Cold emails are a lot like cold calls – they’re a way of reaching out to someone who you haven’t met before. I know more than a little about using cold email techniques for B2B lead generation, but that’s not the only way that cold email can reap rewards. This week I’ve been thinking about how cold emailing recruiters could win you that dream job. However, not all cold emails are equal… Here are my top 10 tips on how to go about cold emailing for jobs to really get results.
#1 Make the most of your subject line
Before your recipient even sees the content of your email, they will be seeing two major pieces of information pop up in their inbox: your name and the subject line of your email. Since this is a cold email, chances are your name won’t mean much to them (yet!) so your subject line needs to work hard to stop them just sending the message straight to Trash. Rather than go for the ‘I need a job’ approach, try and craft a subject line that is intriguing and implies some benefit for them in opening the message and reading further.
#2 Add the personal touch
Nothing puts potential recruiters off like the dreaded words ‘To whom it may concern’. What they are seeing is ‘I couldn’t be bothered to find out your name’. Of course, this will only be a problem if you’re sending an email to a generic departmental address. If you’ve made that little effort to find out a specific address to email, you should have found out the person’s name at the same time. Use it. Also try to find out your recipient’s job title – this will help you confirm that they are the right person to be targeting from a recruitment perspective.
#3 Establish a rapport
In the very early stages of your message, try and leverage some common ground you have with the recipient. This could be a mutual contact, a shared former workplace, or even a hometown (LinkedIn is great for finding out a little more about this kind of stuff!). Or if there’s nothing like that you can use, think about the industry that they work on. Recent industry events or news could provide a talking point, or maybe you could highlight something they or their company has produced that impressed you.
#4 Be clear, be concise
Don’t go overboard in this first message. Your recipient is likely to be a busy person with a crowded inbox, and emails that are too long may be deleted before they are fully read. You’re not looking to give them your life story in this first email, just convince them that you have something to offer them. Besides, getting a point across clearly and concisely is a demonstrable skill that is useful in lots of workplaces – think of this email as a chance to show a potential employer that it is something you are good at!
#5 Show an interest
Yes, your message needs to be professional in tone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t let your passion shine through. Tell the recipient why you want to work at their company – what excites you about it? Show that you understand the importance of the industry and what their business in particular has to offer its employees. They will appreciate you taking an interest in them rather than just spending the whole message talking about yourself.
#6 Play to your strengths
Now is not the time to air your concerns about your perceived weaknesses or lack of experience. Think about what your strengths are and how they might be a good fit for the company you’re emailing. For example, if you’ve loved taking on a mentor role in the past, or organizing events, tell them that you’re looking to continue that in a new role.
#7 Showcase your experience
If your previous experience is something that can be easily attached to an email, go for it. This is the tangible proof of your skills, and will show potential employers what you are really able to deliver. Evidence of previous work gives added credibility to a cold email for job hunting and makes it worthy of consideration. Provable experience turns a cold email from a random message out of the blue into a demonstration of how you might be able to add value.
#8 Don’t send errors
This is one of the golden rules of how to cold email for a job. Just as the recruiter going through paper resumes might put all those with spelling errors straight in the reject pile, so with cold emails careless mistakes can earn you immediate deletion. Even if your spelling and grammar is not the greatest, you can still run your email through a computer spellcheck before sending. Or get a trusted friend or colleague to give it a quick proofread. It will really help enhance the professional impression you are making with recruiters.
#9 Spring clean your web presence
If your recipient has read your email and wants to find out more before replying, they are going to head straight for LinkedIn or an internet search engine. Be ready. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is professional and up to date, and your website, if you have one, is user-friendly and totally non-buggy. Your recruiter should discover that you are exactly the reputable professional that you said you were in your email!
#10 Plan a next step
Always follow up on a cold email. Just because you don’t get a reply doesn’t mean that you’ve been rejected. Sometimes emails get lost in a busy inbox and people forget to reply. A gentle, polite nudge checking if they’ve been able to read it is fine – just wait a few days before sending it! And if the recipient has replied, try to arrange a follow-up meeting, in person if possible.
I hope these tips have been useful – it’s great to think that my tips might be able to help someone out there use cold email for job hunting!