Even though more and more of our interpersonal interactions are taking place on Internet-based communication platforms, the importance of a good first impression hasn't been diminished. In fact, it might be even more important in the digital world.
Employers and other professionals are so inundated with communications - emails, texts, social media, etc. - that it's even harder to make your name stick in their heads. That's why it's so important to know how to make a good first impression.
You won't always have the benefit of having a warm introduction to everyone, so it would behoove you to learn how to send an effective cold email. Here are six tips for sending cold emails to network with busy people or to get the attention of a potential employer.Even though some people doubt the efficacy of sending cold emails, emails to people with whom you have never spoken, they are still one of the best ways to forge a connection with someone new and begin a new relationship. Best of all is that while in-person social skills can be difficult to master if one isn't a natural at them, learning how to craft a great self-introduction through email is something that anyone can learn.
"It's so important to know how to make a good first impression through email."
Learn about the person you're about to email
Before you even send your email, do some research on the person you're interested in talking more with. At a minimum, you should know the person's full name, their title and some background information. LinkedIn works well for this type of research, so don't be afraid to use it. Additionally, by learning about this person, you'll know if they're someone that you would benefit from knowing and who would benefit from knowing you.
Send your email on the weekend
During the week, most professionals have to constantly battle to keep up with the deluge of emails they get. The Harvard Business Review noted that weekends tend to be less intense, making them a perfect time to send your email. Contrary to expectations, many executives and high-level people use the weekends to read email.
Craft a catchy, informative subject line
Remember, the person you're emailing is probably already dealing with mass quantities of email. That's why, as Mashable explained, your subject line must be attention grabbing. Make it short, catchy and informative. For example, if you found the person through an alumni network, write something like "Fellow NYU graduate interested in learning about X position."
Explain how you came across their name
Imagine if you did some serious research on someone you were interested in meeting, and then approached them at a cocktail party and recited their professional life story to them. They would probably be very uncomfortable and unwilling to continue the conversation.
The same goes for cold emails: Explain how you found them so they know it was through legitimate means. Comfort is key in all relationships and this is no exception.
Keep it short and simple
As Mashable said, get right to the point. Your email should be no more than a few paragraphs. Don't tell them your life story - explain to the recipient who you are, how you found them, and what you want. If it applies in your industry, include a link to your portfolio or LinkedIn profile.
Additionally, make sure you proofread your email. Even the most concise email can end up taking awhile to read if it's typo-ridden.
Prepare to follow up
Cold emails do have a high failure rate on the first try: The Harvard Business Review estimated it's somewhere between 50-90 percent. Don't get discouraged if you don't hear back. Wait a few days and try again. This shows persistence and passion without being a nuisance.