There's a free tool that can help all job hunters give their careers an important boost: email.
While unemployment is currently low, competition is always tougher at top companies and for any role considered a "dream job." Getting into the inbox of the right people can help you create important relationships and stand out among a sea of talented applicants.
Furthermore, some of the most successful leaders and entrepreneurs have proven that the right emails can yield some surprising results.
Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey once cold emailed a dispatch company in New York as a college student in Missouri. He found a bug in the company's web site and also mentioned he wrote software. The CEO wound up talking to Dorsey and eventually offering him a programming job, according to a 2011 article in Vanity Fair.
Emails can also expand networks and get important conversations started. Birchbox CEO Katia Beauchamp had no experience in tech or beauty before launching her startup in 2010. "I cold-emailed every CEO of the beauty industry you can imagine," Beauchamp said in 2017. "And it worked."
Emails that get results have key features, according to Beauchamp. They have compelling subject lines, a simple message and ask for favors that are hard to say "no" to.
Those basics, coupled with these expert-approved templates for some of the most common situations, can ensure you're writing job hunting emails that get opened.
1. When you want to email your dream company
This email's four-point structure is simple and can be adapted for a range of purposes. If you're writing this email, you'll cover the following:
- Prove you have three tangible skills that the company needs.
- Establish three ways you are mission-aligned with the company (possibly by sharing any relevant work or volunteer experience).
- Explain that while researching your field, you came across their company and realized you could do more together.
- Request an opportunity to talk or meet.
Dev Aujla, the CEO of recruiting firm Catalog and the author of 50 Ways to Get a Job, calls this the "magic bullet" email.
Preparing for this email forces you to do some essential thought work that will help you better understand what companies and jobs you should apply for. It can also help shape future answers in interviews.
Most importantly, the research helps you understand what you want and how you will fit into this company. Those steps will set you apart and make results more likely.
I've noticed that [COMPANY OF INTEREST] has been a nominee for Best [NAME OF CATEGORY] for the past five years straight. I'm interested in that level of excellence and finding out more about [DEPARTMENT OR JOB YOU ARE INTERESTED IN].
I have [NUMBER] years of experience working with [RELATED SKILL], [RELATED SKILL] and [RELATED SKILL]. I am hoping to learn about [WHAT TO LEARN] from some of the best in the industry, and in my research, I came across [COMPANY OF INTEREST]. Our goals and interests are so aligned, I think we'd both accomplish more if I took my research and resources to your company.
Here is my LinkedIn profile [INSERT PROFILE LINK].
I'd love for an opportunity to meet and talk further about how we may work together.
2. When you want to tap your network for an introduction
It's smart to tap your network for introductions, but do your legwork first. Be sure you can explain why you're a good fit for a connection. You don't want to make your contact feel foolish for making the effort.
Give your contact context for your request. In the event you're a recent graduate and don't have a lot of work experience to discuss, reference the years you've spent studying your area of interest and the people or internships that stoked that interest.
Also, include your LinkedIn Profile, advises Jessica Miller-Merrell, CIO of Workology, a recruitment and HR resource. It can help update your contact on your most recent experience and make a connection more likely.
Earlier this month, I made the decision to begin looking for a new career opportunity. It's been a great [NUMBER] years working at [COMPANY NAME] as their [JOB TITLE]. I'm looking for a new company to challenge me and grow my skill set in [SKILL NAME], [SKILL NAME] and [SKILL NAME].
I wonder if I can get an introduction by email or phone to [NAME OF PERSON] for [THIS REASON].
Please include my LinkedIn Profile in your introduction [LINKEDIN PROFILE LINK].
Thank you so much for your assistance. Let me know how I can help you.
3. When you need to email someone you don't know
When emailing someone you don't know, research is just as key, says Aujla. Study that potential contact's online presence, career highlights and any recent newsworthy career moves or developments.
