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Cold Emailing for Internship

Mojito's picture
Rank: Senior Baboon | 216

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.

MIchael2:

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.

Best,
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.

Read More About Getting An Internship On WSO

Comments (463)

May 26, 2014

If I am looking for an unpaid internship over the summer, is it better to mention the internship in the cold email or to arrange an informational interview? I don't think I have enough time to arrange an informational interview and then provide my resume.

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May 26, 2014

I just went through recruitment for FT analyst roles as a non-target and networked heavily with a variety of banks to end up with a BB offer. My advice would be to use cold e-mails. I know Mergers and Inquisitions/WSO might suggest calling the front desk/analysts, but I found cold e-mails to be sufficient enough to set up informational calls. From there, it's up to you and some luck to determine if it works out.

A couple other things to consider:

1.) Since it sounds like you're targeting small shops, only e-mail one person at a time when the firm is really small. Bankers talk. I had the experience of an analyst call me out for cold e-mailing a large percentage of his coworkers.

2.) Unless your heart is set on a boutique bank offer, consider sending e-mails to larger banks too. Small banks may not be looking to bring on as many new people, and there's no harm in shooting off cold e-mails to make connections at larger banks. You'd be surprised how receptive the larger banks can be to a non-target.

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May 26, 2014

Thanks for the advice, I have been careful to only contact 1 person per shop. I have only really tried to network with analysts and associates which I think is a flaw in my strategy - even though it seems a lot of the analysts in small boutiques have some influence over the hiring process. I'm going to start targeting MD's now.

I will try and network with the larger banks as well. I personally thought it wouldn't be worth my time for two reasons:
-I'm from a true non-target (not even a top 100 school)
-I have no relevant IB internships and am currently working in corporate banking at a regional bank.

By the way, did you have any IB internships to help land that FT BB offer?

May 26, 2014

Go with email.

And definitely agree with point 1) of the above poster's advice -- I emailed all five head honchos in a small office once and realized after the fact that it was probably kind of stupid. Especially considering it's a template email and says the exact same thing, just replacing the name at the top. Ideally they just silently delete it, but I've done informationals where an MD will say that one of his co-workers got my email, too. The convo without a doubt goes like this...

MD1: "I get all these damn kids sending in these solicitations to work here every now and then."
MD2: "Yeah I got an email from this guy SF_G today."
MD1: "I got the same fucking thing."
MD3: "Yeah same here."
MD1: "He's spamming the whole fucking place it looks like. Just ignore em."

    • 1
May 26, 2014

What was your response rate for MDs?

May 26, 2014

Yea cold emailing was best for sure. I don't think a non-alum MD every responded to one of my emails though. You have to be careful networking the farther up the food chain you go. I've had friends tell me stories of informational interviews with MDs that turned into phone screens with techincals and everything. Analysts remember what it was like to be in your shoes and are generally more chill when it comes to the phone calls, MDs just want to make the call as efficient as possible. Last tip, cold email people who started at non-target schools too. Someone who had to cold-email will sympathize with the process you're going through more than someone who went to Harvard.

    • 1
May 26, 2014

Def cold email. Cold calling these people is kind of abrasive (some will like it cause it takes courage to just randomly cold-call someone but most won't).

At smaller place like EBs / MMs its definitely tougher. You have to space out your emails in case people talk to each other and everyone gets the same email. Send the email to the most likely person to respond (based on commonalities you have with this person) and customize the email. After email this person a couple of times and if they don't respond, move on to the next.

If you have a short time frame you want to email people of multiple levels who will less likely talk about this kind of stuff with each other.

    • 1
May 26, 2014

I have seen success in cold emailing. I think it depends on the size of the boutique when determining how many emails to send out. Larger boutiques I have found that mid-level bankers are more receptive than MD level. At smaller boutiques <50 bankers I have found the opposite and that MD's are more responsive. I am sure it differs from bank to bank, however.

