Why You Should Cold-Email


Aristotle is famously quoted as saying:
‘the more you know, the more you know you don’t know’.

Studying a university degree called ‘Global Challenges’, has taught me that it is most certainly impossible to solve any large problem by yourself. Interdisciplinary action and a collaborative approach is key to coping with complex problems such as our rapidly changing climate.

On a much smaller scale however, I’ve noticed that reaching out to people for help on a personal level is just as important.

Whether it is finding internships or getting business advice, cold-emailing is a skill I’m looking to master.

I’ve successfully used this method in the past to source mentors and conduct interviews, but let’s face it with what to many seem like ever-filling inboxes, the struggle is real.

How can a cold-email standout?

Here is what I’ve learnt so far:

1) Google is your best friend
Before emailing the person, do a quick google search. Try and find out as much information about them as possible and make your email more personal. Also, they probably won’t appreciate you asking questions that are already available online. By doing a little background research you’re showing a genuine interest in seeking this person’s expertise.

2) Get the Subject Right
From personal experience, I usually scan my inbox when I have a lot of emails and first open those that catch my interest before moving on to the rest. Make sure you’re cold-email doesn’t go unread. Having an intriguing subject to your email can make all the difference.

3) Make it personal
If you’ve heard the person you’re emailing speak or have ready their book – mention it. Creating any sort of personal element to the email increases the likelihood of someone responding.

4) Avoid links where possible
Links can provide useful information but are sometimes necessary to avoid a lengthy e-mail. Exclude links where possible to avoid the ‘deposit money in my Nigerian bank account’ scenario. The fact is this person doesn’t know you and is sensible if they err on the side of caution.

5) Follow-up
I recently wrote an e-mail to an individual I truly admire. I wasn’t able to get to them directly but after a few follow-up attempts I ended up getting a response from the individual’s secretary. I realised that the opportunity probably wasn’t right for me at this point in my career but was grateful for a response.

6) Express Gratitude
Pretty simple really. Well done on plucking up the courage to cold-email someone. It is likely that this person is extremely busy and someone you admire/respect in some way.  Make sure you let them know that you appreciate their help.

Have you tried cold-emailing before? What’s worked for you?

Let me know in the comments below.

Image credit:http://mybarnyardview.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/youve-got-mail.html

Until next time,

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