How To Write A Cold Email For A Job (With Examples)

By Abby McCain - Jan. 22, 2021

Find a Job You Really Want In

Getting a job often requires more than a strong resume and application – it requires personal connections. That doesn’t mean that your uncle has to know the CEO for you to get a job offer.

You can simply form your own connections simply by initiating a personal interaction with a hiring manager or potential future supervisor.

One of the ways to do this is by sending a cold email.

What Is Cold Email?

A cold email is the first message you send to someone you’ve had little or no previous interaction with.

A cold email is also the first step in sparking a professional connection, and it usually includes a request to talk about a job you’re applying for or for an informational interview.

Here are some other instances when you should write a cold email:

  • Asking for an introduction

  • Saying thank you after an interview or meeting

  • Letting a recruiter know that you’ve applied for a job

  • Explaining that you’d love to work for their company and asking if there are any openings for someone with your skill set

Why You Should Send a Cold Email Instead of Calling

Calling someone on the phone is typically touted as the method of choice for making a personal connection, but cold emailing can be just as, if not more effective in today’s professional world for multiple reasons:

  1. It respects the recipient’s time. An email doesn’t interrupt anyone’s meetings or workflow like a phone call can.

    Sending an email not only makes your message less of a nuisance, but it also lets the recipient know that you don’t expect an immediate response: They can read and reply at their leisure.

  2. It’s more likely that the recipient will get it. Busy professionals can check their email inboxes on their laptops or phones much more easily than they can pick up a phone call or listen to a voicemail. Plus, the email sitting in their inbox is a more effective reminder to respond to you than a voicemail.

  3. It allows you to ensure you communicated your point thoroughly. Writing an email means you can take your time to craft your message so that it’s effective and appropriate, rather than hoping you remembered to include everything in your voicemail.

    It also allows you to attach your resume and include links to examples of your work, which is always valuable.

  4. It provides a more permanent record. If the recipient ever wants to revisit your message or find your contact information or resume, they can simply search for your email.

    Yes, an email can be deleted, but it has a much higher chance of sticking around than a voicemail does, and it’s easier to find again. This is also especially valuable if they have an opening come up down the road that you would be a good fit for.

  5. You can follow up more politely. It’s not unusual that you’re going to need to follow up on a cold email. People are busy, and even if the recipient had every intention of responding to you, it’s easy to let it slip through the cracks.

    When you’re writing an email, it’s easier to follow up in a respectful way than it is to call someone multiple times. Again, you’re letting them know that you respect their time even with your persistence.

How to Write a Cold Email

  1. Craft a compelling subject line. Be honest. How many times a day do you delete unread emails because of their subject lines? Most people, including you, have overcrowded inboxes as it is, so they have to make snap judgments about what is important for them to open and what isn’t.

    Give your email a better chance of being opened by crafting a concise, practical, and intriguing subject line. Include the name of the position you’re applying for or details about yourself. You can also include your name to make it stand out further.

  2. Figure out who you’re trying to contact. Do whatever you can to avoid sending a generic email to an info@ email address. A personalized email will carry much more weight since the recipient will see that you understand who you’re writing to and aren’t just using the shotgun approach, hoping you’ll get a response.

    Even if you aren’t 100% sure that you’re writing to the right person, make every effort to get as close as possible.

    To do this, you can start by looking at the company directory. Many times you’ll be able to ascertain your ideal recipient only through their job title. If that doesn’t work or you need a little more to go on, look up the company on LinkedIn, and find the appropriate person there.

    If all else fails, call the company and ask.

  3. Choose the appropriate salutation. It’s generally best to stick with “Dear” followed by Mr. or Ms. and the recipient’s last name. If you don’t know their gender, use their full name without Mr. or Ms.

    Avoid “To Whom It May Concern” and “Dear Sir or Madam.” If you must go generic, a simple “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” will do the trick.

  4. Perfect your opening lines. Hook your reader immediately by spending some extra time polishing your introductory sentences. These should succinctly explain who you are and why you’re writing.

    Explain how you decided to write to this particular person as well, whether that was because of a recommendation from a mutual friend or because you’ve read articles they’ve written and you admire their work.

  5. Sell your qualifications or your request. If you’re selling yourself as a candidate for employment, whether you’ve already applied for a position or are simply explaining that you’d love to work for the company, the body of your email should be focused on your qualifications.

    Don’t turn this into a summary of your resume. Instead, share your unique accomplishments and your passion for using those to better the organization. You should be able to communicate all of this in just a few sentences.

    If you’re looking for an informational interview, you won’t need to sell yourself so much, but you should introduce yourself, explain your career goals, and explain your purpose in wanting to meet with the recipient.

    This should go beyond seeking an inside connection at your dream company. Explain what you find interesting about them individually.

  6. Wrap up with a call to action and a note of thanks. Close your email with a clear, simple request and a brief thanks for their time and consideration.

    This will help your reader understand what you’re looking for from them and will end your message on a gracious, positive note.

    If you’re looking to meet with them, make your request and then provide some details about when you’re available and how they should contact you to set the meeting up.

  7. End with a signoff and your name and contact information. Don’t overthink your closing statement. Stick with a simple “Thank you” or the ever-professional “Sincerely.”

    Sign your full name, and then include your phone number, email address, and any other pertinent contact information beneath that.

    Keep it professional by either creating a pre-set signature within your email platform or by using the same fonts that you used in the rest of your email. That means you should leave off the graphics, quotes, and GIFs.

