So you want to cold email me? Here's how you do it right.

wolfy's picture
wolfy - Certified Professional
Rank: Gorilla | banana points 636

This is an old post--I'm deleting it.
But here's an update:

It's been a while, and now I'm working full time. Our mentee group is pretty active on Facebook. Work has been busy, 18 hours a day, 7 days a week.

On cold-emailing: It can't hurt. Just email first before the cold-call. Don't feel entitled, tell your audience how you can help them. Instead of "I'm looking for," "I thought you might need a hand."

In that other post about emailing the VP of HLHZ whose wife is a principal at a top 5 strategy shop? My best friend got his full time offer after the cold-email led to him being HK's first intern. He worked his butt off, watched Youtube videos of Excel, lived in a small, small room, and finally things are going his way. Just one email, a lot of luck, and not spending a day questioning yourself, "what else can I do?"

The thing is, once you get a job after looking for so, so long, you realize that it's ... just a job. The best learning lesson for me, that I use everyday now talking to C-levels, is that I had a hard time, I had a unique narrative, and I got through it. I feel pretty confident now. I can sleep under my desk because the alternative is, ... well... all that over again.

So after all that crap, when you realize you'll get a job, it's the personal relationships that matter. Your buddy who will slip your resume into the pile, the introduction at the bar, your own mentor offering your mentee an internship within 5 minutes of lunch (happened 3 weeks ago while I was in Beijing)... that's what it is.

My intern at where I work got hired without an interview. It was me saying, you won't regret it; she's great.

So, keep emailing. Don't think it's above or beneath you. Ask your friends for their university recruiting logins. I post a lot of Boston College jobs in our Facebook group. Does it matter if you lucked out or followed a process to get that SA? Not really.

Just do a good job once you get it, and help some other poor kid.

Also, I kind of retired from WSO, so sorry if I haven't answered your PMs. I'll get to those very soon. Good luck guys. Every so often I read my desperate posts on here, and then I realize, wow, what a long way I've come!

-wolfy

Find Your Mentor

  • Increase your chance of landing a job by matching with one of our 200+ mentors.
  • Our mentors are top employees at the most selective firms.
  • Proven process with over 1,100 clients over 10 years.

Comments (63)

Dec 7, 2010

Lol @thank you cards. I don't have the balls to try that.

    • 1
Dec 7, 2010

Thank you wolfy this is a great post.

Agree 100% about the whole PUA w/r/t networking thing. Network with financiers as you would pickup women - not needy or overbearing, classy, and just plain smart.

Jul 21, 2012
zeropower:

Thank you wolfy this is a great post.

Agree 100% about the whole PUA w/r/t networking thing. Network with financiers as you would pickup women - not needy or overbearing, classy, and just plain smart.

Second this...and I like your avatar pic---> Canada Swaggggg

Keep it together and you will go far..

Feb 3, 2011

No disrespect but...How can you be an intern mentor?

Feb 3, 2011
Paul.Allen:

No disrespect but...How can you be an intern mentor?

e l e p h a n t

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Feb 3, 2011

anyone thinking about energy trading can email me at [email protected] and be nice

Feb 17, 2011

.

Feb 3, 2011

I've had 90+ conversations as part of my search, some of them several months ago. I sent everyone a thank you email within a day or two of the conversation. Do you guys think it's worth sending thank you cards at this point, to sort of keep up the relationship?

Feb 3, 2011

+1 for a fellow Tom Jones fan

"Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on 'income distribution', the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: it is earned."
-Thomas Sowell

Feb 3, 2011

How did this nonsense get resuscitated? I feel bad being the resident Wolfy-basher, but he didn't get a job in finance or consulting: the only thing that any of these unusual networking suggestions got him was polite rejections. An intern could be a mentor if he had good advice to hand out, but these are either platitudes or bad ideas.

Feb 3, 2011

I'm confused. As an intern, exactly what are you providing as a 'mentor'?

