The term “cold emailing” refers to establishing initial contact through email with someone who you do not know, typically with the goal of learning more about that person or the company or industry in which the individual works. This is a common form of networking in the U.S. One example of how cold emailing may be used to network is to schedule an informational interview, which is different from a traditional interview because you are the one asking the questions. Informational interviewing is the best way to find a job, because you are establishing connections that may assist you in the future. At the conclusion of an informational interview you should not ask for a job; rather, the objective is to expand your network and gain valuable advice from a professional!
Informational interviews may be conducted in person or over the phone. Common topics you might ask about during an informational interview include the individual’s background, project work, role, and experience working at a specific company or within the industry you are interested in. Remember, in general, many Americans enjoy talking about themselves and their work so don’t be concerned that you are bothering someone with this request.
When cold emailing, it is useful to start out by introducing yourself, then explain how you received that person’s contact information, and provide some details on why you are writing to them. You may also include a brief summary of your related skills and experience, or discuss your interest in the field the individual works in. If you would like to request a meeting, it helps to mention some general timeslots when you might be available. Don’t forget to include a helpful subject line, such as “Question from an MIT Student,” or “Referred to you by [name of a person].” Not everyone you cold email will get back to you, but don’t let that discourage you. Some will, since people often like to help others in this way, and also like the idea of adding YOU to their network! Check out these additional tips for writing cold emails and this cold emailing guide and template.
Dan Beaudry usually visits MIT each year to speak to international students. Check out his website and blog for more helpful hints on cold-emailing and informational interviewing that help you with your job search!
Source: Katie DiOrio in CAPD