As spring rushes around the corner, we are reminded it is that time of year again. Co-op season! As we all rush to prepare our cover-letters and resumes, we wonder how we can set ourselves apart from the rest and secure that coveted summer position. However, opportunity is not only within the job boards, but in finding those opportunities yourself. One way to do this is by cold emailing. Cold emailing is similar to the inveterate cold call, a polite way to ask a company or hiring manager if there are any internships or positions available. A cold email can range from a complete shot-in-the-dark to following up on a potential lead. You can even use this technique to arrange informational interviews for positions you are working to be more qualified for. It is not uncommon for informational interviews to turn into true blue internships. So before you leap to the keyboard, it is important to know the basics of a cold email.
Now, I know what you are thinking: cold emailing, or even cold calling, can be an intimidating experience for anyone. It can be difficult to contact a person you have never met, especially, if they never even reply. However, the benefits of cold emailing can surpass the negatives – if done right. Rejection is never easy, but if you manage to capture the attention of your future employer then it can open the door to getting a meeting in person. I personally, have found success in obtaining interviews by simply reaching out through email and asking questions. In working on a Twitter campaign, I came across many communications professionals who came from interesting backgrounds and would list what firm they worked for and what title they held. After some quick googling to their company website, I sent them and email with my resume and a little blurb about myself and previous experience. A few weeks later, after forgetting about the email completely, I received a request for an interview. The next thing I know I am sitting a beautiful, Yaletown office having an interview with two Communication directors. A surreal experience indeed, it felt very a la Devil wears Prada.
While I am still figuring the terms of the internship, the experience was a huge teaching moment of how to put yourself out there. Ultimately, cold emailing shows that you have the tenacity and drive to get the job you see yourself doing. It allows you to truly think about the specific company you want to work for and the types of positions that suit your abilities. Cold emailing can be even better than a cover letter lounging in an email attachment, as a short blurb an employer everything they need to know about you. Best of all, it is just what communications professionals prefer: short, sweet, and to the point.
So where do you start? First off: Do your research! Make use of Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media spots that veer you off the un-inspiring job site. What are your interests? How have other people with similar interests made it their career? Once you have found a company or organization, ask yourself: What attracted you to them? What do you have to offer them that they immediately should know? Secondly, write a draft. Then write more drafts. You don’t want to go over more than two paragraphs of at the most 5-7 sentences. Also, make sure to tell them who you are, where you come from, your specific reason for emailing them, and what you can bring to their company. Last, personalization is key! I cannot stress this enough. If you know you are a perfect fit for their work culture, then make sure it comes across in your email. You want to make sure that anyone can read it, but refrain from creating generic paragraphs. Avoid coming across in anyway as demanding, arrogant, or overconfident. The key is to start the conversation, not end it before it has begun. Overall, the first rule of cold emailing is to just do it! Worst case scenario: they don’t respond. You re-work your approach. So be confident in your profile and approach every email as a potential YES! Who knows? You could be exactly what the employer has been looking for.
– Sarah Pratt, Student Life Contributor