I write about cold emailing to land new opportunities. A lot of the time. Taking the time to actually sit down and send a single, well-written email can be the difference between blasting out resumes and never hearing back and landing your dream job. Even when you see the best opportunity out there, you still need to send the initial job application email.
A lot of job posters require that you email them rather than go through a portal. They do this for a reason. One of the biggest reasons is that they want to see if you follow instructions well (an important trait to signal for if you’re going to be an employee of any kind). Noah Kagan, of Sumo fame, even sets up his inboxes so that his team doesn’t even see emails from people who didn’t follow instructions.
Another reason they do this is to see if you can actually go above and beyond in the email you send them. It’s one thing just to send in an email. It’s another to put yourself in the shoes of the person reading the email and impress them with what you send.
So, when Jerrod Harlan told me about how he successfully landed a dream opportunity from sending an email, I wanted him to write about it.
Two weeks ago, I was browsing a private copywriting job board I’m a member of. I saw a post from the admin of the group about a new client who was looking for two different copywriters to hire for some upcoming projects. The client happened to be a copywriter himself, and was willing to work with somebody newer to chief their copy.
Naturally, this seemed like a dream gig as I’m still a newer copywriter and went “full-time” freelancing around 3 months ago.
As soon as I decided to respond to the posting, a nasty case of imposter syndrome kicked in and my mind was telling me that it was “pointless to send the email since I don’t have enough experience and wouldn’t get hired anyway…” Well if that had been the end of it, I obviously wouldn’t be writing this post.
I got over my fears, typed out the email, hit send, and waited…
Here’s the email I sent him (strap in, it’s a long one):
Nice to ‘meet’ you. I’m Jerrod.
I saw the posting saying you were looking for 2 different copywriters. And I’d love to throw my hat in the ring for the short copy position!
They say you’re looking for somebody who’s hungry, has basic experience, and can take direction and feedback. If that’s the case, then I’m the perfect person for you.
- “Basic Experience” – I have been actively freelancing for a few months now. I’ve worked on multiple email campaigns, a product launch (emails + sales letter), and a multi-step funnel (multiple landing pages + emails).
- “Hungry” – I quit my job to pursue copywriting. Risky? Sure. Hungry to be the best I can be? YES.
- “Feedback and Direction” – I want all the feedback I can get. Like I said, I’m in this to be the best I can be. Getting feedback from you, a former Agora writer, is like a freakin’ dream come true. By the way, I’m not offended by anything you could say to me. Obviously I’m a fan of constructive criticism, but sometimes, new writers (myself included) just write sh*t. I’m not above being told that 😉
- BONUS – I can relate to your market. I grew up in a very conservative household, love the outdoors, and understand “right” ideology.
With that said, there are a few other things I’m supposed to mention here (per the posting):
I live in Pittsburgh, PA with my wife. We are expecting our first child in January. I quit my last career (owned and operated a brick n’ mortar print franchise) to become a full-time copywriter. If there was ever a time to make the leap, it’s NOW, before my child arrives.
My 3 favorite copywriters are:
- Ben Settle because of his positioning and attitude.
- Mike Shreeve because of his ability to communicate big ideas very simply and effectively.
- Andre Chaperon because of his ability to really connect to his audience with story.
(Wouldn’t somebody smart say Halbert… Bencivenga… Schwartz…? Yes, but I’m not here to lie. The three people above are my favorite to study, but all the “fathers” of modern copywriting are incredible as well!)
Unfortunately, I’ve never written in the survival niche…
However, this makes me more moldable since I’m sure you have a particular voice you want your copy to convey. You know the most important details about your market. I’m here to learn them.
Finally, I’ve included the emails from the course launch I worked on (attached to this email). And the sales letter is here:
Oh yeah, one last thing.
I’m not one of those copywriters that wants to hide behind my computer. I’ve been in face-to-face sales for my whole adult working life. This means I’m totally comfortable on the phone. Which makes it easier to not have to send a million emails back and forth if you just want to call me. Or, if it’s necessary for me to get on the phone with actual clients of your business to learn the market.
I’ve listed my phone number in the signature. If you’re interested in working with me, please respond in your preferred method (email OR phone).
All the best,
A day later, I got a response from him saying he loved my email. He also explained the first gig and asked if it’s something I was interested in working on. Long story short, I got the gig and started working on the project!
Here are two things you can do in cold emails to a job posting to get the hiring manager’s attention and separate yourself from the scores of other applicants:
Follow Directions For the Job Application Email
This is literally the simplest thing you can do to set yourself apart.
I bet if 100 people apply for a job, over 50 of them will screw up by not including the necessary info in their email. I don’t know why it’s so hard for people to follow directions, but I bet it has something to do with them blasting out hundreds of cold emails a day and not paying attention to the guidelines in the first place.
It’s a shame this phenomenon exists, but be excited in the fact at least half of your competition is getting rid of themselves before they even have a chance
It makes way better odds for you!
Actually Have a Personality
People are so worried about appearing “professional” they forget to embrace what makes them unique — their personality.
If you’re a sincere and warm person, show it. Inversely, if you have more of a comedic personality, show that (within reason of course). Just be yourself! If you’re humorous, and so is the person reading your email, they’ll naturally be very drawn to you. Similar personalities will attract and you’ll have a much better job because of it.
If you can send an email that shows you can perform the role they’re looking to fill, and can do it while also showing you’re a real person and not some “faceless” applicant, you’ll most likely at least get an interview.
We’ve established half the initial applicants were axed because they couldn’t follow directions. Now, how many of your competitors do you think will have personality in their outreach? I would venture to guess less than half of the initial half. This brings us down to less than 25 competitors out of the initial 100. Not bad considering you only had to do two simple things.
Don’t be scared reaching out to potential employers.
If you follow these two pieces of advice, I guarantee you’ll see a flood of new responses to your cold emails!
Jerrod is a direct-response copywriter who helps companies turn emails into sales. If you’re a business owner and would like to talk to him about increasing your email marketing revenue, please send him a message at JerrodBHarlan@gmail.com.