How to Write the Best Cold Email
Before landing my job, and more recently starting Jobiki, I spent a lot of time editing and sending cold emails. I also spent a lot of time figuring out how to write a cold email for a job.
As a student at the time, and after fine-tuning the process, it was very successful at getting responses. I previously blindly applied to open positions I saw online, but I rarely heard back.
The following steps allowed me to attain a much higher (“hire”, amirite?) response rate than I ever did with online applications.
This template can be used for a cold email to companies you are interested in working for, as a follow-up to an online application, or even just to help you meet new people in order to grow your network.
Why is finding a job so hard?
For someone who just graduated, or is about to graduate, you probably haven’t thought much about the job search process.
You probably have just done what everyone else has done: apply for jobs on job boards.
It’s going to be crappy to hear…
…most jobs are not filled through online databases or job boards.
They are actually filled by word of mouth.
The job search is a market, which means it follows the supply and demand relationship.
Right now, you have more open positions than ever before.
So, if most jobs aren’t posted, then where do you find these positions?
The invisible job market of course!
“The invisible job market consists of jobs that are not posted or announced publicly.”
It is estimated that 70% of the job market is filled through this “invisible job market”
How am I supposed to know about them if they aren’t announced publicly?
Through networking of course!
“Simply put, networking is meeting with someone with a specific purpose in mind.”
For you, it may be to find a job.
No one is going to hire you if they do not know that you exist.
You can get noticed by just getting introduced to a hiring manager through a friend, family member, neighbor, or even a complete stranger.
If you know one person and that person know another and another, you now have a network of people to help you.
Even though it may seem weird, your network does, in fact, consist of friends, family, and neighbors.
Realistically, your network should start with them.
Getting into Networking is Scary and Unknown
When you’re new to it, networking sounds like the scariest thing in the world
For introverts, it can be especially scary going to networking events.
This hesitation towards networking is a result of a lack of education on the subject.
That why we have broken down how to write a cold email for a job
6 Steps to a Cold Email
Here are the steps:
- Change Your Perspective
- Get the Contact Info
- The Subject Line
- Building the Body
- Proof It
- The Follow-Up
CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE
Right off the bat, we are going to deviate from what everyone else is doing…
Stop looking for job postings!
Since they only make up 20-30% of the job search market, only spend 20-30% of your job search using them.
Look at them to see what companies are actively hiring and get an idea of “what’s out there”…
…But don’t ONLY rely on them.
Really, you need to switch your perspective from the “job title” to the company.
For many graduates, you have no idea what you want to do. Therefore, finding a company that you align with is often a better way to start your job search.
That’s why we created Jobiki…
GET THE CONTACT INFO
This may be the hardest and even the most time-consuming part of a cold email.
A cold email is, well, cold…Which means that neither you or the person your emailing really know each other.
So, the second step is to get a hold of their email address.
When sending out these emails, try to hit a few people at these companies.
Use LinkedIn or their company about us page to find the names of employees at that company
Ideally, aim for positions that have decision making power or can give you valuable insight into working at the company:
- Recruiter/HR person
- Hiring Manager
- Lower level employees from department or field of interest
An advantage to lower level employees is that they are often more receptive to getting coffee and are less busy than the other two positions.
So, now that we have the people we want to talk to we need to find their contact info.
To find these emails, you have to sometimes get pretty creative.
First, try looking on their Linkedin Profile. Sometimes people will put it in their bio section.
Try going to their company careers or about us page. If they are a small company (below 50 employees) they may have photos and bios on their employees, including their email.
If all else fails, you can always use a site called Hunter.io.
^^^They will help you find the exact email address for the person you are looking for. All you need is the company and first & last name of the person you are trying to contact.
THE SUBJECT LINE
The subject line is BY FAR the most important part of the email itself.
On average, people working in an office receive 121 emails a day.
Therefore, you need to convince them that your email is one they should open AND reply to.
With that, you need to stand out from the rest.
First, you need to understand this subject line needs to be personal.
