at it, but when my secretary, trainee, etc is bored - they will pull it out and say, "Is there anything here that would help everyone?"
posted by Barbara Spitzer at 11:40 PM on April 28, 2020

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