Then, craft an email that shows you share some common ground. For instance, you might explain that you're both alumni of the same school or belong to the same professional organization.
Your connection might even be as simple as liking the same article on Twitter or LinkedIn, but make sure make that link clear.
My name is [YOUR NAME], and I noticed your work experience with [NAME OF COMPANY]. I follow you on [SOCIAL MEDIA SITE] and noticed and we're both are interested in [TOPIC]. I find your posts insightful and helpful.
I've been a [JOB TITLE] for the past [NUMBER] years, and I'm looking to get an introduction to [COMPANY NAME] where I want to learn more about [SKILL NAME], [SKILL NAME] and [SKILL NAME].
I wonder if I can get an introduction to [NAME OF PERSON] for [REASON]. Here is my LinkedIn Profile [LINKEDIN PROFILE LINK] for you to include in your introduction. If you would prefer to speak to me before making an introduction, I am at your disposal on [DAYS] next week from [TIME SPAN WITH TIME ZONE]. You can email me at [EMAIL ADDRESS] or by phone at [PHONE NUMBER].
4. When you want to keep the conversation going
This technique was dubbed the "Closing The Loop" email, by Ramit Sethi, the New York Times best-selling author and founder of "I Will Teach You to Be Rich." The technique creates a reason to stay in touch follow up with a person of influence you care about. Your email should let your contact know you are grateful for any advice and are keeping this person "in the loop" about something you'd discussed.
Just wanted to thank you again for speaking with me earlier. I'm definitely going to follow up and reach out to [NAME OF PERSON] like you recommended. I'll keep you in the loop, and of course, please let me know if there's anything I can do to repay the favor.
5. When you want an informational interview
Asking for an informational interview borrows from some of the same techniques as other cold email templates, as this template from "I Will Teach You to Be Rich" shows. While you'll do the basics (stating who you are and what you want while asking for a convenient time to meet) composing this email requires you to know enough about someone's career that you can demonstrate why you respect them and why their advice is important to you, adds Aujla.
My name is [YOUR NAME]. I'm a [YEAR] grad from [NAME OF SCHOOL]. (I know you were a few years before me), and I came across your name on our alumni site.
I'd love to get your career advice for 15-20 minutes. I'm currently working at [COMPANY], but many of my friends work in consulting and each time they tell me how much they love their job, I get more interested.
Most of them have told me that if I'm interested in consulting, I have to talk to someone at [NAME OF COMPANY]. Do you think I could pick your brain on your job and what motivated you to choose [NAME OF COMPANY]? I'd especially love to know how you made your choices after graduating from [NAME OF SCHOOL].
Would it be possible for us to meet? I can work around whatever works for you.
6. When your first email got ignored
If you haven't heard back after one cold email, don't lose hope. Wait two weeks before following up and craft a new email.
In your new email, make a point to mention a topic this person discussed during a meeting you both attended or a news article that might have quoted this person. You might even send an update on a topic you think this person might find interesting. Write the email as if you're continuing an ongoing conversation.
Repeat your request, whether it's for an in-person meeting or news on a job interview. Most people don't follow up on an email that has been ignored once, and doing so you will make yourself stand out from the crowd, says Aujla.
If you haven't heard anything after attempt three, move on.
I was so excited after meeting you at the [EVENT] at [LOCATION] where you spoke about [TOPIC]. I'm making a point to learn more about [TOPIC] as well and have been reading this fascinating book [TITLE] by [AUTHOR]. Would love to fill you in and hear your thoughts over coffee. Would it be possible to meet for 20 minutes? I can work around whatever works for you.
7. When you want to let your friends know you're looking
Select five close friends to email, people who are connectors or work in the industry or type of job you're considering. Let them know you're looking for opportunities, suggests Aujla in his book "50 Ways to Get a Job." The email will enhance your job prospects through leads and introductions. It will also kickstart your job hunt and expand the types of opportunities you might consider for yourself.
