Writing a Cold Networking Email
By: Komal Patel
Whether it’s over the phone, through zoom, meeting for a drink or actually grabbing coffee, one of the best ways to learn about others’ experiences and build your network is to sit down and have a coffee chat. But how do you reach out to someone you barely know - or don’t know at all - and convince them to give you half an hour of their time?
Do your homework. Find the person on LinkedIn or reach out to a mutual connection and get to know this person’s background. If you’re interested in their work or career, it’s time to draft your email!
Start friendly. You’ve never met this person before, so keep things on the formal side. ‘Dear’ and ‘Hello’ are standard openers, and depending on the person’s age and position, feel free to use their first name if they’re not too much older than you. If they’re over 10 years older or highly placed in an organization, then it might be more appropriate to address them by their last name.
Introduce yourself. What’s your name, program, year and major?
Why did you pick them? How is their work related to your future pathway? Why did you find them interesting? What questions do you have about their career?
This is the most important paragraph, where you have to demonstrate your interest in what they do by asking questions. The ‘homework’ that you did earlier is crucial to this step.
The ask. Don’t ask for a job or a referral straight away - this will make it look like you don't actually care about the person you're emailing, and that you just want a job from them. Ask for a chance to discuss their educational and career progression, and for advice they might have for you at this stage in your life. Make sure you include your availability to make it easier for them to schedule a meeting.
Don’t include everything. Leave your CV, grades, and prior experience unless they ask - right now you’re simply trying to express interest and get a meeting.
Chances are, your first draft will be way too long. Your email should be concise and to the point - can they read it on a phone screen without scrolling? The longer your email, the lower the chance that a professional will actually read through to the end.
Ask for a sanity check. You’ve been staring at your email so long that you might miss grammar mistakes, misspellings, or other small errors that can make you look unprofessional. Get someone else to take a quick look before you send it off!
Once you’ve finished all of these steps, take a break and grab yourself a snack - you’ve just written a great cold email!
Know in advance that you might send out 50 cold emails and receive 2 replies. Professionals are often bombarded with emails, and your carefully crafted letter can easily get missed or forgotten. On that note, follow up after two weeks. This not only reminds them to send you a reply, it shows that you’re interested in them because you bothered to send a follow up email after giving them adequate time to respond.
Check out my next article on what to do when you get a response! And if you want any more advice, feel free to message our page @thementorshipspot or dm me personally @kom.patel on instagram.
Also, take a look at this article from hubspot.com for more ideas!
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