If you hate your job, or you just want to do something new, you can change that. And you can do it with cold email. In this article, we’re going to dive into a cold email template that you can use to apply for your next dream job.
We’ll, first dig into the template, then explore five steps you can take to use the template effectively before wrapping up with three final tips that you can use to boost your chances of success. I know this works because I’ve been on both sides of the equation. Hiring people that cold emailed me and cold emailing to land a dream job.
The e-mail template
Before we jump into the five steps you can take to land your dream job via cold email, we should first go over the cold email template we’ll be using today. We’ve been using the same template in our recent emails. So in case you want more examples of other applications of how to use this template, make sure you check those articles out.
Digging in, you’re going to use a subject line like, Quick question for you. I promise you if you use the subject line, it will work regardless of the space you’re in. I’ve tried it in a ton of different places and it’s worked every single time and getting some really high open rates. From here, you’re going to want to dig into the body text of your email, start by greeting the other person with a Hey or a hi, and then referring to their first name or last name if you’re in a more formal industry and then personalize a first line that will make it really clear to them that you have done your research on them.
Next, you’re going to want to introduce yourself and then state the reason for you reaching out and then follow that with a clear singular call-to-action. Finally, you’re going to want to sign off with your name. It’s really as simple as this, when it comes to the template that we’re going to be using.
So now that we understand the template, let’s jump into the five step process that you can take to use this template to land your dream job.
Step #1: Identify your opportunities.
The first step you’re going to take when you’re using this template to land your dream job is to identify your opportunities. You’re going to want to get a sense of what you’re good at or what you’re looking for in your next role.
I am by no means a career coach. So I can’t answer this question for you, but what can be helpful for you to start thinking about this is thinking about the three or four different things that you think you are good at, or that others tell you that you’re good at. From here, you’ll be able to identify your strengths and then identify different job opportunities that align to those particular strengths of yours.
My general opinion is that it’s more important for you to double down on your strengths than it is to focus on improving on your weaknesses. The reason why is because you are ready, you likely have a few things that you’re really good at. And so if you were to just invest more time in these areas, you could be a really effective contributor or impact person when it comes to joining an organization.
As you work your way through a ton of different job listings, you’re going to want to identify five or six keywords to look out for, for roles that align to your strengths. When it comes to finding opportunities, you might find a few good starting places to be Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Google Jobs, or Indeed. In the case where you’re looking specifically for roles at startups, you might find it helpful to check out AngelList or YCs job board.
The important thing for you to remember though, is that you need to be casting a wide net. It’s only by having a wide net that we will then be able to see the impact of our cold email.
Step #2: Find your side gate
The second step to finding your dream job with cold email is to find your side gate. It is never advantageous for you to just submit your application and hope that they will invite you to interview.
Instead, what you want to do is you want to figure out who are the one or two stakeholders at the organization that you are applying to that are responsible for hiring and recruiting for this position. For larger organizations, this is typically going to be a recruiting manager or somebody on the hiring team whereas for smaller organizations like startups, you’re typically going to be looking for executives that are responsible for recruiting new individuals to join the team.
In the case where you’re able to get directly in touch with the decision-maker you’re in a really good spot. And in the case where you can’t get a direct connection, it can be helpful to check out their LinkedIn profile, just to see if they are potentially a second or third degree connection in which you could get warm introduced to them by somebody that you already know in your network.
For each position you’re interested in, try to identify two or three people that you think would be helpful in getting you closer to the end state, which is an interview for this dream job.
Step #3: Connect with your shortlist.
The third step when it comes to using cold email to find your dream job is to connect with your shortlist. Now that you have a shortlist of people that you think are related to the hiring of this particular position, you want to actually reach out to them. This is where you’re going to want to use the cold email template that we went over in the beginning of this video. I prefer email because it gets more content in than the standard LinkedIn invite message.
Smaller organizations typically have a pretty predictable email structure. It’s typically some combination of the first name of the person and their last name or just their first name and then the company’s domain.
So for example, it could be alexsmith@companydotcom or it could just be alex@companydotcom. Whatever the case may be, the easiest way to figure out if you’ve got the right email is to take a guess and then put it into email-checker.net to see whether or not the email is valid. In the case where the email comes back valid, you have a really good shot at getting to the right person when you send off your cold email.
In the case where you want to try using some pay tools to find these emails, you might find it helpful to check out websites like hunter.io, rocket reach, or any mail finder. These are sites that will essentially give you different combinations of the domain that you’re looking for and the email structure that these companies use. When you reach out, I want you to focus on delivering value to the other person, give them a reason to engage with your email.
Let’s go over an example. So in this example, I’ve written out the subject line of, Three Ideas for You. My body says, “Hey, Jim, really enjoyed your candid post on LinkedIn about the setbacks XYZ faced this year. Sorry to hear you had to experience that much churn. I’m Will, and I stumbled on the VP of Marketing role at XYZ. I’ve spent the last few years growing a go-to-market team from just myself to over 20 people generating $X in ARR. I have three ideas for how we could do the same for XYZ. Mind if I send them over? -Will”
What I want you to remember is that the goal for us to deliver in our cold email is that it’s super clear as to the reason why we’re reaching out and why they should engage with us. From analyzing this email, we can identify three key things. The first thing is that we’ve clearly done our research on them.
The second thing is that if there’s a really clear reason as to why we want to connect with them. And then the last thing to notice is that we have focused on giving value and expecting nothing in return. I want you to notice how I didn’t even reference applying for the job. Instead, I implied it in my email by referencing how I had seen the role.
