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Top Tips for Writing a Cold Email to Potential Employers

Published: Friday 31st January 2020

Cold emails are something we associate with sales campaigns. Nevertheless, cold emails have broad application ranging from raising money for charity to securing a meeting with someone you admire. A cold email can also be the ticket to a new job or career change.

A cold email doesn’t of itself guarantee success. Still, the right cold email to a potential employer can give you an enormous advantage over applicants sending their CV’s via job boards. You cease to be just another candidate in a sea of hundreds of others trying to catch the eye of an overwhelmed human resources department. There are building blocks of an effective cold email. Here’s a look at four…

Hand pressing an email icon on blurred cityscape background

Send the cold email to the right person

The idea is straightforward but actually identifying the right person to send a cold email and finding their email address can be difficult. Right person here doesn’t necessarily mean the person who is in charge of the role or department you’d want to work in. Rather, it’s the person with significant influence from whom you are more likely to get a response.

One way would be to identify individuals in the target company with whom you went to the same university. For instance, if you attended the University of Manchester, you would search LinkedIn for individuals who went to the same university and work at the target organisation. Another great place to check out viable contacts is on the company website. Small and medium sized businesses will usually list the names and positions of many or all their staff.

Your search for a relevant contact to send the cold email might yield a name but not the corresponding email address. If your quest for the address fails, you can always resort to smart guesswork. Most companies stick to convention for their email address. Small organisations will have the staff members first name followed by the company’s domain name (e.g. name@smallcompany.com).

Keep the cold email concise and direct

Female business person reading email on computer screen at work on internet

You have your contact’s name and their email. Next is to write the body of the email. You are more likely to get a response if you keep the email concise and specific. Start with a brief paragraph explaining who you are and the reason for the email. Finish with a final sentence that enquires about the recipient’s availability for an appointment or phone call.

The person you are sending the mail to, will most probably be a significant decision maker so they are pressed for time. If your message is ambiguous or long-winded, it will probably end up in their trash. Demonstrate in as few words as possible what value you could bring as an employee, the skills you have and where you found their name and/or contact information.

Don’t ask for the moon and stars

email menu on monitor screen

At the point of sending a cold email, you are likely to be completely unknown to the recipient. So keep your request simple, realistic, low risk and easily achievable. You’re akin to a hitchhiker; you wouldn’t stop the vehicle and start making extremely detailed demands of where you want the driver to take you. It will be much easier for the contact to get back to you, if they don’t feel like you are asking them to take a big step.

For instance, it’s much easier to get your contact to meet you for coffee after work where you can share your passion for their company than it would be if you ask them for a job straight up. If the email lands you a job immediately, that’s a plus. However, a cold email is usually a means of breaking the ice, getting your foot in the door and initiating a productive conversation with a key person in the organisation you’d like to work for.

Follow up

A cold email is unsolicited. You may even be sending the same email to dozens of potential employers (see this review by Accuweb Hosting if you want to use an email verification service that ensures your mail gets to the recipient’s inbox). So, it would be understandable that you would be a little hesitant to send a follow up email. You might wonder just what went through the mind of the contact person.

Follow Up Review Inspection Examination Evaluation Audit Concept

Often though, the lack of a response has nothing to do with the recipient having a negative view of your mail. They could be busy and struggling to stay on top of their email inbox especially if your mail landed at the start or end of the week. Once a week has lapsed with no response, it’s perfectly in order for you to send a follow-up email asking the person if they are still interested in a conversation. Following up is a signal that you are genuinely interested in working for the organisation.

Use cold emails to complement your job search. By applying the above tips, you could unlock a new realm of career possibilities.

Author Bio: Ashley Lipman, Outreach Manager on behalf of AccuWeb Hosting. 

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