Feb 4, 2011
noway:

I'm confused. As an intern, exactly what are you providing as a 'mentor'?

It's called learning from others' experiences/networking

Feb 4, 2011
jjcannon:
noway:

I'm confused. As an intern, exactly what are you providing as a 'mentor'?

It's called learning from others' experiences/networking

And you need a mentor for this?

Feb 3, 2011

When I would cold email, say a partner by looking at a firms website, I would send a brief message saying who I was, what year I was at my school, and if they had a few minutes to talk sometime that week in regards to their company and the industry they're in (middle market, bulge bracket, etc). Never once got turned down. And a follow up thank you email helps.

Feb 3, 2011
brooksbrotha:

When I would cold email, say a partner by looking at a firms website, I would send a brief message saying who I was, what year I was at my school, and if they had a few minutes to talk sometime that week in regards to their company and the industry they're in (middle market, bulge bracket, etc). Never once got turned down. And a follow up thank you email helps.

This is exactly what I do also, works very well.

Feb 6, 2011
brooksbrotha:

When I would cold email, say a partner by looking at a firms website, I would send a brief message saying who I was, what year I was at my school, and if they had a few minutes to talk sometime that week in regards to their company and the industry they're in (middle market, bulge bracket, etc). Never once got turned down. And a follow up thank you email helps.

What year of college did you start doing this? Did you meet them in person or just talk over the phone?

I'm a sophomore looking for IBD internships looking to change up my strategy.

Feb 4, 2011

... well this is awkward....

Feb 4, 2011

Really confused, so he's not in finance or consulting?

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Feb 4, 2011

Regardless of the OP's background, experience, etc... I like the suggestion of getting a beer vs. coffee or lunch.

I'm on a drug. It's called Charlie Sheen.

Feb 6, 2011

Matrix, I could not disagree more.

How is this considered a 'bad idea' ? If you consider this a bad idea, what do you consider a 'good idea' as far as networking goes?

I've found that catching someone by surprise by being a tad unique in your approach is all it takes to get the ear of someone important. Not everyone was automatically given their first IB job on a silver spoon. A lot of higher ups have actually had to hit the pavement and send out emails and make face to face introductions with people they've never met.

Just the other day I went out to about 15 firms and introduced myself personally and handed my resume off. Some of the reactions I got were phenomenal. From 'Wow, that's really great of you' to 'How about we talk for a minute now?'

I have 2 interview lined up this week just based on those introductions, that you guessed it--started with an email.

I think this is a very good thread for those out there who may be new to an area/may not have connections or those of us that just HAVE BALLS.

Nov 15, 2012

@rothyman: So you emailed them first and then dropped by their office? It's a great idea -- providing the receptionist is nice!

Feb 6, 2011

No one wants to cold email you.

Feb 8, 2011

Are you serious about "offering a hand" in a cold email??!! The work that the people you're contacting do is all confidential, nobody in his right mind would outsource even buying coffee to an unknown person who just happened to write an email. It would make you look like you have literally zero knowledge of the industry (be it IB, consulting or any other) and no common sense whatsoever. Someone might even think you're a competitor trying to gain some information. Don't do that, ever!

The other advice on introducing yourself is good but cold emailing works better if you ask a specific question. When I get cold emailed and I get something along the lines of "Hi, I'm XXX, this is my CV, can you help me get into consulting" I'm like, dude, I don't even know you, what do you expect? If there are some questions (preferably ones showing some knowledge of the industry or company) it's possible to start a dialog and build a connection over time.

    • 1
Feb 28, 2011

Has anyone had success in obtaining internships through cold emailing? Does it show initiative? a complete waste of time? thoughts?

Mar 27, 2011

How can students help the individual they are cold-emailing/cold-calling?

Mar 28, 2011
austrianliberty:

How can students help the individual they are cold-emailing/cold-calling?

Typically you're not going to be able to help this person being that they've been in the industry far longer than you have.

