How to Cold Email for a Job

With today’s technology, finding a job should be easier than ever, right? In theory, maybe—but in reality, unfortunately, not so much. Sure, job posting sites make it super convenient to browse openings at companies and narrow down search results according to personal preference (industry, location, seniority level, salary, etc.), but that doesn’t mean that job offers are quite as abundant. In fact, with so many applications pouring in on a daily basis, companies usually don’t even have time to respond to all of their applicants, let alone set up interviews and meet them in-person.

And yet, technology can still be your friend during the job-hunting process—that is, if you know how to use it. If it feels like you’ve been looking for a job forever, it probably seems as though you’ve considered every option out there that could possibly better your chances, from submitting your resume to an online review site to maybe even lowering your standards. Are you looking for a new way to approach the job hunt? Cold emailing just might the tool you didn’t know you needed.

What Is a Cold Email?

You’ve probably heard of cold calling, and sending a cold email utilizes the same concept: A cold email is an email that you send to someone whom you don’t know personally. Not to be confused with spam, a cold email is an outreach method employed by professionals to achieve all sorts of goals—expanding a client-base, finding new collaborators or investors, and plain, old networking are all popular uses of the cold email. Another use, of course, is to find a job.

Finding Jobs Through Cold Emails

Unless you find a job posting that specifically says to email someone with your resume and cover letter, you shouldn’t outright ask for a job in your initial cold email. Why? Because you don’t want to put that much pressure on your recipient at such an early stage—it will make them less likely to respond.

For this reason, it’s important to dial back your request to something that’s more immediately achievable, like asking if they’d be able to meet for coffee or have time for a quick phone call to talk about their company or personal professional experience.

This part is a lot easier if you can establish some sort of mutual connection with the person that you can mention in the email. For example, maybe they’re a graduate of your alma mater or you got their name from a professor, family member, or colleague. (Hint: LinkedIn is a great way to obtain this info.)

Can’t find any personal connection? Make your own! Tell them where you found their name, why you want to talk to them (that’s not getting hired), and how you can relate to their professional achievements.

So, get drafting, and jumpstart your job search with a bold strategy that’s been proven to work. Good luck—and don’t be afraid to follow up!