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Landing Software Engineer Interviews Through Cold Emailing

By Joey Colon

For a given software engineer position at a tech company, that company may receive thousands of applications for the role. It may feel like a shot in the dark when you submit your applications, and for a lot of companies, it is. However, cold emailing is an extremely helpful tool that can potentially get you an interview at the one company you’re itching to work at. The hardest part of the recruiting season is being able to get noticed by a company.

Cold emailing is the act of sending out an email to a recipient. In this context, the ideal recipient is a University Recruiter for the company you are interested in.

How do you find a University Recruiter? LinkedIn. It’s relatively simple. You can either search for {company name} university or {company name} university recruiter. Linkedin also provides its own filters so that you’re able to filter by current company.

Now that you have a person of contact, you can send them a LinkedIn request with a personalized note right? Wrong. University Recruiters typically receive too many invitation requests and only show a fixed number of requests on the immediate requests page. Instead we’ll email them.

How do I find a recruiter’s email address? First, we need to find the generic email formats that people at that specific company use. To do that, I recommend Hunter.io (not affiliated). They provide an extremely useful interface for you to search what the popular email extensions are for a company

If it seems like there is no consistent patterns between email addresses at the company, another solution is to simply use an e-mail address permutation generator. This will generate all common email address combinations for this recruiter.

In most situations, multiple email formats that can be used, we need an effective way of determining which format the university recruiter is using. To do this we have two options.

Option one takes advantage of the fact that most companies are using GSuite for emails. In a new email window on email, you can paste emails you think that might be the recruiter’s and figure out which email has a picture associated with it by hovering over the different email addresses.

Here, we can identify that corgi [at] uber.com is a valid email address due to there being a picture present in the email address preview.

The second option is to use a tool, Neverbounce (not affiliated), that helps identify legitimate e-mails from invalid e-mails.

I have had great success with this service and recommend it to anyone who is looking for a free solution to finding emails.

I found the recruiter's e-mail address, but what do I say in the cold e-mail? It depends! Everyone's situation is different and you have to play to your own strengths. It is best to think of a cold-email as a pitch. You have the recruiter's limited attention. They have multiple emails coming in from students who are gunning for the same role as you. While this is advice is might seem overly abstract, that's because it is. This is a positive though!

When I was interested about cold-emailing, I was able to find dozens of resources online that assisted with guides on how to frame your "pitch". One resource I used was looking up sales cold e-mailing videos on YouTube!

If I had to give more specific generic advice on how to send effective cold e-mails. Your subject line matters the most. It's the gateway into getting them to open your e-mail. Here is an example e-mail I have sent:

If you don't have a flashy company to flex in your subject line, there has been winning subject lines that simply ask a question to get them to open. Also keeping your e-mails to the point is pretty important. Recruiters are also humans! I know if I get a wall of text as an e-mail, I'm way more likely to skim and end up closing the e-mail. Stick to the point and make your asks explicit. After all, recruiters want to hire the candidates that are excited about the role. If your e-mail exhibits this, then that is a major plus!

The recruiter didn't answer me. Should I follow up? Absolutely. After a few days of no response, sending a simple "friendly ping!" or "following up to hear about ...." responses will work just fine. The content of your bumps hardly matter as much as it does the content of your initial email. Bumping is just a mechanism to get your email to the top of their inbox in the event that they missed it. It happens. From various sources I have researched, the general consensus is to provide 3 follow-ups maximum.

To wrap up, the recruiting process involves in a lot of luck when it comes to landing the interviews. It is important to recognize that and to really put yourself in the best position, you should try your best at creating your own luck. Cold e-mailing is a great way to achieve exactly that.

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