Cold Emailing for Internship

Mojito's picture
Rank: Senior Baboon | 214

I was wondering how someone might write an email asking for internship opportunities. My school is not in the city and there are no i-banks here so I can't really set up coffee meetings. So, how would you structure your email and should I attach my resume with it?

Any help is much appreciated.

How to Cold Email for an Internship?

Cold emailing is often essential for the purposes of networking and in the case of the OP - it is critical. Below we review the process and the dos and donts.

Finding Contacts

The first thing to note is that your first point of contact should be alumni from your school. Whether or not you come from a target school - alumni will be the semi-warm contacts who will be inclined to read your email when it hits their inbox. Find the firms where they work and start there. You can find these alumni through your career center database or through LinkedIn searching. Use the advanced search feature to look for alumni that work in the finance industry at firms you may be interested in.

When reaching out to bulge bracket banks you should start with analysts and associates from your school and then try and get passed along through that process. End every phone call by asking - "Is there anyone else that you would recommend that I speak to in order to learn more?" If there are more senior people that are alumni at the bank - talk to some junior people first if possible. This helps you develop talking points about the firm.

It is important to keep in mind that associates and up are the ones that typically can have a good amount of impact. When reaching out to smaller firms - cold emailing VPs and MDs is more likely to lead to an internship offer than emailing the analysts.


Junior bankers and analysts are best to contact informally (friends of friends at social events, etc). They are great for advice to get your foot in the door, but they offer little knowledge of career trajectories or the upper workings of a firm.

Contact associates, VPs, and MDs - They are the ones that matter. They have the experience and knowledge to share, and, most importantly, they will be the ones that can help out come recruitment. Everyone you speak with at a firm will be judging you and seeing if you are a fit for the firm. If you are, then it is likely they'll put in a good word come recruitment.

Once you have the names of people that you want to reach out to look for the email formats in our company database which provides the email convention for each firm in the database.

Email Content

When cold emailing you need to strike the balance of passionate but not desperate and focus on finding a common connection that will lead to the professional getting on the phone with you. If you come from the same school your subject line should read: First Name Last Name | School Name or something to that effect.

Example Email:

Hello Linda,

I hope that this email finds you well. My name is Jamie Blankfein and I am a sophomore at XYZ University. At school, I am involved in the Wildcat Trading Society at XYZ University which has led me to develop an interest in learning about Sales and Trading careers on Wall Street. If you have any availability, I would love to have the chance to get on the phone with you and learn more about your experience working at XYZ Bank. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jamie Blankfein

Cold Networking Email Timing

Not every cold networking email will lead to a response. However, you can time them so that you are more likely to receive a response. Send your cold emails during business hours and not on Mondays and Fridays if you can avoid it. Inboxes are especially full on Mondays and you don't want to get lost in the shuffle. On Fridays - people are simply trying to get out of the office so you are a very low priority.

Send your emails between a range of 10 am - 4 pm.

If you don't get a response you can email again around 7 - 10 days later. Email in a new thread and do not reference your previous email.

Resume Inclusion

Generally speaking - when cold emailing it is not advised to include your resume on the first message. This can seem too aggressive/presumptive.

jlk5500 - Real Estate Analyst:

Secondly, I wouldn't attach my resume to the first email and I certainly wouldn't make it sound like you're gunning for an internship right off the bat, that can be a turn off to a lot of people. I think you'll have better luck setting up a general phone call for a discussion of the "industry" and their experience etc., hit them with the idea of emailing your resume while on the call.

However, user @cartman, a corporate finance manager, offers a different perspective:

cartman - Corporate Finance Manager:

I would definitely attach it. I've had people forward my resume to other people that could help without ever responding to my initial email. Don't know if that would've happened if they didn't have my resume to look at in the first email.

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