Internships are a great way to spend time in the office of a company that you are really interested in. Getting an internship can be tricky, which is why it’s important to start early. If you want to get a job through a company’s internship program, you’re going to have to first take the initiative to start the conversation. At the end of the day, you’re going to need to put yourself out there and reach out to the company you’re interested in. Lucky for you, there are few things that are easier than sending an email to your target area, and that’s where this blog comes into play.
In this article, we will be talking all about cold emails – diving deep into the world of professionalism, different types of Cold Emails, the techniques, and examples along with some templates on the subject of Cold Email for a job, internship, sales, etc.
First up, it’s important to understand what cold emails are. These are unsought means of conversations that are sent to the receiver without contact, who has very sparse or no details about you. The receivers may be called Cold Leads.
These emails generally contain a resume or the cover letter of the sender along with their portfolios and work samples that portray the skills and relevant work experiences of the applicant in the particular field. This is the most opted technique by the people worldwide as folks have set afloat start-ups and established careers with the help of cold emails.
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PRINCIPLES BEHIND HOW TO GET COLD EMAIL TO GET AN INTERNSHIP
Be it Cold Emails or any other task, there are always some basic principles involved. So, before you start cold emailing for internships, jobs, or any other means, there are some things you need to take care of:
1. Contact your alumni network:
Probably the safest option to start from. Contacting the alumni from your school can be your former point of contact. These people are more likely to reply to your cold email versus strangers who don’t share any common link with you (we call them Cold Leads).
You can use LinkedIn or your career centre database to find the firms they work at. You may also work the other way round by searching the firms that you are inclined to work at and see if any of your alumni works there. From there, you can find their contact details and connect with them on LinkedIn or shoot them a cold email. Even though these people may not handle recruitment operations, they can give you pointers about the firm and the people you need to approach by Cold Emailing. You should end every conversation by asking if there are any more people that they would recommend you speak to, in order to learn more. Reaching out to VPs and MDs directly might land you an internship offer when you are reaching out to smaller firms or startups.
2. You need to send a lot of emails:
Have patience. You might not get the replies to every email sent. The response rates vary from person to person. A response rate of 5-10% is remarkable, and a 1-2% response rate is acceptable. So, do not be impatient. You might need to send hundreds of emails before you land an internship offer.
3. Execution matters:
Knowing the difference between a flawlessly written cold email and an ill-researched and average one can get you the results that are better than the most.
4. Don’t just email:
It does not end with sending the email. Engage with their posts on LinkedIn and other platforms, which can increase your chances of landing the offer.
5. Pique their interest first:
For a recruiter to read your email, you must use a catchy subject line that encourages them to open your email. Try to make the subject both attractive and to-the-point at the same time. We have included more information on cold email subjects for internships later in this blog.
6. Cold Networking Email Timing:
Imagine someone asking you to submit any assignment or work samples at a random Friday evening. Frustrating right? Try to time your emails between business hours and avoid sending them on Mondays and Fridays, if possible.
Mondays generally bring full inboxes with them and you would not want to get lost in the shuffle. On Fridays, people are generally trying to escape the work blues and your email will most probably be ignored or lost in the inbox. Try sending your emails between 10 am – 4 pm. Email again in 7-10 days in case you do not receive a response. Do not reference your previous email and start the conversation in a new thread.
7. Gain trust:
You need to offer something useful to them and try not to waste their time. Try to keep the email as short as possible and include the relevant points as you want your target to trust you.
Don’t attach your resume to the first mail- Never attach your resume to the first email you send to a firm or any person until you are asked to do so. Doing so may make you look like you are presumptuous or aggressive. Take it slow.
HOW TO PICK WHAT INTERNSHIPS ROLE TO APPLY FOR
Before applying for an internship/job, you would want to know your options. To do so, you need to ask yourself some questions. Answering these questions, you will be able to shortlist the best available opportunities for you. Remember, research is the key to anything substantial.
1. Do you need a paid internship?
This is probably the most important question you want to ask yourself. If you are not looking for an internship with a paycheck, there might be 100x more opportunities available for you. Cold emailing people or firms when you want to be an unpaid intern can be very beneficial. People will hire you even if they are not looking for any interns at that moment.
Several schools and universities have grant programs available for supporting unpaid interns. Thus, you might be able to make a buck even while doing an unpaid internship. We advise you to check with your school before exploring this route.
