How to Write a Cold Email That Gets Read by a Recruiter

how to write a great cold email

How to write a cold email that gets read by a recruiter

As a team, we read hundreds of cold emails on a weekly basis. We also get asked by candidates frequently how to cut through the white noise of fellow job seekers, and the golden question, does a cold email actually work?


So, does cold emailing a recruiter actually work? 

Short answer? Yes.  

Now let’s get to the long version.  

No matter how instantaneous communication has become, sometimes, there’s nothing better than a good old-fashioned email.  Cold emailing can be an incredibly effective tool to market yourself to recruiters and hiring managers.  

Perfecting cold emailing can be a little bit more complicated than the infamous “Hello, I am looking for a job, please take a look at my CV for suitable opportunities” template but it isn’t a shortcut. Firstly, you don’t have a relationship with your intended recipient.  Secondly, you don’t know how the recipient will react to your email – so you can’t moderate your pitch accordingly.  

If perfected, cold e-mails can be a great approach. 

How do I write a cold email to a recruiter? 

Our co-founder, James Kevan, is an expert on recruiting in the Middle East and he shared some important pointers when it comes to perfecting the art of cold emailing.  

“You have to try and establish a unique connection with the recruiter. Talk about your value proposition and how you can become an asset to their team. And remember recruiters are busy people so make sure you can read your email within 30 seconds.”


Research before you start drafting your email 

Before you unlock your inner William Shakespeare and sit down to write the perfect cold email, it’s well worth your time to research. Everything from the company itself, the department that interests you, to projects they’ve undertaken, the role you’d like to fill, and even the person you’re trying to get the attention of. 

Secondly, go through your LinkedIn network to see if you have any mutual contacts. It’s always better to reach out through a mutual acquaintance because it automatically establishes a level of trust.  


Nail the subject line of your cold email 

Remember all that research you did. Use it to perfect your subject line. Adding unique details to your subject line will prove you’re not spam and that you care. And if there’s a mutual connection, here’s the best place to mention any references. Try to use no more than 9 words and 60 characters.


Keep the cold email brief  

You would think this one’s obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of e-mails conveying career stories spanning 6 large paragraphs that recruiters get.  

When you’re writing a cold e-mail, a basic rule to keep in mind is to always think from the recipients’ point of view. Recruiters receive hundreds of emails daily and time is limited. Even if they wanted to, a good recruiter simply wouldn’t have the time to read every email and do their job.  Try and keep your e-mail brief and to the point. Remember, the goal is to spark the recruiter’s interest and start a conversation. Think of it as your own personal elevator pitch – 60- seconds to sell kind of deal. So, keep it short and make it easy for recruiters to not slide you into the later pile. 


Keep it relevant  

If you’ve ever thought- 

“Oh, recruiters receive tens, if not hundreds of emails every day? Maybe I shouldn’t include that 10-sentence paragraph about the successful campaign I ran in college 5 years ago. Maybe. “- then congrats, you’ve hit the nail right on the head.  

What to include in your cold email is subjective. It depends on several factors, like the purpose of the email, the kind of company you’re contacting, among others. But generally, every sentence in your email should serve the purpose of marketing yourself to the recruiter.  


The formula for a great cold email to recruiters: 

Try tailoring your email to the following sequence:- 


You (as in the recruiter/company) 

Keep the first paragraph all about why you think the company you’re applying to stands out. This means you have to double-down and do some-yup you’ve guessed it- hardcore research. Take a look at the company’s “About Me” page. Read up on their case studies, mission and vision. Does something stand out to you? Can you resonate with their values? Write about it then.   

P.S a little bit of flattery goes a long way.  

P.P.S don’t overdo it.  

Me (as in You) 

Next, talk about you – the skills and experiences that will make you an asset to their team. Remember, you may have done your research about your recipient, but they don’t know anything about you. Here’s the part where you include contributions you’ve made to revenue growth, projects completed, and any other quantifiable growth. However, avoid sounding too sales-ey. Be subtle about your “sales pitch”.  


Finally, talk about the benefits you can bring to the company. Prove that you’re there to help and learn. Grab their attention by making them reflect on a problem they may have and tell them how you can help them solve it. But don’t give away everything just yet. Remember, you’re trying to just pique their interest.   


Don’t forget the Call-to-Action 

Wrap up your mail with a call to action. What do you want the recruiters to do by the end of reading your email? Your call-to-action may be scheduling a video conversation, giving you feedback, replying to you, etc.  

Don’t ask for too much. Start small by making your “ask” easy and actionable. 


Although condensing all the above in a short email can sound intimidating and hard to accomplish, once you get the knack for it, you’ll be able to draft cold emails easier and faster.  And you could be just one cold email away from landing your dream job.