How to Cold Email for a Job: A Networking Skills Lesson

By: brunchwork

How to Cold Email for a Job: A Networking Skills Lesson

Crafting cold emails that invite positive responses is a critical networking skill.

Why should you learn how to cold email for a job? An estimated 70 to 80% of open jobs are never posted publicly online. Even when a job is listed online, competition is fierce — with thousands of applicants per open role. It’s hard to stand out among thousands of resumes unless you have a connection.

Via cold emails, you can connect with anyone, anywhere and build a relationship. You just need to know how to reach out properly.

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At brunchwork, we’ve sent thousands of cold emails and have gotten responses from top investors and executives. Now, we’re sharing the best practices on how to cold email for a job with proven templates, tools, and advice.

How to Cold Email for a Job: A Sample Template 

It may take some practice to learn how to cold email for a job or anything else. Like any muscle, the more you use it, the stronger you will get. 

To get you started, check out our cold email template for job seeking: 

TEMPLATE: New Job (Initial Outreach)

Hi [Name], 

I found your profile on LinkedIn and was impressed by how you transitioned from [Industry 1] to [Industry 2].

I am currently an analyst at [Company] and I achieved [An accomplishment of yours].

I am planning to transition into a more creative industry like you did. I was wondering if you have 15 minutes sometime over the next few weeks to connect? 

Would love to hear any insights or perspectives you might have! 

Thank you,

[Your name]

How to Cold Email for a Job: A Networking Skills Lesson

To further solidify your cold emailing skillset, follow our five-part strategy:

1. Do your research. 

The ability to identify the people that you need to connect with is one of the greatest, yet often overlooked, networking skills. It’s not about how many people you know – it’s about who you know. 

Identify the people who you need in your community. Once you have a clear idea of the industry and roles that you want to pursue, you should: 

• Regularly follow industry trends and publications. If you are interested in venture capital, for example, look at firm or investor publications like First Round Review or Fred Wilson’s AVC, to name a few.

• Keep a spreadsheet or CRM (customer relationship management system). Compile a list of industry thought leaders, people who you admire or are in positions that you hope to be in one day. Track if you’ve emailed or been in touch before, like a digital rolodex.

• Start small and work your way up. Do not email the CEO or even C-suite of a company first, especially a big company. 

These tips will help you curate your community and reach out to the people who can have the greatest impact on your success.

2. Establish a point of reference. 

It’s not uncommon for someone to receive thousands of emails a day. Why should they open your email, let alone respond? You have a much better chance of receiving a reply if you highlight your unique or personal connection to the recipient. 

How did you come across this individual? What do you have in common? There are a few ways to do this: 

• Get a warm introduction. Do you have a shared LinkedIn connection?
• Common backgrounds. Did you go to the same school? Grow up in the same area?
• Show your knowledge. Have you read their book? Follow their blog or Twitter? Listen to podcasts they’ve recorded? 

By far, the most successful way to connect with someone is to have a warm introduction. It shows the person you want to connect with that someone in their network, ideally someone they know well and trust, is vouching for you. 

The key for how to cold email for a job is to build up a relationship before you are in need of a new position. The more someone trusts you, the more likely they are to recommend you for a job or introduce you to others in their own network. 

3. Be brief and to the point.

Once you establish a point of reference, you have the recipient’s attention. Don’t lose it with a long-winded, five- paragraph email.

State your interest in one or two sentences. You can link to your website, online portfolio, or resume if it’s appropriate. Use our template!

If they are actively hiring for an open position that you are qualified for, then it’s probably okay to attach your resume and/or portfolio. 

4. Be clear about your ask. 

No one should have to guess what you want. State your ask clearly and if there’s a meeting involved, set the time commitment. If you are asking for an informational interview, be mindful of their schedule. A 15 minute chat is much easier than asking someone for 30 minutes to an hour of their time. 

It may seem transactional to reach out to someone asking for something. That is why it’s important to start with small favors. It’s called the Ben Franklin Effect

Asking for a favor could actually make someone like you more, because they’ve invested into the relationship. However, there’s a catch. You have to start with a small favor (like lending someone a book). That’s why we suggest starting with 15 minute informational chat.

You can build up to a bigger favor, like consideration for a role or a warm introduction. Remember that relationships are give and take. Offer value back to your network, so it’s an equal exchange.

5. Demonstrate credibility. 

Although a warm introduction is one of the best forms of credibility, it is not the only way to establish it. 

In many cases, especially if you are reaching out to a brand or high profile business leader, you may not have a shared connection. 

That’s why it is important to have proofs of credibility like: 

• Link to recent press coverage. Have you been featured in reputable publications?

• Highlight social proof. Do you have a large newsletter list? Have you worked with notable clients or companies?

Showing credibility will increase your chances of getting their attention and make them less hesitant to reply to a cold email. 

The Ultimate Guide to Business Networking

Get all the templates and tips you need to build meaningful business relationships and supercharge your business networking. Download now!

Starting a conversation with a stranger can be awkward and intimidating, but it’s one of the most valuable networking skills to grow your career. It is so important to know how to cold email for a job, but cold email in general will be a skill that you’ll find useful throughout your career. 

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