The cold email that got me the job


You’ve spotted it. It’s not the Loch Ness monster, BigFoot, or a Unicorn. It’s your dream job.

Whether you’re unemployed and can’t believe your timing or a company you’ve had your eye on is now open to alternative locations or remote employees, you know this is the moment. 

A perfect application is just the beginning

You’ve perfected your resume and hit all the open-ended questions out of the park. But clicking the ‘submit application” button is just the start of the road to your dream job. You want to follow-up with the hiring manager to illustrate why you are the ideal person for the role.

However, even if you find them, how can you break through all the unsolicited emails that people at Apple, Tesla, Nike, and Google get every day?

We asked professionals who have been on both sides of the interview table to share advice on successful cold emails for job applicants. 

Identify the hiring manager

The first step to a follow-up email is figuring out who is the hiring manager of your dream job. While it can feel like finding a needle in a haystack, it’s a lot easier than you think, thanks to LinkedIn. Take the position name from the job posting and use it as a search term in LinkedIn.

Just like that, you can see who posted or shared the job listing. The hiring manager, team members, or other company employees often help spread the word about open jobs. After you find them, resist the urge to reach out right away.  

“Use the full power of LinkedIn,” says Jesse, an Engineer and Blogger from New York. “Let’s be honest: who you know is incredibly important when landing a job. LinkedIn’s 2nd Degree tool tells you which of your connections know those people. A kind word or introduction from a mutual LinkedIn contact will separate you from the rest of the applicants.”

Cold email after your connection’s conversation

If you found a mutual connection to the hiring manager, or an employee at that company, wait to send your follow-up until they’ve talked.

This not only prevents your cold email from being deleted right on the spot, but you may get important direction. Better yet, your contact may pass along critical information about the company culture, team, or hiring manager that you could apply to your outreach. 

Cold email a video message instead

If no one reads your email, did it really happen?

To come all this way and not have your email or application looked at is really disappointing. Have you considered bringing your resume, results, and skills to life in a video?

“As someone who has gotten tons of emailed PDF resumes at tech companies, I’d be immediately drawn to a video I can watch,” said Brent Chudoba, CEO, Biteable. “Last year, Katie Davis illustrated the power of video resumes when she went viral on Linkedin with a “cold video” that birthed the #opentowork hashtag. Not only did she get thousands of views, but she also got a job.”

Illustrate the job skills

Whether it’s a video or an online portfolio, your cold email should show the results of your skills, experiences, or campaigns and not just a summary of your responsibilities. It’s easier than ever to bring to life not only your resume but the passion you have for this job.

Suppose you are applying for a UX Designer position. In that case, a video allows you to show off the website or app and how you guided the company through the process with user experience flow maps and wireframes. Or, if you’re applying for a Software Developer position, take a page from live stream coding and include video snippets of your creative problem-solving approach to writing software. 

If you’re in a time crunch fighting against the hiring window, you can quickly post projects, write-ups, visuals, or news articles about your programs in your LinkedIn profile and link to them in your email. 

Add in a social strategy 

If you struck out and didn’t find a personal connection at the company, add a social media strategy to build rapport with those who shared the job posting on LinkedIn. 

“This can mean regularly commenting on their Twitter or LinkedIn posts or sharing their content while tagging them,” says Sarah Evans, CEO, Sevans Strategy. “This increases your visibility, creates rapport, and eventually offers you an opportunity to private message them about your interest in the open position. 

Cold emails are scary for job seekers — they are sent out into the seeming abyss and often don’t get a reply. Job applicants shouldn’t be afraid to flip the script to land their dream job.