Why does no one respond?

Hey guys, I am a rising senior at UCSB and over the past couple weeks I have sent out probably 100 personalized e-mails to alumni and people from other UC schools. However, I've only gotten 6-8 responses back. I have Yesware installed so I can see that I got the right e-mail address but why does no one respond? How can I make sure that they respond to me? Also, if they don't respond and I want to follow up, what should I include in that e-mail?

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Comments (39)

Aug 12, 2015 - 12:53pm

Hi XXX

My name is XXX and I found your contact information through Linkedin.

By way of introduction, I am a rising senior at UCSB majoring in Economics/Accounting and this past summer I have been interning at a private equity firm called XXX. I am hoping to begin a career within investment banking, specifically in San Francisco and within tech.

I am reaching out to you because I see you landed an offer from MM bank without interning there. I was wondering if you have a few minutes to speak over the phone regarding your experience at MM bank and any advice you might have for yourself if you were a senior again at UC Davis. Would you be free anytime this Friday 8/14 or Monday 8/17 for a quick phone call?

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Aug 12, 2015 - 12:14pm

It could possibly be the email. You should post the generic structure of it on here (obviously take out all the personal information) so you can get feedback regarding the overall quality of the email.

The cold email response rate is probably somewhere between 2-5 percent for most people. It's really a numbers game.

I would personally wait about a week before I tried to follow up. Have you considered installing one of the chrome extensions that allows you to see if your email was opened?

Aug 12, 2015 - 12:54pm

Hi XXX

My name is XXX and I found your contact information through Linkedin.

By way of introduction, I am a rising senior at UCSB majoring in Economics/Accounting and this past summer I have been interning at a private equity firm called XXX. I am hoping to begin a career within investment banking, specifically in San Francisco and within tech.

I am reaching out to you because I see you landed an offer from MM bank without interning there. I was wondering if you have a few minutes to speak over the phone regarding your experience at MM bank and any advice you might have for yourself if you were a senior again at UC Davis. Would you be free anytime this Friday 8/14 or Monday 8/17 for a quick phone call?

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

This is basically the email I send with the " I am reaching out to you" line personalized for each person.

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Aug 12, 2015 - 12:26pm
mw291:
over the past couple weeks I have sent out probably 100 personalized e-mails to alumni and people from other UC schools

If you're sending such a bulk of e-mails, I assume your classmates are too.

How many of these e-mails do you think the recipients are receiving?

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.
Aug 12, 2015 - 12:58pm

yea i wouldn't reply to that

too much information and too formal. Any why limit the times for calls for two days?

"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
Aug 12, 2015 - 1:15pm

Once you have the nod, sure be proactive and suggest times. I guarantee some guys have read this and gone "i'm busy those two days..." and then got distracted by their PA's cleavage

"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
Aug 12, 2015 - 1:29pm

not sure what you mean by too formal ? I am doing some networking too, so Im curious.

For OP: (my opinion) its too wordy.

Hi XXX

My name is XXX and I found your contact information through Linkedin.

I am a rising senior at UCSB majoring in Economics/Accounting and this past summer I interned at xxx, a private equity firm.

I am hoping to begin a career within investment banking, specifically in San Francisco and within tech.

-- feel like this is too direct, I would go more indirect like I am looking for information on ib tech etc.

I am reaching out to you because I see you landed an offer from MM bank without interning there. I was wondering if you have a few minutes to speak over the phone regarding your experience at MM bank and any advice you might have for yourself if you were a senior again at UC Davis. Would you be free anytime this Friday 8/14 or Monday 8/17 for a quick phone call?

-- very wordy, something like
I noticed you landed an offer at XXX without an internship, and Im wondering if you have any advice for a wanna be rain maker like me yada yada. lol.

Aug 12, 2015 - 1:38pm

Way too long. I've sent 500 emails this summer and have 100 responses, aka, around a 20% response rate. Keep the email short as in what school you go to, what year, what you are studying, and then say you want to learn about their group/bank and ask if they have any free time.

I tried tailoring emails as well but found it a big waste of time because my response rate was not any better than sending a generic format. Actually, it was even lower for some reason (I tried this with 100 people too, so it wasn't a small sample size).

Also make sure you follow up after two weeks if they don't respond. I've noticed a lot of people put your initial email in some recruiting folder they have or something because they want to talk to you but then they completely forget about it because of work.

Aug 12, 2015 - 4:28pm

It's nothing special really.

Say you understand how tough work might be at the moment but you are still interested in learning about their background/bank/group/etc and you can talk whenever it is most convenient for them.

Aug 12, 2015 - 2:17pm

You're being way too specific as someone mentioned. I am sure a lot of people on this forum would love to be doing Goldman TMT in SF, and I am also sure a lot of people on this forum would be interested in taking Jessica Alba home at night, these are two very, very difficult things.

Say how you're interested in banking and want to talk about his experiences and how he got to where he is today. Talking about how he landed a job in the mm bank is also unnecessary. Ask if he has anytime in the near future, not specific dates, you should be tailoring to his schedule, not vice versa. Also don't say your experiences in MM bank. You want to make it seem like you are interested in HIM and not the BANK.

Aug 12, 2015 - 3:45pm

Like others have mentioned, they're too long. You will lose people's attention before the end of it. The majority, I would estimate, probably stop reading it about halfway through. (Before they get to, "I am reaching out...")

