Cold email networking while employed?

I am looking to see how others here approach networking while they are already employed. I understand that being involved in organizations such as ULI, Naiop etc can really help but besides that what are you doing?

I am currently on the brokerage side working in research, and eventually I am wanting to work in Development or REPE. With that being said, I don't want to come across as I am trying to jump ship right away (I'm not), and also don't want to come across as I am just looking for a job.

My first course of action will be to ask people that I have made friends with around the office for introductions for firms I would like to work at.

Is anyone here employed but still sending cold emails to network?

Let me know what has worked for you! Thanks

Comments (36)

Oct 30, 2018 - 11:41am

Hi press107, whoops, looks like nobody chimed in here.... maybe one of these discussions below is relevant:

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  • More suggestions...

Hope that helps.

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Jan 10, 2021 - 9:49pm

Know it's 2 years later, but I'm currently in this spot. i'm literally saying I'm in brokerage interested in acquisitions can we get on the phone or grab coffee. These are semi cold as I have talked to these people before, but don't know them well. I'm keeping my cold emails the same as well and alumni.

I'm also sending these emails from my personal email to their work emails and if I don't have their work emails or they left I'm sending it on Linkedin.

Nov 1, 2018 - 7:25pm

I think RE, like any other industry, is a small community where most people know each other. That being said, to be successful in networking your way into a job, you should try to build a meaningful relationship. Try to get to know that person in a genuine way, talk about other things besides work. Don't show that you are trying to get something out of that relationship.

A lot of firms will hire people because of connections (being smart and having the right attitude plays a huge part in this). In my personal experience, cold emailing people did not work. I recently switched jobs a few months ago, because of a VP at a REPE firm I met through a networking event. I met with the guy a few times over the course of 6 months and he ended up hiring me as an associate on his team. His career path is similar to what I am looking to pursue, so he is somewhat of a mentor.

Throughout those 6 months, I never hinted at wanting to join his team or wanting to switch jobs.
When you network it's important to be able to hold an intelligent conversation and know your shit about the industry. People can tell within 60 seconds if you have the potential.

Nov 2, 2018 - 10:31am

Great response thank you.

So are you saying that there really is no need to send cold emails? I would lean towards agreeing with you as a lot of the times my cold emails have been ignored. I have had the best luck when asking someone I know to make an introduction.

If I were to have someone make an introduction for me would you still follow the same type of relationship building that you did with the VP? I could approach the relationship with the "I am trying to build my network, and learn more about what you do" which is honest, and what I am trying to do. Whats your recommendation?

Also if you don't mind me asking what type of networking event did you meet your VP at?

Nov 2, 2018 - 4:05pm

In my own personal experience, cold emails have never worked.

If you have someone make the introduction, I would try the same relationship building. Get to know him/her on a personal level, and ask them about their career path. I'm sure they will offer you good advice along the way. From what I've seen, a lot of the more senior guys enjoy mentoring the younger guys. You seem to have the right idea about how to approach this.

I met the VP at a RE conference where I live, he was talking to someone I know and I walked up and got the intro.

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Jan 10, 2021 - 9:52pm

Replied above, but cold emails absolutely work. You can't just rely on connections because in the beginning you usually have none or very few. You need to cold email alumni and anyone you want to talk to to get a shot at some of these roles. I think your situation of switching happens, but it doesn't happen to everyone and that person who's a VP in their life might not hire them. Better to reach out to anyone you can, people like to help others who put in the effort.

Nov 3, 2018 - 7:39pm

Go to ULI and NAIOP and have good conversations with 3-5 people at each event. Get their business cards and follow up with a coffee meeting within the next week or two. Do this once per month and you should have a minimum of 30 new contacts from all aspects of the industry by the end of the year.

At that meeting, talk about what they're doing, where they see themselves going, and then the same thing for you. Someone will probably know something that can get you an in somewhere.

Nov 5, 2018 - 12:22pm

Yes, I am currently employed and networking. Per MonopolyMoney I am also going to industry events and following up for coffee/drinks. Additionally, I cold email alums from my UG University and existing connections anytime I read articles about their firm or industry niche. I am always "trying to meet good people" - able to speak intelligently about my deals and learn from others who are more established in the field. CRE is a relationship industry and I even mention to my MD some of the people who I am grabbing coffee with and he is cool with it.

