How to get your dream job with one cold email (infographic)

Applying for jobs is a tiring process. You need to find new and more exciting ways to tell the story of your career while adapting everything to fit the needs of the role and also selling your skills and experience. And then you hear nothing back and have to start all over again. And those are just the jobs that have been advertised.

But what if we told you that you could cut out all of that and just write one email to apply for a job that hasn’t been advertised and may not even exist?

The stats show that around 80% of jobs that are awarded haven’t been publicly advertised, so by only sticking to the jobs boards, you could be missing out on incredible opportunities. Meanwhile, 85% of jobs are won through networking, proving that it really isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.

But if you don’t know anyone at your dream company, you can still network with a carefully targeted and worded cold email. Luckily, have come up with a guide to help you find the right person and grab their attention:

How to get your email opened

The biggest challenge when sending any kind of cold communication is convincing someone to open it. We all get enough spam in a day to make us cynical of anything we receive from people we don’t know, and sending a generic email to a company’s general email address rarely bears any fruit.

So you need to find exactly the right person and contact them directly. If you go to your target company’s LinkedIn page, you can view all employees and find the hiring manager from the right department. If you can’t find their email address, you can try using to get a list of addresses from that company.

The next stage is to make sure they want to open your email when they receive it and the only way to achieve that is by writing a killer subject line that grabs their attention. For a start, you need to keep it brief, with no more than 10 words (or 60 characters), otherwise most of it won’t be read.

You also need to include an impressive fact about yourself and another good way to win favor at this early stage is to immerse yourself in their website and marketing materials so that you can capture their tone of voice and try to use the right kind of words, starting with your subject line.

How to make a good first impression

Once the email has been opened there’s still plenty of work to do to ensure that you are in with a chance of impressing them. Firstly you need to avoid any simple mistakes like not getting the recipient’s name right. Using generic greetings or making a spelling error will most likely result in your email being closed and deleted very quickly.

After that it’s important to introduce yourself but not by going into any great detail. After all, the person you’ve targeted will be busy and won’t have time to waste reading your life story. Stick to the facts, like who you are, what major achievements you’ve had, like awards you’ve won, etc.

Include a link to your LinkedIn profile to fill in the gaps, but make sure you’ve optimized it first. It should include your resume, a portfolio of evidence and links to any web content you’ve created or featured in.

Once you’ve introduced yourself, you need to get to the point and tell them why you’re getting in touch. Explain that you’re looking for an opportunity with their organization, rather than specifically asking for a job - which might not yet exist of course.

This is also a good opportunity to name-drop if you know anyone at the company who could be useful as a reference. Then, it’s time to let them know where you see yourself fitting in and what you could bring to them.

How to sell yourself

Like in a job application, you need to be sure to sell your skills and experience at this stage, but without the advantage of a road map, because there’s no job description for a job you’re hoping they will invent for you. So you can’t match your assets up against their wishlist, and need to be more creative.

Of course, you know what they do and will have an idea of where you could fit in, which will let you know which skills and experience you need to highlight to showcase yourself. It’s crucial to do your research and if you find an area about their company that you could improve, now is the time to tease that.

How to end your email

If they’re still reading at this point in your email, you’ve not only managed to get their attention but you’ve held it and quite probably piqued their interest. But you could still lose it if you fail to stick the landing with your sign-off.

At this stage you need to move onto the next steps, and this is where you need to leave the ball in their court. The worst thing you can do here is to seem pushy or disrespectful by telling them when you can meet them. Show that you are flexible and willing to meet them whenever they might be available.

You can also go the extra mile by offering to prove yourself by doing a piece of work for them, which might make them more likely to consider giving you something back. And when you sign off, be grateful for their time spent reading your email, but be careful not to sound presumptuous.

How to optimize your cold email

Now you’ve written it, there’s still ways that you can give your email the best chance of being successful. Firstly, read it back to yourself out loud to make sure it sounds natural and that you’ve only included the absolute essentials. Take out anything that seems superfluous.

When sending it, do this on a weekday, around mid-morning so that they are receiving after checking their emails and while they are still very focused. Don’t send to more than one person and don’t include an attachment, otherwise you risk ending up in their spam folder.

If you haven’t heard anything back after a day, be patient. Leave it at least a week before following up, otherwise you risk annoying them. Sending a cold email brings no guarantees, but why not give it a go and follow these tips to see what you can achieve?

How to write the perfect email to apply for an unlisted job (infographic)

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