London Investor

Investment Banking
Jan 8, 2016
Reaching out by email to someone you do not know to ask for a job opportunity (say, at your dream company) might appear to be terrifying. Many people I know also think that cold email is too aggressive, and even worse, spammy.

Well, it doesn't have to be that way.

In fact, a strong, well-crafted cold email can be very helpful. It's arguably the most effective, perhaps the cheapest way to meet extraordinary people, receive advice, get jobs, and build your network.

But does cold email always work?

No, there're people who just aren't going to take time to meet with a stranger. They don't owe you anything at all. And it's OK. Don't let it affect your self-esteem.

Yes, but there's a fine line between appropriate outreach and inappropriate spam email. You want to stay on the right side of that line.

So how can you write the most effect cold email that will potentially land you a job? Check out these 4 tips!

1. Don't throw spaghetti at the wall

It won't stick.

There's no shortcut. Mass emailing is a bad idea.

You need to do your research.

You want to think about the right person to reach out. Write down a list of people in the desired profession, or working at your dream company. Make sure you know their background.

If you see something in common, highlight that connection. Are they an alum of your school? Did they study the same major? Did they have a similar job transition? Customize your email. Leverage what you know about their background to personally connect.

2. Keep your email short and sweet

Please restrain from writing out your entire life story to a stranger who owes you absolutely nothing.

First, you should not spend time sending long, dragging (sometimes even sad!) emails to your contacts. Second, they won't have time to read them.

Be genuine and passionate, but don't explain yourself too much. Depends on professions and situations, you will need to adjust your content and edit your words accordingly. Use clean, concise and gracious sentences. Try to limit your email to a few short paragraphs.

Use your cold email wisely, especially for jobs that you think you’re truly qualified for. Think about what you can bring to the table. Offer feedback on a product or knowledge in a certain area. Remember, people are more likely to help you out if there's something in it for them.

Bonus point, make sure your email is flawless. Carefully proofread, because once it's sent, it won't come back.

3. Show your best work

If possible, try to squeeze in some of your best work. It shows that you're serious about pursuing your career of choice.

Send a link to your website, social media and blogs as long as they're professional. Or better, include these in your email signature.

Whichever way you choose to show your work, don't make it sound like you're entitled to their time or help in any way. There's nothing worse than someone coming across as demanding and arrogant.

4. Follow up, but don't get bitter if you don't get a response

People are busy, especially during the recruiting season. We all can be forgetful. Don't fuss! It's nothing personal.

Be patient and persistent. If you don't get a reply right away, wait at least 7 working days before sending a polite follow-up email. Ask if your contact saw the first email and reiterate your interest.

You might think your resume makes you a great fit for the job and your email is on point. But bear in mind that you're reaching out to a total stranger. You don't get a great result 100% of the time when it comes to cold emailing. And that's very common.

If you don't get a response, email someone new within the company. Try a different department. However, after 2-3 attempts and you still get a no reply, it's time to move on.

Your career is in your own hands. Don't stop trying just because cold emailing doesn't work for the one company you've always been dreaming of. Stay optimistic. Your work shall be paid off in time.
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Daniel Plainview

Investment Banking
Jan 16, 2016
Great post. Cold-emailing is not nearly used enough as a tool to land that dream job. The very fact that you are sending a cold e-mail in the first place is proof of your commitment, and that you are willing to step outside your comfort zone. As a former salesperson, cold emailing gave me some of my biggest and best clients, so I am very much a signed-up proponent of this method.

Definitely agree with point #1, tailoring and customising the email is crucial. It provides clear evidence that you have researched the role, the bank and/or the professionals involved, and demonstrates that you genuinely want the job.

I'd also suggest for point #4, that if the role/company is the one you really want, and you have not heard from them after 2-3 attempts, by all means move on to another role, but don't completely stop trying to get that first 'dream' role. Perhaps wait for a month this time, and then send another email, but this time send a different kind of email. Briefly refer to the fact that you contacted them previously, but then talk about something else that will get their attention.

For example, if the role is on a commodities desk, perhaps briefly comment on a recent market-moving event and how you think it will affect prices, or what your thoughts are on an interesting / contrarian view of the oil market which you recently read about (from a reputable news source). If it is a specific bank that you want to work for, send a quick note about some recent positive news with which the bank was associated. Again, be brief and to the point. At this stage of the process, you have very little to lose, so it's worth demonstrating your depth of interest as a last roll of the dice.
Feb 15, 2016
I 100,000x second the thing about not letting it affect your self-esteem. Cold emailing is basically begging. Hang in there guys, it doesn't get any easier.