Let me start by modestly listing out that
- Walt Disney himself cold emailed a few analysts on the corporate strategy & mergers and acquisitions team and kept in touch throughout college. By the time he was eligible for the internship, he had a strong relationship with a few of the team members and got an interview.
- Trumaker cold emailed a guy about his interest in clothing and technology. After a brief chat in the office, he offered Trumaker an internship to help with marketing and strategy.
My point is, even the most successful people have exploited using cold emails to obtain internships within companies.
How to cold email for an internship? Successfully cold emailing for an internship comes down to knowing the right person to email, and having a great email. A great email starts with a professional email address, great title and introduction.
Without cold emailing, Walt Disney and Trumaker would not have been able to secure an internship position.
So my question to you is, why are you still NOT willing to try and attempt to cold email for an internship?
- Is it due to your disbelief or do you choose to put your faith instead in every other means apart from putting yourself out there (through email), afraid of not getting a returned email?
In the end, experimenting with the method of cold emailing a company may still be a one in-a-million shot. That is why in this article, I will explain and show you a step by step guide on how to increase the chances of a one in a million shot of cold emailing a company to miraculously securing an internship position that you so wanted.
1. Who do I cold email to?
Internships need to be mutually beneficial.
- Why do you want to work for the company?
- What are you able to offer the company?
A lot of times, we think about what an internship at the company can offer to us but we also need to look at things in the lens of the company – ‘Why do I want to hire you?’ If you are unable to add value to a company, a company would naturally be less inclined to take you in as an intern.
Usually, when you check out the company’s website, they will leave an email that you can contact for any inquiries. This is what everyone else does. They send their best version of their resume and CV to that email, pitching about why they are perfect for the company, hoping and praying for a reply.
Hence, this is a tip that I would like to leave you. Yes, you can still attempt the method above and I am not implying that there is not a possibility of it succeeding.
However, if you want to stand out from the rest, here is another alternative you can explore – LinkedIn. Check out the company’s LinkedIn profile and search for people who are associated with the company or industry. It is not an uncommon sight to find the company workers or even their hiring manager’s LinkedIn profile. This is where you can make your mark.
By approaching someone who is already in a position of power to recruit you into the company through LinkedIn, that person can access your profile and investigate in-depth who you are and what you have done. Before selling yourself, ensure that you have solidified a good relationship with the person first via LinkedIn messaging. This increases your chances of obtaining an internship because you can maintain a conversation with a connection working in the company.
As Mario Peshev once said, ‘Referrals make the best business contacts.’ Make use of networking and social media to your advantage to secure the internships that you desire.
Even if you choose not to make your first point of contact with that person via LinkedIn messaging, you can also cold email to that person’s email shown in their LinkedIn profile. By contacting them directly, you have a higher chance of receiving a reply as compared to cold emailing to the company website’s email which would probably be filled with thousands of other inquiries.
Therefore, you can increase your one in a million chance of receiving a reply from cold emailing a company by strategically choosing the right person or email to cold email first!
2. How do I write a good cold email?
2.1 Professionalize your email address first
You do not want the person or company receiving your email to have the impression that your email is spam or a generated one. Keep it simple that includes your first name and the domain and avoid using nicknames in your email address. Remember, this is usually the first thing people see when it comes to reviewing their emails.
2.2 Create a specific subject title
After seeing your email address, the next thing your recipient will look at is the subject title to get an idea of what your email is about before clicking into it. My tip here is to not create a subject title that is outstanding but specific. Go straight to the point, for instance, ‘Inquiring for an Internship Position in (company’s name)’ Sometimes, if you try too hard to create a unique subject title, its drawback is it may off an impression that the email may simply be spam.
2.3 Good writing etiquette
Correctly address whom you are emailing to, preferably by name with an appropriate title. Though it can be difficult to decipher if your recipient is a Mr, Mrs, or even Dr, the time taken is well spent because it shows that you have done your research and you genuinely are interested in joining the company. Keep a professional, not friendly, the tone when writing the email. Also, avoid using templates, especially one that is easy to spot. This is because it will make your email seem auto-generated and would turn people away immediately. Do your best to customize your emails to the recipient and come off sincere and professional
2.4 Good Introduction (Hook!)
I came across this website, RooJet’s article – ‘20 sales email subject lines that get prospects to open, read, and reply to you’ which shared different openings that I believe we're really good and informative (I’ll leave the link in the references section if you are interested to check it out) The following picture below shows 5 possible introductions I believe you can explore when writing your introductory opening in your cold email.
