How to write a cold email for a job

I recently read an article in the New York Times by Trish Hall about how to get an email response to every message you send, and I thought that it was very applicable to looking for work--either full-time or freelance. Here are three tips for writing a cold email for a job, inspired by Hall’s article.

Ask for what you want

People don’t want to ask for help because they fear rejection, are shy, anxious or embarrassed. But humans are programmed to want to help others. Think about it: when someone asks you to come to their book launch or give them a ride, you probably try to do it, even if you don’t really want to.

Try it: Ask someone for exactly what you want. A coffee date, a job, to keep you in mind for freelance work, a letter of recommendation. Do it.

Write individual emails -- not group emails

As soon as someone sees they’re cc’d on a group email, they’re going to take it less seriously than if you write to them personally. Instead of sending out a mass email to friends, family, colleagues telling them you’re looking for work, try write 3 specific emails a week to people you know. Address it to the person, and let her know what you need help with.

Because it’s personal, it’s harder for someone to not reply.

Get an email response with these 3 tips

Get an email response with these 3 tips

Be real

If you’re writing to someone who just interviewed you for a job, make sure you write the way you speak, not the way you think you should write the email. Avoid saying phrases like “I look forward to making an invaluable contribution to your website, by leveraging my relationships with PR reps and other writers, and utilizing the writing skills I’ve gained through my various freelance opportunities to further enhance your website.”

Instead, try using swap jargon for gratitude: Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me today. I had a few other ideas on how you could increase traffic to your website. For one, I think you could be using IGTV and Instastories more often. I’d be happy to send you a few examples of other websites who are using this strategy well, or some content ideas you could use.”

This way you’re offering FREE advice to the company and saying, hey, I’m happy to help, regardless of whether you hire me. This makes an employer want  to work with you.
Here’s the link to the original article, with even more tips.

Chantel Guertin