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I head up the Pearl Lemon Placement programme,
And we’ll have at any given time 20-50 applications per week.
This is steadily growing – and is getting to a place where it’ll eventually be 100 applications per week.
We have rolling job offers out and that’s to exclude the actual pitches I receive from impressive candidates
So – if you’re looking to land an internship – well I’ve been in exactly your shoes – and have landed several internship offers at Deloitte, Penguin, the Financial Times and more.
What I want to do is take the education I’ve learnt over the years and distil it into a guide that you can follow:
Table of Contents
How To Send Cold Emails To Win Your Internship Job Offer
What Size Of Company Are You Applying To?
This is a worthy consideration when trying to win an internship job offer through cold email.
And your approach needs to change when the company has rigid hiring procedures. If it for example is an investment bank – then an HR manager has strict guidelines to abide by and is unlikely to be wavered by your approach. She/he will simply ‘appreciate your email – but unfortunately, we will need to stick with proper channels for your application to work with us – but appreciate the effort and it’s duly noted’.
This may well be the kind of response you’ll get back. Of course, this can still help but it is more likely than not to be ignored.
Who Should You Cold Email At Companies Large and Small?
Well, I wouldn’t actually cold email the HR manager in any of these environments. You need to identify someone who is in a position of influence – e.g this can be the founder or some kind of director within the business.
The reason for this is that if this person finds your application to be impressive – they can supersede the hiring process and request this person be interviewed.
I know because that’s how I’ve been pitched a couple of times on cold email or on LinkedIn.
They’ve found my email and reached out to me – here’s an example of an amazing cold email I received from a candidate who I immediately put into the interview process:
Here’s another example:
These two candidates decided to work outside of the application process – and catch my attention.
As soon as that happened I forwarded these two people to HR to make sure they were interviewed.
I’d highly recommend doing the same thing!
Identify Who The Decision-Maker Is
Let’s begin with the basics of identifying the right person to contact.
What I’d do is find the company on LinkedIn.
Once you’ve found their company page, you should be able to (depending upon the company size) be able to identify who the decision-maker is with hiring.
Once you’ve done that – you need to:
Find Their Correct Email Address
You can use a tool called Skrapp.io to find someone’s email address on LinkedIn.
If you’re unable to find it on LinkedIn then you can also try Hunter.io on the company website.
If that doesn’t work for you either – then you can use a tool called Find That Lead to try and identify the person’s email address.
One of these options should work for you – I’ll be pretty surprised if it doesn’t work for you
What To Do If You Can’t Find The Right Person’s Email Address
If you know who the right person is (e.g at Pearl Lemon currently that would be Noemi) – but you’re unable to find their email address.
Well – assuming this is an internship that you really really want to land then you can absolutely make a phone call to figure out what their email address is.
This can involve calling the main reception and maybe asking for Noemi’s email address saying ‘I think I must have misspelled it when I jotted it down last time’.
You could just directly ask for it – but of course, this might incite the question ‘why do you want it?’.
So on balance, I’d say it’s better to just use the misspelled approach.
Between all of these strategies, you should be able to find the email address you’re looking for.
Gather some personal information
If you’re going to send a busy person you don’t know an email – it pays to have done some research about them.
And depending upon who the person is (e.g take me for example) then there’s plenty of information online about myself.
So whether you can find some shared interests, or make some kind of joke about it all – tying in some level of personal information will definitely help you win them over.
As you can see above – it worked for me.
Understand the current business challenges or what’s happening internally
Understanding the current company or person’s challenge isn’t always easy to do – and it’s very possible you can get this part wrong.
So if you are going to talk about internal challenges – do ensure that you’ve heard something from a legitimate source otherwise it might be way off base.
Where you don’t have a source – then you can make reference to the company’s current industry challenges or otherwise and talk about some interesting solutions you’ve thought about.
Have a strong resume
This goes without saying but it’s important to reiterate this – that as much as the cold email can work wonders in landing you the job of your dreams – it definitely will support your application considerably if your resume is strong also.
And that doesn’t only mean it needs to be strong in a manner that exactly matches the company requirements.
Of course – if you’re angling for a job in a department where there hasn’t even been a job advertised then you won’t even know the company requirements!
In any event, it’s ultimately important to demonstrate a pattern of excellence when it comes to demonstrating your skills in a resume – and this is what you need to aim for.
Have a strong LinkedIn profile
This is really much the same as above except it’s on a platform that several people within their business might check you out – so it pays to ensure that your profile is filled out fully.
This means – having recommendations, endorsements, filled out job descriptions and the like.
What To Write In The Actual Email?
Keep your email short
Unless you can wrap the content up in stuff that you know the recipient will enjoy – it pays to keep the content short.
Punchy at the very least – so focus on what you want to say and no more.
Exceptions only apply if you can identify something of deep personal interest to the recipient (like you can with me!) and then you can make it a little longer because you’re more likely to keep that person’s attention!
Weave in some accomplishments
When you’re sending across this cold email – be sure to weave in some personal or professional accomplishments so you’re able to demonstrate excellence.
As mentioned previously – everybody wants to work with someone who just looks like they are an achiever.
With this in mind – build it into your email narrative.
(Potentially) Add a timeline or establish urgency
If you really have got competing for offers or some window after which this opportunity closes then it will definitely be worthwhile mentioning that.
If however you haven’t you can potentially still mention some type of deadline or timeline – but be aware you may need to back that up later – or if the deadline passes and it wasn’t really real – then you’ll need to explain that.
In either event – there is some merit in putting pressure on a recruiter to the extent that you imply ‘hey – I’m hot property!’
Have a strong subject line
Now if you’re emailing a recruiter directly you can lead with something that’s personally, job or business relevant.
There’s no ‘right rule’ to this –
Titles such as:
‘Software Engineering Applicant For 2021 Winter Programme’
‘Application For The Advertised Software Engineering Programme’
Work completely fine as they tell the recruiter exactly what to expect.
It’s important to be straightforward here.
However, if you’re applying speculatively for a role that isn’t advertised then you need to change your tack:
‘3 Changes That Would Add An Additional $100k To Pearl Lemon’s Bottom Line’
‘What Do Grime Reaction Videos, You And Me Have In Common’
There’s two approaches here in the subject lines –
Approach number 1 refers to a revenue goal that definitely would attract a business owner like myself.
The 2nd line is of personal interest to me because I record reaction videos – so the intrigue would grab me also!
Make sure you have a 3-5 step follow up
As strong as your first email might be – it won’t always (more often it won’t) get read.
This is why having follow-ups (where you add something new to the conversation) is important.
Most importantly, it’s necessary to have follow up’s in place to lead to a much higher likelihood of getting your emails read.
And then within each email, you can maybe add something either comical or relevant to the first email.
There’s no set formula for this – but mostly – it’s important to simply HAVE these follow-ups – and then watch your reply rates soar.
Cold emails are definitely are a great way to get communicating with potentially just about anybody that you want.
Using the strategies above – much of it inspired from the cold emails I’ve received for jobs – I believe you’ll get a damn sight closer to winning the internship or job you’re looking for.