How to Write an Email to a Potential Employer

how to write an email to a potential employer
Table of Contents

You’ve researched and evaluated the company. You’ve identified who you think could be a short list of hiring managers and now you’re ready to reach out. But, how can you be sure you’re crafting an email that will accurately depict your skillset, showcase your personality, and generate a response? Follow this 5-step method on how to write an email to a potential employer for the best possible outcome!

Step 1: Start With a Clear Subject Line

An email’s subject line immediately garners interest in someone’s inbox. It is the sole reason for opening an email, so an enticing subject line is just as significant as the context of the message inside. 

When cold emailing a potential employer, get creative – but not too creative – with your subject line. You still want to remain professional and clear about your intentions without appearing as spam. 

Use the following templated examples to get you started: 

  • “Highly interested in working for you one day” 
  • “Willing to move to work for [company name]” 
  • “How can I become an employee of [company name]?” 
  • “[Person’s name] told me to reach out regarding your open position”

Step 2: Address the Appropriate Person

Do your research ahead of time to know exactly who you’re pitching. Search for the company on LinkedIn, browse its website, and find a hiring manager or HR representative’s name to personalize your message. If you’re having trouble finding an email address, use this resource from The Muse to help.

Begin each cold email by addressing the recipient by name. Research shows that including the recipient’s name or company name can boost the average response rate to over 9%. Choosing the generic route, like “Dear Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern,” will prove that you didn’t put any effort into this engagement. Hiring managers will seek opportunities to disqualify candidates and minimize their list to get down to the best talent. Personalization is key.

Step 3: Share the Value You Can Bring to the Employer

Approach this email like an elevator pitch. You only have a few seconds to immediately grab the potential employer’s attention and pique their interest to learn more about you. 

Consider structuring your email to follow this outline: 

  1. Elevator pitch: 2-3 sentences 
  2. What you like about the company: 2-3 sentences
  3. Why you’re a good culture fit for the company: 1-2 sentences 
  4. Your desire to get started: 1-2 sentences
  5. The Ask (Closing): 1-2 sentences 

Be sure to show passion and excitement in your writing to sell how eager you are to join the team. If humor is a big part of your personality, include a few catchy sentences to remain true to yourself. 

Step 4: Attach Your Resume and Cover Letter

Attaching your resume, cover letter, and portfolio PDF is always a good idea when cold pitching to potential employers. If you use the real estate space on the email effectively, there’s no doubt whoever is on the other end of that email will want to get to know you further. Providing those assets upfront allows them all the resources they need to make a thoughtful decision.

As a general rule of thumb, don’t ever copy and paste your resume directly into the email. Not only does this throw the formatting off, but it wastes the opportunity to make that personalized connection. An article from GMass shows that cold emails that are 50-125 words long receive reply rates of around 50%. Keep your message short, sweet, and concise.

Step 5: Sign Off and Follow Up

Your sign-off should be just as sincere as the rest of the email. Thank the recipient for their time and send them well wishes as they spend time tackling the endless applications they received for this highly sought-after role. 

Finish your email mentioning that you will follow up in one week to give ample time for the recipient to review your information. Create a task or set a calendar reminder to ensure you keep your word and stay persistent. 

If you follow our 5-step approach above, you’ll set yourself up for success in generating a response from that potential employer. Or, even better, you could get a recruiter’s attention, which could be the beginning of a beneficial long-term relationship. Working with a recruiter has more perks than one and can greatly assist your career search. Learn more by reading How To Develop a Long Term Relationship With A Recruiter.

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