by Matt Cossolotto

To begin building social capital you need to be:

  • Bold
  • Persistent
  • Respectful (especially of time)
  • Formal
  • Specific

When reaching out to professionals, you’ll want to apply these traits in your communication. This may be an email, a phone call, or an in-person visit.


Before crafting your first email, consider these two example emails. See if you can spot which one would lead to the better start of a professional relationship. What are the differences? Why do they matter?

Email 1

I am designing a webpage in my comp sci class and I am stuck LOL? Could you help me with it?


Email 2

Dear Mr. Smith:

My name is Matt Cossolotto and I am a Junior in the Computer Science Academy at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids.  I am creating an app that will help owners better track their pet’s health records. While I have gotten feedback from my teacher, classmates, and online sources, I could really use some advice and guidance from an expert. I was wondering if you would have time to look at my work give me your thoughts?

I know you are very busy and I appreciate any time or assistance you could provide.

Thank you for your time.

Matt Cossolotto

Ask for someone to proofread the first few emails you make.

Phone Calls

[To be written]

In-Person Visits

[To be written]