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  • Writer's pictureJanice K. Lee

Why You Should Cold Email: Your Guide to Cold Emailing (With Real Examples)

Updated: Aug 15, 2020

It landed my dream internship. Among many, many other things.

If you've ever wondered what cold emailing is or hesitated to do so, let me be the person to tell you to warm it up a bit- because cold communication has many hidden powers. Hey, it provided me with my dream internship so you should give it a shot!

What is cold emailing?

Cold emailing is when you send an email to someone you're not connected with. You might know of them, but chances are they probably don't know who you are. Assuming you're a student, you will find yourself sending (or wanting to at least) a cold email most likely when you:

  • are looking for an internship and want to reach out to a specific person (or company department) for more information or internship request

  • want to connect with a particular person (professor, fellow student, role model, etc.) and introduce yourself to get connected

  • are part of a club or organization and need to reach out to someone else or another organization

In this article, I specifically want to talk about cold emailing when it comes to internship/program opportunities (assuming that's why you clicked on the title). Let me start off by giving my examples of when it worked.

Example #1: Internship Proposal

The first (major) time cold emailing was when I wanted to apply as a Marketing Intern for a Venture Funded Coffee Startup in California.

  • They were my dream company- women-owned, venture-funded, sustainable, social-media-savvy- I didn't want anything else than to fly over and join their team for the summer! I stalled for the first couple of months though.

  • To be honest, I was so scared of sending a random email basically begging for an internship, and then possibly getting rejected. I wanted it to be so perfect so that they wouldn't have a choice but to accept me.

  • After some time of procrastination and seeing that summer was approaching, I sucked it up and wrote something like this:

the exact screenshot of my cold email

A couple of things:

  • I spent hours researching who I would send the email to. The founder? Customer Service? The contact inbox on their website? Since it was a startup and not a traditionally established business, I initially contacted their customer service briefly introducing myself, asking for an email address I can forward my email to. They got back to me in a couple of hours saying they forwarded it to their team. (So if you're ever in doubt and can't find the email address you want, just ask customer service to redirect you)

  • I included two things in the email: my resume and my cover letter. The cover letter is probably the more important piece I included in the application- click here to read my article on how to write a killer Cover Letter!

In the email, I was sure to include:

  • Basic personal information: name, year, university

  • Why I'm reaching out: "interested in internship opportunities", "would love to help"

  • Additional materials: offering additional docs so they can learn more about my intentions and what I want

  • Brief Summary of how I can help: my strengths and interests

And after scheduling a phone call, they got back to me in a couple of days saying they'd love to have me on board! That was hands down one of the happiest moments of my life.

Example #2: Consulting Project Proposal

This next email was one I sent for a consulting project proposal. Consulting is different from an internship since you are taking a bit more of the lead and directing your own projects while working with the company.

I sent this cold email to a local business that I wanted to work with. I've never talked to them outside of the store but I've been a customer for years so I introduced myself appropriately:

note: some confidential information has been blurred

As you can tell, this email format was different from the first one. Since I was offering a consulting position, I had to explain upfront how I wanted to help the business specifically, how I would do it, and my qualifications.

Breakdown of what I included:

  • Self Introduction: Name, major, university, well wishes

  • My connection to them: "I've been a loyal customer for a while and love your business" gives a stronger, more human reason than just "I need a job"

  • How I would help them: listing my responsibilities and how I would help their marketing strategies to grow their business, it helps to be specific to paint an image in their minds

  • Qualifications: so they know you're not going to leave things in a worse place than they started. If you're new and don't have concrete examples to show, you can list clubs you're a part of, years of experience in x platforms (like social media), courses you've taken at school, etc.

  • What you expect in return: Communicate your expectations early on. If you're not sure, offer to talk about that in a meeting so they can give you their maximums (can be money, referrals, etc.).

  • Additional Materials: On top of my resume, I also included some digital marketing examples to show my work and quality (since it's a marketing consulting position).

They got back to me a week later and I started working with them not long after!

Key Points and Tips:

  • Make your cold emails personal! Since getting an email from a stranger is their first line of contact with you, don't sound like a robot and warm up the introduction with some human elements.

  • Read your email from the other person's POV. If you're debating including a specific sentence or information, reading it from their perspective might help visualize the necessary and unnecessary details.

  • SCHEDULE SEND your cold emails. Two reasons for this: it's more professional to send it at certain times (if you're writing it late at midnight, schedule it for 8 am the next morning), and if you're sending it a later hour it helps you catch any mistakes or revisions you might want to make. You can change and even cancel your scheduled emails. Also, it puts off some of the anxious energy you feel from hitting "send" right away.

And that's it! Cold emailing made digestible and less intimidating. Trust me, the key to getting over cold email hesitation is to just do it. I promise it gets easier by the message.

If you tried any of my methods or learned something new, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a message! I'm always open to conversations and meeting new people. Happy emailing!


About the Author

Janice Lee is a Sophomore studying Marketing, Accounting, and Entrepreneurship at Rutgers Business School. When she's not looking at business plans, she's most likely on her Oculus Go, experimenting to brew the best iced coffee, or writing about it.

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