It's better to take an approach kind of like, 'Hey I'm extremely new to the field and I'm looking for some suggestions or experiences to how you successfully got into the industry. With that said, I'm extremely driven, hard working, and I've done my homework enough to know exactly what it is you do'. If you give off that type of non-arrogant, but very driven vibe in an email, good people will give you good responses. People who are busy/don't really feel the need to waste their time on someone below them won't.

However I have found that at least half the people out there (at least down south here, probably diff in NY) will reply to you and of that half, maybe half of them will give you a few paragraphs on how they got in and what it is you need to concentrate on.

Don't expect them to offer to meet up with you or even point you towards someone who could offer you a job. Even if they could do this, I can only imagine if a kid asked me for help I would want to see him succeed, but only on his hard work and time. Don't expect anything more than pointers and encouragement.

Jul 20, 2012

Anyone have an archive of this post saved? Thinking about switching jobs, time to get on the email train...

Aug 10, 2012

OP are you Chinese by any chance? You mentioned your best friend HK and you Beijing

Sep 13, 2012

What a horrible post.
It was supposed to be about "So you want to cold email me? Here's how you do it right" but it really wasn't. You deleted the old post because it wasn't relevant? If it was about how to cold email someone it would have been more relevant. Then you write sentences such as:

Instead of "I'm looking for," "I thought you might need a hand." and
In that other post about emailing the VP of HLHZ whose wife is a principal at a top 5 strategy shop?

I can't even understand you, learn how to write before trying to be a mentor why don't you?

Here's an example of how to write an article on this topic:
http://saleshq.monster.com/training/articles/154-h...

    • 1
Sep 13, 2012

Gold!

The Auto Show

Jul 23, 2013

is it okay to email the MD at a boutique if his email is listed on the website?

"anyone who believes money is the root of all evil, doesn't have any"

Jul 24, 2013

If you put your email address on the internet, then you're inviting emails.

Dec 30, 2013

@jfairchild01 that's a great link

    • 1
Dec 30, 2013

Its not that complicated. Keep it a couple sentences.

Dear Mr/Mrs. X,

My name is _____ and I am a *Insert year* at *Insert University, preferably this person went here too*. I am studying *Insert preferably related major* and am interested in gaining experience in the *Insert type of field, IE banking/consulting/etc.* I was wondering if you have a moment to speak with me as I am interested in hearing about your background and experiences as well as opportunities at *Insert firm*. Thank you for time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Name

If they are interested in talking then they will respond and you can tell them all about your background in the phone call/coffee meetup you schedule. If they don't respond, wait a week and send them a reminder email. The key to a response is generally being a student at his/her university and/or finance experience and/or same major (not as strong). If you have interned in the past in a related field then mention that also.

Also I don't attach my resume, I think it makes you seem presumptuous but opinions vary on this.

Dec 30, 2013
Quaneaser:

Its not that complicated. Keep it a couple sentences.

Dear Mr/Mrs. X,

My name is _____ and I am a *Insert year* at *Insert University, preferably this person went here too*. I am studying *Insert preferably related major* and am interested in gaining experience in the *Insert type of field, IE banking/consulting/etc.* I was wondering if you have a moment to speak with me as I am interested in hearing about your background and experiences as well as opportunities at *Insert firm*. Thank you for time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Name

If they are interested in talking then they will respond and you can tell them all about your background in the phone call/coffee meetup you schedule. If they don't respond, wait a week and send them a reminder email. The key to a response is generally being a student at his/her university and/or finance experience and/or same major (not as strong). If you have interned in the past in a related field then mention that also.

Also I don't attach my resume, I think it makes you seem presumptuous but opinions vary on this.

Dude this helps a lot!!! Thanks!!

G

Dec 30, 2013
gvc1992:
Quaneaser:

Its not that complicated. Keep it a couple sentences.