I'm looking for my next gig at the intersection of [TYPE OF INDUSTRY] and [TYPE OF INDUSTRY]. I haven't left my job yet, but I'm ready to wrap up my time at [COMPANY] doing [JOB]. Would love to chat with you and fill you in on what I'm thinking about and hear the latest from you.
Here is my LinkedIn profile [INSERT PROFILE LINK].
It would be great to catch up.
8. When you want to say "thank you" after an interview.
Keep the "thank you" email short. And make sure to send it soon — within two hours of the interview, recommends Sethi. Swiftness shows you're responsive, courteous and know how to take action.
Keep in mind that the email should be specific enough to trigger the hiring manager's memory. Make sure to mention something you spoke about — whether it's the company ethos or a common interest, like the fact that you're both competitive triathletes.
Thanks for taking the time to chat today. I especially enjoyed talking about [SPECIFIC TOPIC].
I really think this is a great fit for the both of us. Hope to hear from you very soon.
9. When you want to let a recruiter know you applied
HR recruiters get flooded with emails, so it's important to find common ground to gain their attention, says Miller-Merrell. Research the recruiters' or hiring managers' online presence, so you can mention a post they published on LinkedIn that you enjoyed or a sports team that you both follow.
It also helps to use multiple platforms. Most of us get email fatigue. If you emailed your job application, use LinkedIn to follow up, and make sure your email requests a time and date to schedule a call and talk about the position.
I recently applied for a job opening at [COMPANY NAME] for the position of [POSITION NAME] on your online career site. The position fits perfectly with my experience in [EXPERIENCE], [EXPERIENCE] and [EXPERIENCE]. You can learn more about me by viewing my LinkedIn Profile [LINKEDIN PROFILE LINK].
I recently followed you on [SOCIAL MEDIA SITE] and appreciate the valuable resources you are providing for job seekers and interact with candidates. Also, I'm a fan of [COMMON INTEREST] too.
I'd love to set up a time to schedule a call and talk about the position and my experience. I have some availability on [DAYS] next week from [TIME SPAN WITH TIME ZONE]. You can email me at [EMAIL ADDRESS] or by phone at [PHONE NUMBER]. I look forward to scheduling some time with you.
10. When you need a reference
To get a reference that will help land you the job, Sethi suggests you give the person from whom you're requesting the reference the right ingredients to not only articulate why you're a good fit for the position but also get excited to give you that reference.
Make sure to share why you're interested in the new company. Even if someone knows your work intimately, don't hesitate to give specific talking points.
The hiring manager for [COMPANY] might be calling you to do a reference check. If they do, they'll probably contact you in the next few days wanting to chat about our relationship and my use of [SPECIFIC STRENGTH in YOUR CHOSEN FIELD].
I'm applying for [POSITION] at [COMPANY] because [LIST REASON].
Here's a few achievements from my career (something for you to work off of):
● [ACHIEVEMENT 1]
● [ACHIEVEMENT 2]
● [ACHIEVEMENT 3]
If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know. Thank you.
P.S. I've attached my resume to this email for easy reference and here's a link to the job description [JOB DESCRIPTION LINK].
As you approach your job hunting emails, take careful consideration with your subject lines, according to Danny Rubin, email expert and author of "What, How do I Write This Email?"
Note the position you've applied to or your email's purpose, he suggests. If you're writing a networking email, make sure to mention where you've met someone or any connection you have in common that you're trying to leverage.
While you write, remember to keep things in perspective, suggests Aujla in his book "50 Ways to Get a Job." Not every email will yield a meeting with a dream connection or an eventual job offer.
Before you send an email, "release yourself from expectations" and remind yourself that the insights you've gleaned from your research have already given your job search a powerful boost.
And don't forget to show your excitement. If this process seems tedious or boring, you've likely picked the wrong people or companies to email. If you find that's the case, "find new people you are actually excited to learn about, hear from and talk to," writes Aujla. "The choice is yours."
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