This implicit mention to the role is going to make it clear enough to Jim as to why I’m reaching out to him. I also want you to notice how simple I make my call-to-action. I make it so that Jim just has to reply back as to whether or not he’s interested in these ideas that I have for him.
This is a win-win situation. And the reason why is because instead of having to come up with the ideas before sending my email to Jim, I only have to come up with them if he actually engages with me and my cold email. I think it’s worth mentioning though, that I’ve actually tried the approach of giving all the value upfront as opposed to waiting for the engagement from the other side.
My overall impression is that both approaches work in terms of, if you decide to give your ideas upfront or after they engage with you. That said, I think this is a more efficient way for you to use your time as you are sending your cold emails.
Step #4: Track and follow up.
The fourth step you’re going to need to take is you’re going to want to track everybody and follow up. Sometimes people honestly just get busy and they miss your email the first time. So it’s helpful for you to follow up once or twice to every single cold email that you sent. This can be as simple as sharing a helpful resource or article that you think is relevant to the person that you are emailing.
The important thing is for you to focus on always giving more and more value. For example. If you told them that you had three ideas for them, but you didn’t provide it in the first email because you’re waiting for them to engage with you, you might just go ahead and send those ideas without expecting anything in return, just to help them out.
Or you might send an email follow up something along the lines of this, “Hey, Jim, came across this article on flipping the script around employee retention and it made me think of your LinkedIn post. So here, you can see that I’m referencing back to something I wrote in my original email. This way Jim has a second reason to read my original email when he gets to my second email. As you send more and more of these cold emails, you’re going to want to create some form of a tracking system.
You could do this in either a Google Sheet or in a Notion board. The important thing here is that you simply outline who was the person you contacted, what was their email, what was the role and the company that you’re reaching out to, and what was the last day that you reached out to them. You also find it helpful to just keep tabs as to whether or not the position is still available.
If you want to take things a step further, you might also want to try out installing an extension like mailtrack.io. That’s a free extension that will tell you whether or not your email was opened by the recipient on the other end. My general rule of thumb for things like these is to follow up once or twice.
If the person doesn’t respond to you, try not to stress out too much and just move on. Something that’s really important for you to remember is that if they didn’t respond to you the first time, they’ve already made the choice and not respond to you once. So keep that in mind, as you persist in your follow ups. Typically, you’ll find the best response rates on either your first or your second email. In fact, I want to hear from you.
Step #5: Leave a great impression.
The fifth and final step, when it comes to using cold email to land, your dream job is to leave a great impression. Hopefully by now, you have gotten engagement from the other end, and you’re either getting a call with them or you’re getting the opportunity to follow up in an email with those ideas that you referenced in your cold email. This is the time to learn about the company, learn about the person that you’re connecting with and what they care about, as well as what they’re looking for out of the person they’re hoping to hire for this position. It’s really important that you perk up your ears here and that you think about what they’re telling you and how that might relate back to those strengths that we talked about in the very beginning.
By identifying how your strengths align to what they’re looking for, you can show how you can add value to their organization. In the case where you’re still in the email phase, and you’re not yet at a call, you’re going to want to be succinct and focused in your email responses. It’s really important that you don’t waste the other person’s time and that you show them the good when it comes to those ideas that you referenced in your original cold email.
Let’s go ahead and build on our example and see how I might write about three ideas for company XYZ. First repurpose all of your blog content into actionable downloads for your users. This will boost your inbound opportunities and better qualify your traffic. Second add click to share buttons on each of your blog posts. When I’ve done this in the past, it’s helped generate hundreds of backlinks and boosts domain authority by 15 and third, create supplemental video content for blog posts on YouTube to double down on SEO efforts. YouTube videos consistently take up one to two spots in Google searches.
What I want you to notice is that two of the three ideas are low-hanging fruit. In other words, he can quickly apply these ideas and start to see results. What I also want you to notice is that all three of these ideas show some tactical abilities of what a VP of Marketing candidate might have to exhibit in order to land this job. You see when you’re cold emailing, it’s all about building trust with the other end.
So once we prove to the other person that we know what we’re talking about, they’re going to be more inclined to connect with us in a call or in an interview of some form. Typically when I’ve shared these ideas, I’ve gotten unprompted responses to send over my CV or to schedule a time to talk some more. Now that we know the five steps, let’s go over three tips that you can keep in mind as you start to use this strategy.
3 Tips to Remember
- The first tip I have for you is to do this at least 30 times. By doing so you’ll make sure that your sample size is statistically significant and that you are actually trying hard enough to get a response. If you truly personalize 30 cold emails to key stakeholders, I think it’d be really difficult for you to not get a single response. Ultimately apply for a new job is always to some extent a numbers game. So what you’re doing by personalizing your emails is increasing your odds of success.
- The second thing to remember is to keep your ask as small as possible. Just focus on jumping onto a call and then progress the process gradually as you build more trust for the other side.
- My third tip is to keep doors open even if the timing isn’t right. These are acquaintances that you will have built some rapport with, hopefully, and by leaving that great impression, you open up the opportunity for you to circle back with them about future openings in case it’s not a good fit now, or even to pitch them on consulting or freelancing work in the future.
There are two things I want you to remember from this article:
- The first one is that side gates always exist. You just need to know how to look for them. Having been on both the hiring side and the hired side of this equation, I promise you, there is always a way around the typical application process. By introducing yourself to the right person at the right time, with the right message you can show them that you are in an immensely valuable candidate and that they absolutely cannot avoid getting to know you.
- The second big takeaway is to lead with value. People don’t care about you, unless you give them a reason to care. And the way to give them a reason to care about you is by leading with value. Give them a really clear reason as to why they should talk to you.
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