Networking is an important part of developing your career, but it can be intimidating to reach out to a stranger. The Muse suggests this simple template to make things a little less awkward.
It's hard to ask someone you don't know for help, even if it's just picking their brain for a few minutes. Maybe you're not sure what to say or how to ask. This template keeps things short and to the point, without being impersonal. The Muse's Aja Frost suggests:
Dear [first name],
My name is [your name], and I'm a [job title] who works in [your location]. I'm reaching out because [reason why you want to speak with this person]. I'd love to learn more about [two or three things you'd like to learn from the person].
I'm sure you're busy, so even 20 minutes would be appreciated.
Thanks so much,
You can tweak the template to match your own voice, but the important elements are there: who you are, why you're contacting this person, and what, specifically, you're asking of them.
Check out Frost's full post for more detail.