Dear Mr/Mrs. X,

My name is _____ and I am a *Insert year* at *Insert University, preferably this person went here too*. I am studying *Insert preferably related major* and am interested in gaining experience in the *Insert type of field, IE banking/consulting/etc.* I was wondering if you have a moment to speak with me as I am interested in hearing about your background and experiences as well as opportunities at *Insert firm*. Thank you for time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Name

If they are interested in talking then they will respond and you can tell them all about your background in the phone call/coffee meetup you schedule. If they don't respond, wait a week and send them a reminder email. The key to a response is generally being a student at his/her university and/or finance experience and/or same major (not as strong). If you have interned in the past in a related field then mention that also.

Also I don't attach my resume, I think it makes you seem presumptuous but opinions vary on this.

Dude this helps a lot!!! Thanks!!

That's a good skeleton... but you need to personalize it a little more. Highlight your connection... be more personal. Template emails go straight to trash too.

Dec 30, 2013
Quaneaser:

Its not that complicated. Keep it a couple sentences.

Dear Mr/Mrs. X,

My name is _____ and I am a *Insert year* at *Insert University, preferably this person went here too*. I am studying *Insert preferably related major* and am interested in gaining experience in the *Insert type of field, IE banking/consulting/etc.* I was wondering if you have a moment to speak with me as I am interested in hearing about your background and experiences as well as opportunities at *Insert firm*. Thank you for time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Name

If they are interested in talking then they will respond and you can tell them all about your background in the phone call/coffee meetup you schedule. If they don't respond, wait a week and send them a reminder email. The key to a response is generally being a student at his/her university and/or finance experience and/or same major (not as strong). If you have interned in the past in a related field then mention that also.

Also I don't attach my resume, I think it makes you seem presumptuous but opinions vary on this.

Nice one, in regards to the latter part of your post. How would you go about mentioning a related past internship without making the cold email look too long?

Dec 30, 2013
Falcon:
Quaneaser:

Its not that complicated. Keep it a couple sentences.

Dear Mr/Mrs. X,

My name is _____ and I am a *Insert year* at *Insert University, preferably this person went here too*. I am studying *Insert preferably related major* and am interested in gaining experience in the *Insert type of field, IE banking/consulting/etc.* I was wondering if you have a moment to speak with me as I am interested in hearing about your background and experiences as well as opportunities at *Insert firm*. Thank you for time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Name

If they are interested in talking then they will respond and you can tell them all about your background in the phone call/coffee meetup you schedule. If they don't respond, wait a week and send them a reminder email. The key to a response is generally being a student at his/her university and/or finance experience and/or same major (not as strong). If you have interned in the past in a related field then mention that also.

Also I don't attach my resume, I think it makes you seem presumptuous but opinions vary on this.

Nice one, in regards to the latter part of your post. How would you go about mentioning a related past internship without making the cold email look too long?

Just literally add a tiny snippet to the sentence.

Example: I am studying economics and have previously interned in private wealth management at Merrill Lynch, but I am looking to further my finance knowledge and gain experience in investment banking.

Don't need to ramble on about what you've done just say keywords like your job title or the company. Again you can explain everything you did in your resume when they ask for it and during your meeting.

Dec 30, 2013

I'll preface this by saying I've never been in a position to receive a cold email so I'm only speculating. I always make the assumption that the person I'm trying to contact is busy so I try to be as efficient and to the point as possible. The body of my email is my "cover letter". Put in 1 or 2 points that will compel the reader to read your resume. If you feel that compelling reason is that you went to the same university, go with it. Personally I would still add something stating how I would add value to the organization or something more compelling. If you want to meet for coffee, ask to meet for coffee. If you want an internship, ask for an internship. If you want a job, ask for a job. I don't have time for a drawn out song and dance so I assume the person I'm sending the email too doesn't either. Ask for what you want and if that's something that would require a resume attach it. Why make them read your email and then reply asking for a resume? Make it as easy as possible for them to say yes.