  8. Proofread, proofread, and proofread some more. You shouldn’t ever send a professional email without reading it over again, and this is especially important with a cold email.

    This message is likely the first impression that the recipient will have of you, so make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. If possible, have someone else read it over to make sure you didn’t miss anything and that your message and tone are coming across as intended.

Cold Email Template

Now that you know the parts of a cold email, here is where they’ll go in the email itself:

Subject: [Insert Catchy Subject]

Dear Ms./Mr. [Person’s last name],

Here is where you’ll introduce yourself and your reason for writing. You should also mention how you know to contact the person or found out about the job opportunity.

If you’re writing about a job opening, use this section to mention a few of your top credentials and why you’d think they’d benefit the company. Link to your portfolio, if applicable. If you’re writing to connect with the person in something like an informational meeting, talk about a few things you’d like to talk with them specifically about and why.

In this paragraph, you’ll provide a detailed call to action. If you want to meet, describe how and give a few dates that you’re available and information on how to contact you. If you want to send them some questions, ask if they would be okay with that. Mention that you’re willing to do whatever works best for them.

Wrap up with a thank you on a separate line like this one.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

[Your contact information]

Tips for Writing Cold Emails

  1. Find a way to connect with the recipient. Remember, the purpose of this email is to form a personal connection. Let your personality show through a little bit and relate with the recipient as a fellow human instead of treating them like a means to an end.

    If you don’t already have a mutual acquaintance or similar career goals, find something you have in common without being too creepy. Look at their company bio or do a quick Google search on the person to see if they have any publications or awards of note.

    For example, suppose you’re writing to ask for an informational interview. In that case, you could say something like, “I noticed in your company bio that you’ve earned some recognition for strengths-based leadership training. I’ve just started learning about this leadership theory, and I find it fascinating, so I’d love to hear your perspective on this.”

    Again, make sure you’re not digging too deep for this information – make it appropriately professional.

  2. Keep it brief. There is no need to drone on about every one of your qualifications or to include every question you want to ask in your meeting. Save that for an interview or if they specifically ask you for that information.

    A good rule of thumb is to keep your email short enough that you don’t have to scroll to view it all on a normal computer screen.

  3. Include one call to action. Don’t overwhelm the recipient with a list of questions and requests. Instead, ask to set up a time to discuss it further or ask if they’d be willing to answer a few questions for you over email.

  4. Don’t use your work email address. If your purpose in writing a cold email is to land a position at the company, don’t send it from your current work email. This is a red flag for future employers, as they’ll see you as an employee who uses company time and resources to conduct personal business.

    You can include your title and company name in your signature if that seems appropriate but do so from your personal email.

  5. Follow up. If you haven’t heard back a few days to a week after you sent your cold email, don’t be afraid to send another message to follow up. Just make sure you do so politely, and consider the amount of time that’s passed since you initially contacted them.

    For example, if you sent your email two days before a holiday weekend, it’s a good idea to let at least a week go by before you follow up. This way, you allow them to catch up on work or avoid bugging them while they’re on vacation.

Example of Cold Emails

Request for an Informational Interview

Subject: Informational Interview Request From Journalism Student

Dear Ms. Graham,

My name is Annie White, and in just a few months, I will be graduating from Western State University with a degree in journalism. I’ve enjoyed reading your features in The Daily Post, both because they’re well written and because I also want to be a feature writer.

I’d love to hear any advice you have for me as I begin my career. Would you be willing to meet with me over coffee or the phone for 30-45 minutes to discuss this? I’d also love your input on how I can go about getting an internship or job at The Daily Post once I graduate.

If you are willing and available to meet, please let me know when would be best for you. I’m available most mornings, as well as Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

I look forward to speaking with you.

Thank you,

Annie White

333-222-1111
anniew@email.com

Applying for a Job

Subject: Amelia Smith – Middle School Vice Principal Application

Dear Mr. Rodriguez,

My name is Amelia Smith, and I recently applied for the middle school vice principal position at Lakeview Schools. I believe my 12 years of teaching experience in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades at Ridgeview Schools and the three years I’ve spent as department director have prepared me well for this role.

I saw the recent News-Press article about the school board’s new focus on discovering and catering to students’ unique learning styles. As this is something I’m also very passionate about and have worked to incorporate into my classrooms in the past, I got excited about the possibility of getting to use my experience and skills to further this initiative.

I’d love to talk with you some more about this role and my qualifications. If you’d be willing to meet with me, please feel free to give me a call at 222-333-4444 or email me at ameliasmith@email.com to set up a time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to speaking with you.

Sincerely,

Amelia Smith

Followup Email

Subject: RE: IT Director Applicant Ryan Anderson

Dear Ms. Williams,

I wanted to follow up with you about the IT director position to see if you had a chance to review my application.

I know it’s a busy time of year for you, but I wanted to touch base because I’m in the final interview stages at another company. My first choice would be to work at Wilson Technologies, though, so I’d love to talk with you about the position if you’re available.

Please let me know what would be best for you.

Thank you so much,

Ryan Anderson

ryananderson@email.com
999-333-4444

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Author

Abby McCain

Abby is a writer who is passionate about the power of story. Whether it’s communicating complicated topics in a clear way or helping readers connect with another person or place from the comfort of their couch. Abby attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she earned a degree in writing with concentrations in journalism and business.

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