Not long ago, one of the deciding factors of landing a new job was first impressions of your appearance at the interview and a solid handshake. The handshake in itself can tell you a lot about a person. In today’s society, sending a cold email is the digital equivalent of a memorable handshake.

Despite what some say about sending cold emails, it’s actually an effective way of landing the job you want. When structured correctly and written in a confident tone, you land your email at the top of the stack.

Let’s get into how to write a cold email and jumpstart your career.

Do Your Research on The Company and Person Your Emailing

cold email employersJust as you would prior to a traditional interview, research the company you’re applying to and the specific person you’re going to be meeting with. LinkedIn is a great resource for finding this information.

LinkedIn allows you to see employees of a given company, which makes this a little easier. Generally, you can find management and HR representatives and create connections with them prior to ever sending the cold email.

If the prospective hiring manager or HR person accepts your connection request, they have now seen your name and will likely glance over your LinkedIn profile. Due to that possibility, you need to optimize your LinkedIn profile to ensure it’s up to date.

Use the information you find to your advantage when crafting your email.

Grab Their Attention With a Targeted Subject Line

This is similar to the ‘15 second above the fold’ rule we discussed in a previous blog article. Your subject line must grab their attention within the first 15 seconds of them reading it. Be specific and targeted.

Your cold email subject line should entice the prospective employer to want to open the email.

write a cold email that is enticing

Keep the subject line text short – eight to ten words max. Avoid being spammy. If you don’t know what we mean, then take a look at emails in the spam folder of your email. “Urgent! Please read!” is a common one. Don’t be that person.

If you’ve met the person previously at an industry conference or career fair,  include that in the subject line. Something like “Scott Witner from the conference dinner.” If you’re a student seeking an internship, you could word it something like “Ohio State senior interested in graphic design internship.”

If you’ve got no relationship at all with the hiring manager you’re emailing, then the safe bet would be something like “Letter of interest for the graphic designer opening.”

Basically, it boils down to getting to the point of the email while still sounding like a human. Check out these subject lines from Ramit Sethi that I’ve gotten in my email. Although they are not career specific subject lines, they still give you great examples of an engaging subject line.

cold email subject line

Open With Your Elevator Pitch

I’ve talked to successful business owners about email communication, and the one common issue they’ve all mentioned is the length of an email. They will not take the time to read a long email; it either sits in their inbox for months, or gets lost in the void. If you want to ask a question, then ask the question, stop being passive aggressive. Keep it short and to the point.

Once the recipient of your cold email has decided to open your email, you need to put your value to them on the table out of the gate. In other words, captivate them with your entrance.

cold email subject line

Give specific reasons as to why you would be the best person for the role. Put yourself in their shoes as you’re developing your elevator pitch. Why should they choose you? What makes you stand out from the other candidates?

Sell Your Strengths in The Body Of The Email

After you’ve opened with your elevator pitch, you can now discuss your strengths that will prove beneficial to the job if you were to get hired.

Be sure to tailor your strengths for the specific position you’re applying for. Different positions require different strengths and skillsets, so craft your email accordingly. If you have a link to recent work or a portfolio that is relevant, then provide a link to that.

As a rule of thumb, the body of your email should be no longer than a few paragraphs, and those paragraphs should be relatively short. Provide just enough detail to get them interested in wanting to learn more about you.

cold email follow up

Nail Your Email Signature

Finally, add your contact information to the signature of the email. The email signature is a crucial part of your message that cannot be ignored. It should tell the prospective employer who you are and how you can be reached.

A properly structured email signature may allow you to shorten the text in the body of the email, making your message easier and quicker to digest.

Your signature, at a minimum, should contain the following.

  • Name
  • Website (if applicable)
  • Social Media profiles
  • Phone Numbers

email signature example

The lack of contact information will definitely lower your chances of getting a response. The purpose of the signature is to show that the email came from a real person.

Always Follow Up

Even though you’ve taken the time to craft the perfect cold email to a prospective employer, you may not hear back right away. Expect that they are getting many other cold emails from others looking for that same position. On top of that, hiring managers also have other job responsibilities.

To further separate yourself from the pack, wait about a week and reply back to the original email you sent. By replying to the original email, you’re ensuring that they have easy access to your information and don’t have to waste time digging through their inbox to find the original email.

Do not repeat information you’ve already included in the original email. Keep it to one or two sentences to let them know that you’ve responded to the open position in a previous email and would love the opportunity to talk further.

cold email follow up


Try to stay away from using templates for emails to a prospective employer. The whole idea behind writing a cold email is personalizing it to the hiring manager. I hope these tips help you write a successful cold email and get you that dream job you’ve been wanting. Good luck!

By Published On: March 24, 2021Categories: Career Development5.7 min read1077 wordsViews: 819