Just applied for a dream job at a dream company? If you did it online, it might take a while to hear back, especially if you were a day or two late to the party and the job posting is old. If you really want the job, however, there’s an extra step you can take after hitting submit: you can send a cold email (or LinkedIn InMail) to the hiring manager (or a potential teammate) for that job.
A good cold email can convey your passion for the company and your excitement for the opportunity while displaying the attributes that will make you highly successful at the job. It can lead to informal conversations with people who are part of the hiring decision, giving you insight into the process and bonus points with the team. Search the web for the relevant contact information. If you don't know who the hiring manager is, pick someone you think you can best relate to on their team.
Here are the components of a great cold email to help you get noticed by your dream company:
Avoid copy-pasting like the plague
The last thing you want to do is to just copy your cover letter and use it as your cold email. It’s lazy, and the hiring manager will be able to tell that you put in no extra effort. Instead, personalize the email to the individual you’re reaching out to and relate to their experience. Were you working in politics before trying to join a startup, just like the person you’re messaging? Ask them how the transition went. Are you interested in learning more about marketing at a non-profit? Talk about how you want to transition your skills into that sector.
Make your passion relevant
Start by quickly introducing yourself and talking about your interest in the company. What exactly about them do you admire? Is it a product or a service they provide, or their social mission? Relate how your experience at your most recent job is relevant.
Maybe you worked on a in an industry that has clear and relevant synergies to the company’s mission. Or maybe you have experience growing a similar product. For example, your last job in e-commerce made you appreciate the importance of marketing tools for websites. As a result, you wanted to join a company that is providing small businesses with the web tools they need to succeed.
Relate to their needs
In your company research, you’ll stumble upon the things that the hiring manager and company need. Blog posts and news articles can point you in the right direction.
Talk about a relevant article with a hiring manager or potential teammate. Come up with an idea for how a discontinued project can be revisited and turned into a success. Think about ways even highly successful initiatives can be modified to prolong their impact. Write about one or two of these ideas and present solutions.
Most candidates don’t think that far ahead. They think about how to present themselves in an interview and sell their skills and prior work experience. You, on the other hand, are offering a plan of action. The hiring manager will consider you a person who’s ready and eager to join their team and make an impact.
Ask for a conversation
Don’t ask for the job in the cold email. Just start with an email conversation in which you can discuss the ideas you proposed. Ask to learn about their role or where they see their product going next. Don’t require a lot of upfront commitment for them to start talking with you.
If you eventually ask for and land a phone call or in-person chat, don’t treat it like a formal interview unless they explicitly say it is one. Instead, treat it like what you asked for - a conversation. Lead a meaningful back-and-forth discussion on the topics you’ve brought up previously and on what it’s like to work at the organization in question. Be opinionated, but also ask smart questions.
A great deal of weight is placed on cultural fit when making the right hire, so come across as a an inquisitive, ambitious person that the hiring manager would be happy to work with on an everyday basis.