How To: Cold Email

Knowing how to cold email is an important skill. Maybe you want to invite a businessman or woman to talk at your school, maybe you want help from an alum at a specific company, or maybe you just want to chat about an industry with someone who’s worked in that industry. Regardless of what you are actually asking for, there are two main steps to sending a cold email that apply to any situation.

  1. Use your best internet stalking skills to find their email

    1. First, think of any databases or resources that you might be able to use to find the email. If it’s an alum of your school, check to see if your school has an online database of everyone’s emails. If the person is well known, search on google (sites like IMBD pro or are really helpful.

    2. If google searching doesn’t work, employ the second tactic – guessing their email. Send the email to yourself and BCC multiple options that their email could be. For example, if you are emailing Sally Smith at Google, try sally.smith@google, sallysmith@google, ssmith@google, and so on

    3. If you include enough options, you will probably find one that is successful

  2. Draft a concise, well-directed message

    1. The first thing you need to do is quickly identify who you are – start with an introduction of where you are in your life (I’m in X year at Y school, studying Z).

    2. Then make it personal! Do research on the person you are cold emailing so that you can include something specific about why you are reaching out to them

      1. Hint: Did they work on a cool team that you want to learn more about? Write an interesting article that you want to discuss?

    3. Lastly, make it clear what you are asking for

      1. I suggest starting small, and asking for 15 minutes to chat over the phone. Once you develop a relationship, you can build bigger

      2. It is important to include this at the end and be very clear about what next steps you would like take

    4. Remember – everyone is busy. The shorter the email, the better.


Follow these steps to send an effective cold email. Most likely, a majority of the people you will email will be too busy to reply - so make sure to send emails to more than just one person if you are looking for something specific. 

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