2. What internships are available?
After sorting out what companies to focus on, it is time you start making a spreadsheet with all the companies and roles you are interested in. You can look for opportunities using various resources available like:
Try looking for the job roles that you are earmarking in each of these channels. Looking for entry-level job roles on the mentioned sites can also help you as these companies will have the need and will be willing to hire.
3. What companies are you interested in?
Add the companies which interest you specifically into your list if they are not actively hiring right now.
You can find some ideas on these sites if you are interested in startups and technology:
HOW TO MASTER COLD EMAILING FOR INTERNSHIP: 8 STEPS TO MAKE IT HAPPEN
1. Set Up a Professional Email Account:
It is a given when you have to engage with people professionally. Setting up an account that looks professional is essential for you to engage with formal and educational connections. You have to focus on some points while setting up a professional account as it will appear exactly as you set it up to someone you converse with. Use Gmail or Outlook as these are the most opted choices among professionals and moreover, they are free to use. Make sure you use proper capitalization while typing your name into the account. Use proper combinations of your initials while choosing your username and use a combination of numbers if prompted to do so. Refrain from using anything personalized,i.e, your cat’s name, etc.
2. Choose Your Recipient:
You always need to be sure of who you are addressing the email to. Do not send the Cold Email to any generic Email addresses that begin with info@ or employment@.
It is a good start if you have an existing connection at the company (this is where the alumni card comes into play). You can contact that person for information regarding who might be the best person to look up to. Even if your connection is not directly involved in the hiring procedure, they might be able to point you towards anyone who will be able to help or who is directly involved in the process. If you do not have any existing connection, do your research and try to find out about the hiring managers and the recruiters. Research is the key to anything substantial, remember? You can do this by simply searching on Google or LinkedIn.
3. Write a Specific Subject Line:
A wise person once said, “First impression is the last impression”. Well, he was obviously right as your Cold Email is expected to have a catchy yet on-point subject line. The subject line is the most important thing in any Cold Email as it tells the receiver about the purpose of the particular conversation. Your Cold Email might be overlooked if your subject line is not up to the mark. So, you have to choose a subject line very wisely. We are emphasising this point again because it is that important.
A strong subject line is direct and specifically related to the main purpose of sending the email. You can also include the company’s name to make it customized. You may also add any name of the project you are working on which may increase your chances of landing the offer. We cover this is greater detail in the following section.
4. Address Your Recipient Correctly:
You should know how to address the recipient while you are writing a cold email and you need to pay special attention to the title by which you are going to address that person. Now, finding out whether someone is a Mr., Ms., or Dr. can be a bit of a hassle. But, addressing them with the right tone and title shows that you have done your research well and you want to make a personal connection. You can start your research by following the website links of that company. Try LinkedIn if you want to know about the educational qualifications of the person in focus. This will help you to determine whether to address them as Ms., Mr., or Dr.
Some of the organizations nowadays practice ‘Casual Culture’ while addressing each other. So, you would want to know a little about their attitude and tones. You can refer to their social media posts to know about the same. If someone in the fresher position is addressing their executive or someone of the higher level with their first name, then you might assume that it will be fine to use the first name of the recruiter or the HR as well.
Avoid using ‘To Whom it May Concern’ as it portrays that you are somewhat uninterested and it is not important for you to find out who you are referring to. This comes off as comprehensive and you may end up making a bad first impression. Set the tone of your Cold Email correctly as the conversation will flow freely if you do so.
6. Craft a Meaningful Introduction:
A cold email is like a condensed version of a cover letter. You should be able to talk about why you are interested in that company and why you will prove to be better than the other interrogations they have had. This will show that you have done your research well and will increase your chances.
Whatever you write, make sure you clearly show your desire to work with them and why you want to work with them.
While mentioning these things, state the time frame you will be available for. Whether you want a winter internship opportunity with them or a summer internship opportunity, clearly mention it. This will set forth your connections with the company for the upcoming paragraphs.
- Here’s an example of a strong introduction:
“I have been following your company’s vision and mission to develop more opportunities in the technology sector for the past few months and want to know about available internship opportunities for the same if any.”
7. Create Connections with the Company:
You have to make the company believe that you have something unique that will prove to be a gain for the company. Talk about your achievements and experiences. Interest them with your accomplishments and relate those with the position you are applying for.
This will make them believe that you are serious about the application and you will be able to align the company’s goals along with your skills and interest. You have to make yourself useful for the company and it should reflect in your words while writing a cold email.
- Here’s an example for the same:
“I have an expertise in Data Analytics and I have also made some projects on the same. I can drive conclusions from data and it will be a profit for your company as I will be able to apply my knowledge in the subject towards your current project and will be able to make data-driven decisions that will benefit the company.”
