– Most are impersonal, even the ones that reference one of my articles.
– Most are a template.
– They ask for my time or an introduction.
– The worst ones ask me to do research the candidate could do themselves.
Each and every one of them all have one thing in common …
… They don’t provide me any value – They don’t even try.
When I get one of these non-value cold emails, I send a boiler-plate response with links to this site, to Career Central, to my webinars, and to the many complimentary job search resources I provide to candidates.
But when you send one of these cold emails to employers or to a new contact, you’re not likely to get any response. Remember, you’re emailing to people who likely get hundreds of emails per day, who can’t possibly reply to most of them, and your email doesn’t interest them … because it provides no value to them.
Is it any wonder that most of the people you cold email respond by hitting “delete”?
When you cold email someone, your one and only goal should be interesting them in starting a relationship of some sort – A response and the start of a dialogue. You want your reader to think … this person is worth a response.
Before you send another cold email, blindly asking people you don’t know for help, make your email more effective by:
- Personalize: At the very least, use their name. How can you make some feel that you really would value the start of a relationship or their advice, if your email seems like it’s the same one you sent to 100 others?
- Draw the connection: How did you hear of them? Who recommended you? Who do you know in common? Saying “I found you on Linkedin” just isn’t enough, but saying you read their blog or subscribe to their Tweets could be a starting point.
- Provide value: If you want your email to be noticed, if you want a response, if you want your best shot at starting a relationship with the reader … give first. Provide the reader something that will be valuable to them. I’m not talking about a bribe. Include something that will interest your reader – an industry article or industry information (after all, as a job seeker, you’re constantly researching your industry and key players … so you have information) can work wonders. Plus, if you give something of value first, your reader feels they owe small debt to you. However, if your article or info isn’t something that’s valuable to your reader, then no debt. Moral: Thou shalt research.
- Compliment, but don’t over-do it: Don’t be stingy with compliments, but don’t be a transparent suck-up either. It’s got to be a little deeper (and less creepy than) “I like your picture”. If you want to make it count, do some research first to find out what this person is interested in (Linkedin, Facebook, or Twitter can help).
- Don’t ask them to do something you can do yourself: Asking someone to look through their Linkedin network for contacts at a specific company is something you can likely do yourself (unless they’ve made their Linkedin contacts private). Instead, do the research yourself, and ask for an introduction to a specific person.
- Be specific: You can expect that vague, generic broad requests for help (or advice) will be met with the delete button. If you don’t even know what kind of help you need, then you appear confused, disorganized, like a waste of time to your reader. Why would they want to help someone who makes that kind of first impression? Ask a specific question.
- Don’t jump ahead: Your goal for an initial email shouldn’t immediately be a meeting. The person you are trying to contact is busy, doesn’t have much time to give away for coffee meetings, and they don’t know who you are … yet. Make an intermediate goal – a returned phone call and continued emails. Have a phone conversation to build more relationship before you ask for a meeting.
- Never, ever, ever send your resume: Resist – This goes against everything you ever learned about traditional job search. If you send your resume, 2 things happen. 1) You look like every other desperate job seeker; and 2) Most companies have policies that all resumes go to HR. Worse yet, if you want help or advice, sending a resume makes your request look like a bait and switch – it makes you look like you are asking the other person for a job (they may not be the hiring manager).
Any other suggestions to make your cold emails more effective?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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