Include your contacts name in the subject line.
^^^This will draw the readers eye to it and will also show them that this email is meant for them, not just another spam email
Next, a subject line should give them an introduction into who you are and what your objective is.
Note: “Picking your brain” is not an objective.
Here are some examples:
- If referred by someone
- “[Employee Name]: Referred by X to Discuss Y”
- Someone you saw an article about
- “[Employee Name]: Your Article/Story/Interview Blew Me Away”
- Applied for position online
- “[Employee Name]: Experienced Candidate Seeking [Insert Position Title] Position”
- “[Employee Name]: New Graduate Seeking [Insert Position Title] Position”
- An employee at your dream company
- “[Employee Name]: Aspiring [Position]-Wanting to Learn More About [Company Name]”
BUILDING THE BODY
So, we actually have already done this for you. So, if you haven’t…
There are three things to keep in my when building the body of your cold email:
- Short and Sweet
- Let Yourself Shine
- Call to Action
Short and Sweet
Nothing is worse than opening up an email that looks like a novel.
No paragraphs or indentations. These are the types of emails that people will just delete right away.
It is super important that you make sure this email is short and sweet.
“Every single word should have a specific purpose.”
Also, making a few short paragraphs rather than one long one will allow for easier and less intimidating reading.
Let Yourself Shine
A cold email is the ultimate sales pitch for yourself.
No one wants to hire or meet with an average person, they want the best. That means you need to let your best shine through this email
For new grads, it is all about proving that even though you have little experience, the experience you do have will benefit the company.
For more experienced professionals, it is all about showing off how your past experience has prepared you for this role.
Either way, this is the first impression. Which means this email needs to be the best-written email you have ever sent.
That means that not only do you want to highlight your skills and experience…
…but you also need to make sure the email has ZERO grammatical errors.
Call to Action
Just like any good marketing campaign, you need a call to action.
When you see marketing material it often says things like…
- “Call Us”
- “Visit Us”
- “Book At…”
Marketing is all about getting people through a funnel and so is a great cold email.
Making your call to action known will help the reader know what the next steps are.
The last thing you want is to get an email back saying, “So, what do you want”
Many people won’t even respond if there is no call to action.
The call to action should be one of the last paragraphs in your email.
Call to actions come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some topics that can help you out:
- Meet for coffee
- Schedule a phone call
- Set up a preliminary interview
- Get a response to a specific question
Having a call to action within your email will help the reader know what their next step is and are a necessity to building a great cold email body.
To wrap up the body of the email is a great signature.
Making this signature professional can really wrap up this email perfectly.
For new grads, try this:
[University Graduated and Degree Earned]
For seasoned professionals, this could be a good one:
[Recent career position/placement]
Now that you have updated the body to fit you personally, we can proofread it.
Although you may think that using the wrong form of “there” is not a big deal, it can be a huge game changer.
Making sure your email is grammatically correct is a sign that you put time and effort into it. Making this email perfect is going to show the reader that their time reading it was not wasted.
Here are some other things to check in the process:
- Addressed to the right person
- Company names are correct
- Confirm you attached your resume
- Run spell check/grammar check
Personally, I really enjoy using Grammarly to help with checking my grammar and punctuation.
THE FOLLOW UP
Now we wait…
If after sending your first contact, you haven’t heard back in a week, feel free to send a simple followup email.
When you send a follow-up, reply to the email you sent earlier. This will make sure that the original email is continued in the chain as for context to what you are following up about.
Hopefully, you may still have a few inquiries out with other people at the company, so hope is not lost if you don’t hear back.
This may sound harsh, but the most underrated response is rejection. It sucks, but you heard back and at least have a final answer!
You can now focus more of your energy and resource at other opportunities.
“The Job Search Sucks”
Yep, we said it so you didn’t have to.
It’s actually the reason that we started building Jobiki in the first place.
“Our goal is to help people find meaningful work by finding a meaningful workplace.”
That’s why we help you explore and discover the best companies with the best benefits, amenities, and perks.