The key tip about writing your introduction in your email is that it needs to capture the reader’s attention or it provides value to them. Your opening should tell the recipient exactly why they should continue reading your cold email.
2.5 Good Email Body
The most common mistake people make when cold emailing is writing a long email. You need to realize that a cold email is an email that is sent without prior permission from or contact with the recipient. This means that you are asking time out from a recipient’s already packed schedule to read your email. Thus, as a rule of thumb, your cold email should not be longer than 30 seconds to read. More importantly, your first email should include 3 key things:
Briefly explain who you are
Why you are reaching out
How you can add value to the company
Do not worry about not having the chance to tell the company more about yourself because the purpose of cold emailing in the first place is to initiate a meaningful contact with the company. If your cold email goes well, there will definitely be an opportunity when you will get to answer the infamous interview question “Tell me more about yourself”
2.6 Conclude With Purpose
Leave your contact information in your cold email so that the recipient, if they are interested, will be able to contact you in any means possible. Concluding with a purpose strikes an intention for the recipient to have a follow-up action with you. A tip would be for you to include your CV or resume in the cold email so that they will not be required to take an additional step of requesting it from you.
In the end, the bulk of your cold email needs to impress your recipient with who you are and what you can give. A good cold email is one that does not push the recipient for action but able to capture their attention or interest to seek to know you more!
3. Where do I go from here now?
It has been weeks since you sent the cold email without getting any reply or indication that they are interested in you. I guess it did not work out. Time to move on to another company then. Hold up, hold up, hold up. You are spiraling just because you have yet to receive a returned email from the company you had cold emailed. You need to allow time to run its course! Usually, after your cold email, it is very common to not receive a response but it does not mean that you should simply give up there.
Cold emailing takes resilience and persistence. It does not work all the time but you cannot blame people who were unwilling to take the time out of their busy schedule to connect with someone whom they do not know. Thus, this comes the necessary step to FOLLOW-UP!
Following up encompasses the practice of sending another cold email to the same recipient or even politely calling them up to introduce yourself and inform them about the cold email you have sent a few weeks prior. Do take note of the boundaries you should respect to companies as spamming them with calls or emails will do you no good and leave a bad impression on your name.
You would be surprised to find out that most people do not reply to cold emails simply because they forgot about it. Hence, the purpose of following up with another email is to remind them of what you had sent before. Sometimes, it takes a little more hustle to stand out from the rest!
Cold emailing requires you to be extremely resilient as it is not foolproof even if you follow all the steps mentioned above. However, if you strategically first chose the right person to email too, it puts you in a better position to receive a returned email. Always remember that however you may customize your cold email to be, the purpose of having a good cold email is to capture the recipient’s attention to have the desire to know you more. After cold emailing, even without receiving a response, do not forget to follow-up with another email or call.
Personally, I still haven’t managed to obtain an internship position myself using cold emails but it was because I followed up after cold emailing companies, I was able to receive and respond and to maintain a good relationship with different companies which I have tried to attain an internship position at that could be beneficial for me soon. Just because it is a closed-door today, it does not mean it will be closed forever.
2 by 22 – ‘How to cold email for competitive internships’ https://2by22.blog/how-to-cold-email-for-competitive-internships-step-by-step-guide/
AppInstitute – ‘Crafting a Professional Email Address: 4 Rules’ https://appinstitute.com/professional-email-address/
Scholars – ‘How to cold email for an internship: 8 steps to make it happen’ https://hirescholars.com/2020/04/how-to-cold-email-for-an-internship/
FastCompany – ‘Entry-level workers can lose 6% of their wages if they don’t have this’ https://www.fastcompany.com/90458673/5-things-standing-in-the-way-of-students-taking-internships
Quora – ‘Why is it so difficult for some college students to get an internship?’ https://www.quora.com/Why-is-it-so-difficult-for-some-college-students-to-get-an-internship
RooJet – ‘A comprehensive guide to cold email for internships or jobs’ https://roojet.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-cold-emailing-for-internships-or-jobs/
RooJet -- ‘20 sales email subject lines that get prospects to open, read, and reply to you’ https://roojet.com/effective-sales-email-subject-lines/
Proposify – ‘The best cold email I ever received (and how to steal his approach)’ https://www.proposify.com/blog/the-best-cold-email