8. Conclude with a Call to Action:
This is your call to action as you will include your details here. You will let the company know that you are available to connect and are willing to discuss the details further.
- You may frame it like:
“Thank you for taking out time to review my application and resume attached below. Hoping to hear from you soon. Please feel free to email me at the same Email and you can also call me at (attach phone number) to discuss the opportunity further.”
9. Follow Up:
It is demoralizing to send a number of Cold Emails and never receive a reply. You may try following up with the company if you do not receive a reply within a week. Do not email the company the very next day after inquiring about the opportunities. You may also try calling the company if you are desperate but be sure if they accept calls or not. You can look for their hiring posts online and if they request no phone calls, stick to email and respect their boundaries. It is important to be respectful.
While writing a follow-up email, introduce yourself and refer to your previous email while explaining the context in which you are writing to them. Politely ask if they have received the previous email. You can also ask to set up a phone call if they are available.
COLD EMAIL FOR INTERNSHIP FORMAT
Now after talking about all the preliminaries, it is time we talk about the actual gist of the topic: The Email as a whole. Cold emails have been misunderstood for a long time now. Some people are misusing these frequently while some people are totally unaware that they are committing some email etiquette sins.
It is important to know that you need not to bore the recipient with how perfect you are and bombard them with the information all at once. Avoiding the mistakes we have highlighted above, it is important to keep the email as genuine as possible. It is just to begin a meaningful conversation and make some connections with the company that you are interested in which may lead to pretty great things for you in the future.
Here is how you write a perfect Cold Email for internships that you want to land:
1. Internship Email Subject Line:
Some studies such as the one by Fast Company show that the right combination of the sender’s name and the subject line in any email secured the highest opening rates for any internship.
2. The Sender’s Name:
This step is a very crucial step in sending a Cold Email so you might want to set up a new email account for this. Creating a new email will ensure that your account looks professional and the receiver will know that you are not any spammer with generic usernames that they would usually avoid. Using the same email addresses that you created in the teenage would have sounded cool then, but using those addresses now may lead to rejection.
3. The Subject Line:
After selecting the perfect sender’s name, it is time to focus on the subject line. Using a subject line that develops curiosity or provides value is always a good idea. But to think of curiosity, it only works when the receiver is generally not that busy. It would fascinate them, leaving them wanting more. But it is the professional world that we are talking about, where no one has the time or energy for curiosity.
Considering that, you might want to stick to a subject line that provides value to the Cold Lead. Cold Leads are unpredictable so we want a more practical approach while choosing a subject line. Write a subject line that tells them why they should open the email. Try to make it catchy and relevant to the topic.
Here are some subject lines you can consider using:
- Software Development Internship Opportunity at Amazon (formal and to-the-point)
- Mike, I want to be a software development intern at Amazon this summer (addressing the person with their first name shows you did your research and may lead the person to believe that you are someone they know; either way, this increases the chances they will open your email)
- Mike, Jonathan Morris recommended I reach out (if you played the alumni card, use this subject)
Mr. Morris, I loved your LinkedIn article on social media marketing (an enticing subject to get the conversation ball rolling)
- Digital Marketer with B2B Expertise Interested In Joining Your Team (highlighting your best skills in the subject itself might lure the recipient into reading your email)
- I love the marketing work you are doing at Amazon. Can I get some advise? (a clickbait subject that hacks the curiosity of the recipient piquing their interest)
4. The Cold Email Body:
Let’s face it! No stranger as busy as the ones you are emailing wants to know about your whole life story or how great you are virtually. This might be harsh but it is the truth. This is probably a monumental mistake an applicant makes while writing the body of a cold email. You have only one chance to impress them, try to make it count. The body of any cold email is very crucial as it will determine how the recruiter sees you.
A selfish email body is an instant rejection by the hiring managers or recruiters. You have to make the body about them and their company and a lot less about you. They should know why it will be good for THEIR company if they hire you. They should know what you can do for THEM. It is always themselves who they want to hear about, so you have to make it about their profits while slipping in your point of view smartly. It is a bit tricky, yes. But what is the professional world if not tricky?
Try to conclude your Cold Email into three to four short paragraphs that are well written and up to the points that are described above.
- Line 1: Introduce yourself, where you put up, and tell them about your aspirations.
- Line 2: Gently try to bring in the topic you used in the subject line. Be it an article by them that you loved or any of their projects, try to let them know that you did research. This will enhance the scope for any future conversations.