May 26, 2014

What is this for? Sophomore internship? SA? FT? If this is for an internship, just pick up the phone and call. Most of these places have no formal recruiting in place, but could still use some help. If this is for FT, it would be best to get informationals first through cold emails because I feel like relationships matter for FT (since a FT is a much bigger commitment).

May 26, 2014

Cold emailing the right people really makes a difference, but at the same time, cold-calling the right people make a difference as well.
My mentality - if someone wants to help, they will help regardless of the method you chose (whether it's by cold-email, or by cold-calling).

May 26, 2014

Any advice for a non-target student with a low gpa (3.0)? I always wanted to network but I feel like even if I create a relationship with someone at a bank my GPA will discourage the employee to recommend me to HR/management.

May 26, 2014

Cold calling worked much much better for me (as a non-target from the Northeast) and landed me the job I currently have. PM me if you have any questions.

May 26, 2014

I'd say it depends on more if you're a smooth talker or persuasive writer. Although, I have gotten responses to emails with typos (one of the risks involved when not using a template). Most people are just skimming through these things. They all know what you really want.

I'm more of a smooth talker or at least more confident that I am in person, rather than over the phone, so I always push for meeting for coffee or a drink in the email.

Also something I've had some success with. Never attach a cover letter. Use a stock pitch, case study, or anything that is at least some what relevant to the job. Cover letters are just a formality that wastes time for everyone involved. Since you're not dealing with HR, I see no need for the stupid fucking formalities.

May 26, 2014

Seems too robotic to me. Should be slightly longer (1-2 more sentences) and maybe mention that it would just be a quick, 10-15 minute conversation (even if it goes longer, that's fine). Try to make it a little more personal when possible.

May 26, 2014

Add a sentence that lets the person know how you came across their name/firm/whatever and creates some form of connection.

May 26, 2014

It all depends on your preference. These people that receive these e-mails already know you're reaching out for an internship. When I cold e-mailed senior positioned bankers, I included my resume "for reference" in the first e-mail. Some frown on this saying that it is too forward, but it has worked for me. I don't think it'll make or break or break your e-mail. Why waste their time (that they don't have) going back and forth?

May 26, 2014

I'm interested been a pain in the ass no alum in banking and basically been cold calling anybody that would pick up. Always looking for way to improve.

As long as I am doing better then I am feeling and I do it to prove them wrong.

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May 26, 2014

very interested.

May 26, 2014

Alright, I will get started.

May 26, 2014

100%, appreciate it

May 26, 2014

Thanks for your time and effort looking forward to the post. Wondering will it be put under a different thread or this one?????

As long as I am doing better then I am feeling and I do it to prove them wrong.

May 26, 2014

New thread.

May 26, 2014

Lookng forward to seeing this guide

May 26, 2014

I will give you 5 SB's

You speak in in varying levels of verbosity.You often adopt the typing quirks of others as you find it boring to settle on styles.

May 26, 2014

I've already written 3+ish pages. Working on condensing it. I will probably have it up tonight/tomorrow. Quick question, Does anyone know the character limit on posts?

May 26, 2014

Just put it in numerous parts, for the sake of not having to cut content.

May 26, 2014

Don't think you will have any problem with that. I've read threads that the original post was 2000-3000+ words.

May 26, 2014
Big_Red:

I've already written 3+ish pages. Working on condensing it. I will probably have it up tonight/tomorrow. Quick question, Does anyone know the character limit on posts?

Hey Big,

Thanks for this, really appreciate it. I was wondering if you had any updates on the guide.

May 26, 2014

Absolutely would be interested.

May 26, 2014

I'd read it. Very interested.

May 26, 2014

This is awesome. Thank you.

May 26, 2014

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

May 26, 2014

bump

May 26, 2014

Bump Bump

May 26, 2014

If you're talking about this upcoming summer, then recruiting will be done for a good amount of firms. You're going to have to reach out to a TON of smaller boutiques(smaller than the ones you listed) and do it quickly.

May 26, 2014
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