Got this note from my high school's listserv of alumni in business...
"I am seeking information about entry into financial analysts programs and other areas of the finance market. I am a recent college graduate and would appreciate any insight on how to get my resume to the right people. Thank you for your time."
Here's my response:
I think the best way to get the information and help you are looking for is to start with what you know and what you've done. "information about entry into financial analysts programs and other areas of the finance market." is a book's worth (or several books worth) of information. I think most professionals are more willing to help those who show ambition in some way... who give as much as they ask for.
So, perhaps something along the lines of, "I graduated from X and took part in x activity in college, where I developed in interest in X part of the finance market. I was reading X the other day and it said that there were going to be more opportunities in X part of the market versus X. I would like to know if this is a generally accepted view of the market and would be very excited to speak with a professional about this who works in that area."
So what does this approach accomplish?
1) It shows you've been doing your homework and have a track record of taking an active interest in the subject. Otherwise, you will give people the impression (which I'm sure is incorrect) that you haven't done anything in finance before and you're just realizing that you're graduating college in a month and need a job. Obviously your interest in finance stems from somewhere... tell people about that in a way that reflects your own unique perspective and ambition.
2) It doesn't mention anything about jobs. Not every contact will be good for a job and not everyone wants to be made to feel like their time is only worthwhile if they can get you a job. You should be focused on building relationships with people who know you and are impressed with you. Jobs will flow from that whether or not you ever ask one one explicitly.
3) It leaves open the possibility that someone might respond to this even if they can't offer you a job, but they might be able to give you some useful insight.
4) It encourages more people to participate with less. Instead of asking for one person to write a novel, the more you ask specific questions about certain areas, the more people you'll get to respond with "Yeah, that makes sense b/c X... check out this other resource for more information."