Try for three sentences. If you need four, maybe five, that's fine, too. Consider each one as its own paragraph, as it'll make it more readable.

Personalizing isn't bad; if it's generic template form it will be obvious to most. But on the flip side, personalizing takes a lot of time that would decrease the number of emails you're capable of sending out. High volume is important as well.

You may also want to reconsider the time you're sending these emails out. (This is a huge area of interest for people who do marketing for a living.) A lot of people write these emails late at night because it's the most convenient time of the day to do this. But if you send it then, it's going to be buried in their inboxes when they get to it in the morning.

So instead of sending them when convenient, either do it early in the morning (to get near the top) or better yet on a Friday. People are usually in a better mood on Friday, and aren't likely to bother with a random non-priority email in slot 21 of their inbox on a Tuesday.

I've never used special email software before, but if you can't be to your computer at a certain time, you can get some sort of plug-in that sends emails out at a specific time.

Even so, your 6%-8% response rate is actually pretty decent. That's not really that low at all. About average I would say.

Also, don't make the email 100% about YOU. There has to be something in it for the other individual as well. People mostly don't respond to these emails because there is nothing in it for them so it gets promptly deleted after a few seconds. Put yourself in their shoes. If you received your email, would you honestly respond to it?

Aug 12, 2015 - 4:46pm

If you are directly interested in internship opportunities, explain what you can offer to the bank and/or to their team. List any skills you might have (financial modeling, due diligence, administrative work, etc.) relevant to the job.

IF you are looking for internships during the school year, ask if any coverage teams are experiencing high deal flow and could use an extra pair of hands. Say you could provide assistance to the team immediately based your experience in X, Y, and Z. (Or don't say "immediately" if you're interested in internships at the firm for next summer, as you're not looking for one in the fall.) Things like that.

This is of course less relevant if you're just going for a standard outreach email. But really cut down what you have. You can say what you did in your original email in 3-4 sentences instead of seven. I would do something like:

"Dear Mr./Ms. (last name),

I am currently a (year in college) at (university name) majoring in (major(s) names) with (industry name) internship experience, and I found your name via (LinkedIn/alumni database/wherever).

I am emailing you because I am interested in a career in (industry name), and saw that you work for (bank name).

I would be very grateful if it were possible to arrange a short phone call to discuss your experiences at (bank name) and in the industry as a whole. Optional I would be available any time on (day names) between (hour time range).

Kind regards/best regards/thank you,

(First name)"

Aug 12, 2015 - 6:26pm

I just re-read your original post and forgot that you were a senior. I thought you had another internship summer, but as a senior you're looking for full time.

At this point, you'll need to be more direct with those you're emailing and make it clear you're in the hunt for full-time employment starting in June 2016 (or whenever). Doing basic alumni outreach or contacting those with a similar background to yours would be okay if you were a lower year in school, but at this point I think it's too passive for your particular situation.

I would aim for a 3-5 sentence email that covers the following:

1) Usual stuff (university name, major(s), prior internship experience)
2) What skills you bring to the table (valuation, deal analysis, financial modeling, etc.)
3) Asking if it's possible to arrange a call

Attach your resume as well.

You might also want to consider internship opportunities during the school year if that's at all a possibility.

And what about your private equity firm? What were your responsibilities and is there any chance your experiences there could lead to you rejoining? But of course maybe you would rather not and have your heart set on IB.

As for follow-up I'd wait maybe 1-2 weeks. You've already done your intro, so inquire about how to position yourself for full-time opportunities at that particular firm, skills you have from internship experience, and mention that your resume is attached.

Target your focus on boutique and mid-market firms. A lot of the full-time recruiting is technically over or well past the starting point at some firms with formalized recruiting processes.

Aug 13, 2015 - 3:12am

Skimming through this thread there is some really naive and poor advice. Do a search on this site on networking and emails etc., there's a wealth of info which people can't be bothered to repeat.

"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
Aug 13, 2015 - 6:15am

Dear OP,

I was reading an article today which talked about "productivity over efficiency". In your case, have you taken a moment to think about 1) what is your end goal?; and 2) is there a better way to accomplish this?

Instead of focusing too much on how to write a perfect email, have you considered other approaches that might help you to get what you want better? Just a few things on top of my head:
- Talking to your favorite college professors who might be able to refer you (college deans)
- Asking help from family members and relatives who knew someone that knew someone
- Seeking advice from people that you were in student clubs
- Joining local finance related organization (i.e. CFA, Association of Corporate Growth - ACG)
- Enrolling in one of those physical financial training program course (i.e. Analyst Exchange/NY School of Finance)

Net net, what I am trying to say is that writing emails is just one of the tactics. There are many other ways to get what you want. As my best friend would have said, "If the front door is locked, just don't give up; try the back door, the window, the chimney - just don't keep doing the same thing."

Or as the awesome Harvey (I) would have said:
Harvey : What are your choices when someone puts a gun to your head?
Mike: What are you talking about? You do what they say or they shoot you.
Harvey: Wrong. You take the gun, or you pull out a bigger one. Or, you call their bluff. Or, you do any one of a hundred and forty six other things. If you can't think for yourself, maybe you're not cut out for this.

With Love,
Harvey

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