Warm Up to Cold Emailing
– By Emma Hartley, Alumni Liaison Specialist
Cold emailing is reaching out to employers, with whom you’ve had no previous contact, to inquire about open jobs or opportunities. With some research and practice, cold emailing can be a fantastic addition to your ongoing job search!
Our Career Advisors will attest that cold emailing is very effective for finding part-time jobs, internships, practicums and volunteer opportunities, as employers often find these roles hard to fill and appreciate it when candidates take the initiative and reach out. You could also try adding cold emailing to your post-graduation full-time job search strategy, along with networking and online applications.
Read on for advice on how to master the cold email in 4 simple steps and a template to get you started.
1. Compile Your List
Start by creating a list of 20-25 companies that you would love to work, intern or volunteer with.
If you’re not sure where to begin finding organizations in your field of interest, try using job boards as inspiration; ask family/friends/instructors for recommendations; review top employer list (e.g. Canada’s Top 100); research relevant event/panel/conference attendees; search professional association member lists; look at relevant awards nominations; read trade magazines and so on.
2. Find Contact Information
Getting your email in front of the right person is key to ensuring you have the best shot of your message being responded to. Avoid emailing generic inboxes (e.g., contact@, info@, etc.) and instead use online research to find direct email addresses of the people you want to connect with. This may be a representative in Human Resources or Talent Acquisition, or it may be a manager of the specific department you are looking to work within.
A little online sleuthing can help you find the right contact information:
- Do you know someone within/connected to the organization who could make an e-introduction? Use LinkedIn to see if you have any shared contacts.
- Use the company website and/or Google search to find direct email addresses or try deducing the format of the company emails e.g. [email protected]
- Mailscoop or Hunter.io can suggest email addresses when these are hard to find, you can confirm it using MailTester (Source: Cultivated Culture).
- Use direct messaging via LinkedIn if you are confident that they are active on the platform. Access LinkedIn Premium’s free 30-day trial for additional features. For more detailed information on leveraging cold messaging on LinkedIn, read Biron Clark’s excellent article.
- Try calling their front desk/reception, explain that you would like to inquire about open opportunities and ask for the email address of the appropriate person.
3. Compose Your Email
“Copy and paste” emails are not going to get you the volume of responses you are looking for. Instead, craft a thoughtful and tailored email that demonstrates your genuine interest in the organization and a passion for your field of interest.
- Create a simple, concise subject line – mention anything that gives you instant credibility (e.g., a shared contact, previous employer, your degree program) to entice the recipient to open it right away.
- Be brief and polite – read your email out loud to make sure it is brief (less than 1 min to read) and the tone is gracious and appreciative. Reading aloud is also a good way to notice errors.
- Why them? – include specific flattery of why you are reaching out e.g., admiration of their purpose, recent innovations, mention specific projects, etc. Show your research. Be genuine.
- Why you? – specifically mention any relevant experience (in or out of school), skills and aptitudes that would make you a great fit for their team.
- Call to Action– include one specific question or request and get to the point quickly e.g., request a meeting or ask about open job opportunities.
- Spelling – check twice before hitting send!
- Attachments – you can, if you wish, send a copy of your resume and/or a link to your LinkedIn profile or portfolio with a cold email. There is no need to include a separate cover letter unless you subsequently apply for an advertised job.
Subject: Yorkville Student – Volunteer Opportunities
Dear Ms. Ladhams,
I am reaching out as a huge admirer of XYZ Charity’s mission to provide housing, employment training and community support to newcomers to Canada. I am currently a 4th year student enrolled in Yorkville University’s Bachelor of Business Administration program, and as an international student myself, I understand the challenges faced by the community you serve.
Through my studies in project management and marketing, I have gained skills in team management, effective communication and problem solving. I am looking for opportunities to put these skills to use by gaining volunteer experience in Vancouver this year. I would like to inquire as to whether you have any open volunteer roles within your marketing or operations teams this summer?
I am attaching my resume for your consideration and would love to schedule a time to meet in person or via video call at your convenience, to discuss how I might be of value to XYZ.
4. Send, Track & Follow-Up
Cold emailing requires some resilience and organization to maximize the benefits. For practicum, internship or volunteer opportunity searching, we recommend sending out at least 20-25 emails. Track your emails and any responses in a simple Excel sheet.
If you don’t hear back within 7-10 days, we recommend sending a polite, follow-up email to ‘nudge’ this request back to the top of their inbox. See our recent blog post for tips and templates.
If you are a current Yorkville student, or have graduated within the past 6 months, and would like to discuss further how cold emailing can play into your current job, internship or practicum search, feel free to book an appointment with one of our Career Advisors.