how to cold email for an internship

How to Cold Email for an Internship

Learning how to cold email for an internship or job is a valuable skill set to acquire. There are best practices to follow and in this post you’ll learn what you need to know and why it’s important.

Sending cold emails is one of the most effective ways to secure an internship or a job. Despite this, it is not uncommon for students to think of sending cold emails for a job as a daunting task.

Often, this leads to an over-reliance on the mass-fabricated templates seen today, resulting in poorly written and impersonal emails. This post will share specific tips and practices to help you use cold emails to land your dream internship or job. 

How to Cold Email for an Internship
Internships Are Valuable

Make it Personal

Before sending off a cold email, you should reflect on the words you have chosen. Ask yourself if you could have delivered the same email to somebody else without changing anything. 

The reason for impersonal emails is often due to the cold email templates available on the internet. If you choose to use a cold email template, you should select one which allows for customization beyond the recipient’s name or company. Your email must read as though it has been tailored for the recipient and their expertise. 

There are several ways of making your cold email more personal. You could mention something about the recipient’s work that you have noticed, for example, a task that they had completed in the past, as this would result in a stronger connection. Alternatively, if you are aiming for a more formal connection, you could simply mention their team, this would show that you have conducted some form of research about them before sending a message. 

If you feel that your email is not customized enough, then you should endeavor to make revisions before sending it off. 

A Memorable Subject Line

You must understand that your subject line is the preview to the email, and as such what the recipient will see before opening it. The subject lines you create for your cold emails should not only be bold but also memorable. It should spark the recipient’s curiosity just enough to want to open it.   

An additional benefit of having a strong subject line is that the recipient would have no problems remembering it, as it is common for emails to get lost among the several that your targeted recipient may likely receive each day. With a memorable subject line, the recipient can come back to it later by recalling certain keywords you may have included. 

A memorable subject line does not have to be the most flamboyant sentence, it could simply be a phrase that is easy to recall, e.g., if you include the name of your university in your subject line, then your recipient can search for that in the future and quickly find your email again. 

The Strong Call to Action

A common mistake many individuals make when sending a cold email for an internship is failing to add a call to action. You want to make your recipient’s journey to engaging contact with you as smooth as possible, they are not going to chase you down. 

The call to action may be thought of as the “what next” section. Here, you should ask to initiate some form of contact or ask for a meeting. A common suggestion is to embolden or underline your call to action, as this leaves no doubt about what you are after. Alternatively, you may also put the call to action in a separate paragraph. 

Keep It Brief

You must remember that your cold email is going to be an unexpected arrival in the recipient’s inbox, they are not going to dedicate a lot of time to your email if it looks long. Your email should be concise but effective. Ensuring that you can state what you want in as few words as possible should act as a guide for you. 

The cold email is just a way to get your foot through the door and start a conversation with somebody at the company, it is not the conversation itself. In the body of your email, you should introduce yourself, state why you are reaching out and why they should get back to you. Afterward, you should finalize the email with your call to action. 

Related: What Is A Hight Ticket Closer?

A rule of thumb to follow is to time yourself as you proofread your cold emails. If it takes you longer than 30 seconds to read through it, then you may want to cut out a few words. 

Attach a Resume

Depending on the circumstances, attaching a resume may improve your chances of getting a reply. If you are simply looking to have a conversation with somebody working in your industry, then a resume may not be as important. However, if you are considering chasing an internship, then a resume is a great way to add credibility to your profile. This allows the recipient to quickly scan over your qualifications and judge whether you would be a right fit for their company. 


Cold emailing requires a large amount of resolve and patience to yield any success. There is a high chance you do not get a reply to your first email. The professionals you are messaging are almost certainly caught up in meetings and have a high amount of work to do, and you may simply be at the back of their priority lists. It is also not uncommon for professionals to intend to reply but forget due to their work. 

If you have not received a reply within a couple of weeks, do not give up, instead send a brief follow-up by replying to your previous email, asking if they have seen it. In addition to this, you should also ask if they would like any more information while reminding them about your call to action. 

If another week passes and you still have received no reply, then send one final follow-up before you consider giving up. 

Now You Know How to Cold Email for an Internship or Job

The direct access that cold emailing gives you makes it a proven way to get internships and jobs, but it requires patience, perseverance, and hard work. You should also understand that receiving a reply does not result in an automatic internship. Remember, cold emails are just the first step through the door. 

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