- Line 3: Here you reveal what you expect from them. Ask about any calls you wanna schedule or any roles that you might be looking for. Here you tell them about why you are writing this email.
- Line 4: Give them a timeline to process your tasks. Ask them for a particular time for a phone call or a specific day and time for a meeting, etc. Bring it up in a professional way and try not to make it seem like you are being pushy. Respect their boundaries.
5. Cold Email for Internship Example
We have finally learned about all the important elements required for Cold Emails. Now is the time when we start working on making our own templates for Cold Emails. Such one template where we put all the elements together as one is shown below:
Subject- Available for a quick call?
I’m (your name), a student at (name of your school). I live in (the place where you put up) and am looking for internship opportunities.
I came across your company a few months back and I love your project (enter the name of the project). I would love to contribute to the same as I have been following your organization for a very long time and love the work you do.
Would you be available for a quick, 10-minute call on (choose a day and time at least 10 days away from the date of the email)? I would love to hear more about the project and offer my insights.
This is probably the best practical approach towards any Cold Lead as it shows that you value their time and you can also offer something valuable for their company. You can also ask them for lunch or coffee as that may increase your chances of having a face-to-face conversation with someone influential. Everyone loves a break from their busy lives and wants to grab a coffee or lunch while hearing about something that can benefit their firm.
TOP 4 MISTAKES TO AVOID WHILE SENDING COLD EMAILS FOR INTERNSHIPS
1. Contacting the Wrong Person
Research is the key to anything substantial. We have been saying this for a while now. But it is really the most important aspect you need to take care of while writing a Cold Email. Lack of research might end up in your email being lost among the hundreds of emails that the executives receive every day.
Yes, you heard that right. Research shows that executives receive 147 emails every day. Now, that’s a lot if you ask me. There are chances that your email will very well end up ignored or in the trash bin. Even thinking about this hurts. To avoid this, you need to be very good with your research and try to send the email to the right person. If you send the email meant for an HR executive to the VP or the Director, what are the chances that they will inform the concerned authority and make sure that your email ends up in the right hand? Negligible, right? You need to pay attention to every wee detail to avoid such miscommunications.
You can lose a real chance at landing your dream internship if you lack in the department of research.
Studies show that the most successful cold emails are perfectly customized according to the receiver and that is only possible through good researching skills.
2. Is That a Template?
Using templates might prove to be an effective technique as Cold Email is a long process and you need to send hundreds of emails before you hit that one lucky one. But it is really effective to use the same template every time? Templates might be a good option while sending a Cold Email for sales and marketing but using them for internships might not be a good idea. Cold Emailing for internships requires a slightly different approach.
The Cold Emails for an internship demand personalization as the receiver should not be able to detect that you are using a template. Simply writing the name and mentioning the company would not do the trick and your email would come off looking “spammy” to the receiver. You need a very good and slightly personalized template to approach any company while applying for internships. Take your time and construct a template that is as descriptive and personalized as possible. Remember that it has to be short and catchy at the same time.
3. Why is your Email Lengthy?
We have discussed this a few times before. Your first Cold Email to any company should not be very long. Cold Emails are unsought and they should not take more than 20 seconds to read. Try to cover everything you want to convey to the company in as short as possible.
There are good chances that the receiver will end up getting bored and leave your email unread if it is too long or it features too much of something that is totally not required. Remember that it is not the last time you are able to talk about your achievements and skills to the company. If your email is well written and sought, you will get a chance to have a proper conversation where you can explain everything. But your first chance should count.
4. Failure to Follow Up:
Perseverance is the key while connecting through Cold Emails. The leads may not be able to respond to your email for a number of reasons. Maybe they were extra busy that day or they were held up in a very long meeting. This does not prove that they are not interested. You must write at least one follow-up email for the receiver to give yourself a chance at that opportunity again.
HOW TO FIND LEADS
A lead is a person who might prove to be very useful and they are the ones who will be willing to help and chat with. The ability to find a good lead is a very important aspect of writing a good Cold Email.
To find a good lead, you might want to search on LinkedIn. Linkedin has many good search filters that will help you in finding an appropriate lead for the topic. You just need to go to the search option in LinkedIn, filter the results, and guess their email.
If you want an internship in a particular sector of a company. List down all the professionals in that sector according to the varying levels of seniority.
Step 1: Use Search Operators to Find the Right People on LinkedIn
Search operators are designed to narrow down the search options while using platforms like LinkedIn or Google. Using quotes can be an effective way to filter out the search results while you are trying to enlist some people according to your preference.