Space and place.
  • 1
Nov 5, 2018 - 2:17pm

Can you speak to how you are approaching these people, and how you approach grabbing coffee with them? I have gotten some great responses from above but I think it would be beneficial to myself, and others to hear how you are approaching these things, and how you are able to network in a way that doesn't come across as wanting a job right away.

Nov 5, 2018 - 2:58pm

Approach at the conferences? Pretty straightforward - just be confident, smile and introduce yourself. Approach grabbing coffee - I never linger with people at events (unless they are a coworker or friend). You should chat for as long as the conversation is engaging and worthwhile. When it's dying down say you need to grab a bite/drink, use bathroom, see someone etc.... you get the point. At this point, express that you enjoyed chatting with them, exchange cards and indicate interest in coffee/drinks to learn/chat more about whatever information they have provided you.

Space and place.
  • 1
Nov 8, 2018 - 8:31pm

I have done this over my entire RE career. If I admire a project someone had built or designed, or if I like an article they read, or was impressed at a talk they gave, I'll shoot them an email agreeing coffee or lunch. I always make it clear that I have no agenda other than meeting interesting people. Hit rate is probably 75%. Highly recommend it, since I've made better connections with this technique than I have with uli.

Nov 9, 2018 - 12:23pm


This is exactly what I was looking for, and trying to do. I wanted to meet those working on projects that I find interesting, or firms I find interesting and pick their brain on background, day to day, and how the deal went. I am not looking for a job, but it would be nice to have the network to use for when I actually need it.

How did you reiterate that you weren't just looking for a job and wanted to meet interesting people?

Anything else that comes to mind feel free to add.


Most Helpful
Nov 9, 2018 - 1:01pm

Keep is short and to the point. You should ask for something, as it creates a sense of reciprocity that people want to fill. Obviously don't ask for a job or anything like that. Ask for advice or feedback, which is flattering. Act like a peer and people will treat you like one.

"Hi Name,

I saw your recent [project, talk, book, whatever] and was really impressed by Whatever. I'm a [whatever work you do] here in [wherever you work], and [here's your professional or intellectual connection to whatever interesting thing it is that they are good at talking about].

Let me know if you'd like to meet for coffee or lunch. My only objective is to make a new connection, have an interesting conversation, and learn more about x.



Nov 9, 2018 - 3:31pm


I have done this over my entire RE career. If I admire a project someone had built or designed, or if I like an article they read, or was impressed at a talk they gave, I'll shoot them an email agreeing coffee or lunch. I always make it clear that I have no agenda other than meeting interesting people. Hit rate is probably 75%. Highly recommend it, since I've made better connections with this technique than I have with uli.

Hah, I can't say I agree with it being more helpful than ULI, but every single person reading this site should read this post. This is the main way I have gotten anywhere in my career.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

  • 4
Nov 9, 2018 - 6:17pm

ULI has a lot of benefits beyond making targeted connections, so I wouldn't say that this technique is more helpful than being a member. With that in mind, what I said is that I have made better connections with people by doing this. Which is true. If I had to guess, it's just because it's much more targeted and people let their guard down more in one-on-one situations. You can go straight from a strong conversation over coffee to dinner at your house, which is a little different from your typical ULI event.

Nov 11, 2018 - 8:52pm

how do you recommend making a connection with someone that you come across on a company website / linkedin whom you know won't be at any of the same in-person events you attend? Cold emailing / cold calling sounds to be the only way


  • 1
Nov 12, 2018 - 6:46am

There you have it then

Commercial Real Estate Developer

  • 1
Dec 8, 2018 - 10:30am

I've got a bit different situation, and I'd highly appreciate your opinion here. I'm working for past few months in one of BB as an Analyst - my #1 bank of choice. It happened that I have to move to a different country due to family reasons. I don't want to leave my current company - but don't mind changing the departments.

What do you think about sending a cold internal email to MD, that i found very interesting, asking for coffee
(including all details that a good email should have) informing that I'll be arriving to that city soon?

Dec 11, 2018 - 11:44am

Kind of curious, how do you go about setting up meetings with people who are little bit further away from you? Let's say within your metro area or near proximity but on the completely opposite end, think like working in Manhattan and connecting with someone in Stamford, San Francisco-San Jose, LA-Newport Beach. I tend to default to a call for those cases just because of the challenges of getting there, but wanted to see what others do.

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