By the way I dont' think there are "basics" to cold emails. Be yourself, be honest, and give them something that will make them want to hire you. Much of that will hold true when you interview. You are starting the process of selling yourself, if all you have to offer is that you went to the same college I would work on something to separate yourself from your peers. What do you do better than others?

Dec 30, 2013

Thanks for the responses. Also, any suggestions on who to contact if given a choice? An MD or a more junior employee?

Dec 30, 2013

Thanks for the responses. Also, any suggestions on who to contact if given a choice? An MD or a more junior employee?

Dec 30, 2013

Experiment. Practice makes perfect.

It truly amazes me how many people post here asking to have their hand held an walk them through something basic like this step-by-step.

Just find out what works for you and what elicits a positive response.

My name is Nicky, but you can call me Dre.

Dec 30, 2013

In my experience short and to the point always works best, so looks good enough to me.

Only change I'd make personally is to ask for a phone call instead of asking to meet. Trying to get them in person is obviously preferred, but these guys are probably more likely to respond if they don't even have to leave their desks for it.

Just my 2 cents.

Dec 30, 2013

Yea I'd have to agree with abc, go for a phone call first. This way you not only gauge whether they could be a good resource but there also more likely to respond to a request for a call. Then you follow up on the calls that were successful (in the sense the person really took an interest and seemed helpful ) and schedule a time to meet face to face with those people.

When networking its important to realize that not everything will be helpful, so a phone call can almost serve as a screener to better optimize how you spent your time networking.

Dec 30, 2013

I don't think you should include your resume or ask how to get an interview in your cold emails. Its obvious that if they have openings for this summer, they will request a resume and maybe cover letter as well. If you ask how to get an interview, you seem like you are directly asking for an interview which, I hear, does not work well.

I haven't bothered with information interviews with MDs. I guess it depends on the size of the bank. I target analysts-specifically those who have a say in recruiting-for informational interviews. So far my only informational interview has not yet led to a first round interview...

Dec 30, 2013

^^ Completely disagree, if you are cold emailing they realize you are looking for a job. I cold emailed so many places my senior year with a nice quick 3-4 sentences explaining my situation and attached my resume. Sent it to the highest guy in that shop i could find, most responded with real nice emails. This is aimed at PE/HF straight out of undergrad because they tend to not have a formal recruiting class and may just have an opening at that exact time and call you in to talk.

Dec 30, 2013

"I thought we would basically just be asking the other party directly how their internship/recruitment process works and basically whether they're hiring - if they are, how you would get an interview".

Sorry bro but if you ask these kind of questions you will never get a response! all the information you are asking for can be found on the homepage or can be asked to the HR ladies (just give them a call if you have specific quesitons regarding the process)

You have to ask questions which are relevant, like "based on your experience is there anything special I should include in my application or pay attention to during the application process". And if they are willing to help you they will let you know. Don't attach your CV - if they like you and want to help you they ask for it.

so please don't ask questions you can answer by reading WSO, the career homepage or just by using google.

oOo

Dec 30, 2013

what did you sayin your email HFF? what was your interview rate from attaching your cv?

Dec 30, 2013

I guess we are talking about different types of banks. Lots of boutiques do not mention any summer opporunities on their careers webpage. In that case, I believe the best thing to do would be to email (anybody you can find) in HR asking if there are openings.

In the case that the application process is clear, is is better to cold-email MDs or analysts to try to set up informational interviews? Wouldn't your quesetions about working at the firm be more relevant for an analyst?

Dec 30, 2013

re #2, i believe i've seen others on here say you should attach your resume

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

Dec 30, 2013

anyone?

    • 1
Dec 30, 2013

there is not one.. just do what i try to do to women.. BLAST!!!

Dec 30, 2013

Here are some pointers on the cold email...

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/so-you-want-...

    • 1
Dec 30, 2013
mjames10:

Here are some pointers on the cold email...

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/so-you-want-...

thanks!

    • 1
Dec 30, 2013
Dec 30, 2013
    • 1
Dec 30, 2013

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

    • 1