For example – Go to LinkedIn, and in the search bar type “Content Writing”
Remember that you type the exact thing mentioned above as the quotes represent that the words, ‘content’ and ‘writing’ are to be considered together for the search. If you do not include the quotes, it will show results for the words ‘content’ and ‘writing’ separately and they do not essentially mean the same as “Content Writing”. You need to be very smart while using the search operators as failure to do so might be problematic considering that there are millions of people with those words in their profiles.
There are several operators other than the one mentioned here. You can find the list of other common operators Here.
Step 2: Implement Relevant Filters Using the “All People Filters” Feature
There will be times when you will have to guess the lead’s email. It is a tricky process but a reliable one as most of the professionals have emails that follow the same pattern about 90% of the time.
Enlisting the most common email patterns. (using my name as a reference and “company” is a procurator for the real company name)
- email@example.com ( for small companies where duplicate first names are unforeseen)
After deciding which person to contact, you can try using these methods to determine their Email:
- Email Verification Tools (like this): try different and random permutations and combinations for emails till one of them works.
- Chrome Plugins (like this): Not sure of how precise they are, but they find a person’s email for you.
- Brute Force Email: As the name suggests, they use brute forces to send the emails to the entered address. You have to send 7 identical emails and theoretically, 6 emails will bounce back as they will be invalid and one will reach the Lead.
If these methods do not work, don’t focus too much on a single lead. Move on to the next one. It is essentially a number’s game. If you do not get any hits, keep trying until you do. There are many email-finding techniques online, so focus on the one you like the best and use that one. There are chances that you might not be able to find someone’s email 10% of the time and it’s okay, just keep trying.
DRIVERS FOR SUCCESSFUL COLD EMAILS
There are some mechanics that work behind the email and will influence your outcomes. These are important as they can improve your chances of success. A successful cold email is where you get a chance to interact with the person you contacted, be it a coffee chat or a call. It is important to note that you got the chance to have a one-to-one interaction with the cold lead.
If you wanna get an internship in any industry, it can be very difficult if you do not have any prior connections. These cold emails are very important in that scenario as they end you up with possible referrals during the chat or in the future. You just need to develop a connection and try to know about the cold lead while interacting.
To maximize the number of interactions you get after Cold Emailing the professionals, you need to learn about these 3 key drivers:
- Connection strength
Driver # 1- Connection Strength
Your connection with the person you are emailing determines the possibility and chances of a reply. This shows your ability to establish a connection with the person you are contacting.
For example- These are the rates of receiving a reply according to the people you contact:
- emailing family asking for a favor: 100% Reply Rate
- emailing a friend asking for a favor: 80% Reply Rate
- emailing alumni of one of my student organizations: 60% Reply Rate
- emailing an alumnus of my university: 30% Reply Rate
- emailing a stranger with no connection to myself: 10% Reply Rate
The chances of getting a reply are higher if you make a stronger contact.
Contacting family may not count as a cold email but finding any common grounds to the person you are contacting might increase the chances of you getting a reply drastically. Just research and find anything common with them. It can be as little as you two having the same hobbies.
Driver #2- Quantity
As it was discussed before, this is a number’s game. The more emails you send, the more are your chances of landing the job. You need to remember that you can land any job/ internship offer if you send enough Cold Emails. Don’t give up. The rule is to send as many emails as you can.
Driver #3- Timing
A wise person once said- “if you have chemistry, you just need one more thing- Timing.” But, timing is a tricky thing, my friend. You should know how to time your cold emails for them to be a success. You do not want to bother someone on a random Sunday when they are usually enjoying with their families and having an off day. There are good chances your email will be ignored.
The best time to send any cold email is between the business hours- Monday afternoon to Thursday night. This way you can ensure that the cold lead has sufficient time to check your email before they head out for the weekend or your email is lost in the archives.
Well, summing it all up, we can say that Cold Emailing is a lot of research, patience, and 90% luck. There is a lot of things one might need to consider while writing a cold email and it may be tiring, yes. But the results are totally worth it, trust me! You just need to keep throwing the darts in the right direction, or maybe even the wrong one, no one cares. Yeah, you heard me right, nobody cares about the cold emails you send as they are a bunch of people who do not know you. So, just keep swimming and who knows you end up with your dream job or internship.
But you need to keep in mind that you have to start the process and you may not get the results at the start. It takes hundreds of failed Cold Emails to get that ONE lucky one, and that is all that matters.
Just keep swimming and you will reach the shore. But, do not forget to swim or you will drown.