What is a Cold Mail?
A cold mail is a mail sent without previous contact with the recipient. It can be an effective way to reach out to potential clients, partners, and collaborators. It is most importantly an effective way to reach out to professors in schools you apply to for a scholarship. In the previous article on scholarships abroad, we emphasize the essentiality of good cold mail. A good one offers an opportunity to get close to professors who share the same research interest as you. It also makes assistantships possible. Given the importance of writing a good cold mail, it could also be a challenge to get a response. If your interests lie in increasing your chances of success, it is essential to crafting a well-written and thoughtful one that addresses the interests of your recipient. In this article, you will not panic as writing one would be an easy skill.
Here are some guidelines to help you write a cold mail that does not only get results but would turn into a warm lead.
Use Your real name on the Email Address
Your email address should contain your real name. Do not use nicknames, guy names, name abbreviations, or catchy phrases on your email name when sending a cold mail. No professor will read a mail from firstname.lastname@example.org and take it seriously. Rather, using an email address with your real name, i.e PeaceIto@gmail.com is more compelling.
Addressing the Professor
When addressing the professor, it is considered not relevant to address him or her by their full name. You can address with the last name, i.e Dear Prof Makinde as it invokes a level of professionalism. This format stays the same when addressing a doctor.
Start with a Compelling Subject Line
Your subject line is the first thing your recipient will see, so it is important to make it catchy and relevant to their interests. You are sending a cold mail and so the professor would want to know the reason for the mail, go straight to the reason why you sent the email. Avoid using spammy or vague subject lines. Bear in mind that your professor does not know you so briefly introduce yourself and try to use specific keywords that will grab their attention. This will increase their interest before reading the actual content of the mail.
It is a must to keep it formal and avoid unnecessary compliments. Also, avoid the use of technical language as it comes off as unprofessional. Do not forget to mention the relativeness of your work and research to them. State previous experiences as it relates to what you intend to do. Avoid trying to sound needy. Instead, state the effectiveness you bring that makes it convenient to work with you.
Clearly state your purpose, and what you can achieve. Do not forget to enumerate the values you are going to provide. You would be at an advantage if you read some of the professors reach work and make reference to them in the mail. Avoid at all cost religion-based statements i.e God bless you as the person you are writing to might not share the same religious belief as you. Greetings like Merry Christmas or Happy Independence day are best avoided. Furthermore, do well to Avoid affectionate words.
The most appropriate time to send a cold email is in the morning. Program your mail to be sent in the morning. That way, the professor gets to see the mail early enough.
Note: Be sure to reach out knowing well what you want or are interested in. Do not send that mail with any ounce of doubt as it would be inappropriate to have cold feet from you after honoring your request.
Important Documents you Should Include
Certain documents are very well necessary when sending that cold mail. They include your academic CV, transcripts, and if needed, your test scores. If there are any forms of personal publications, add them as links to your CV.
Length of the Mail
When you are writing a cold mail, strive for moderation. It should not be too long or too short. If you can not explain your purpose in a few short paragraphs, consider breaking your email into multiple messages or using bullet points.
End your email with a clear request for the next step you want the professor to take. This could be to schedule a zoom call or a face-to-face meeting depending on the proximity. Be specific and provide any necessary details or instructions to make it easy for the professor to follow through.
Use a professional signature
Always remember to include your name, title, and contact information at the end of your email, along with relevant links or social media handles. This will help the professor learn more about you and make it easy for them to keep in touch. You can also include something nice by acknowledging their tight schedule and stating they can reply when they are free.
Double-checking your email for spelling and grammar errors before you hit send. Make sure the information in your CV tally with that in the mail. A well-written email will make a better impression and increase your chances of getting a response.
Waiting for a reply from someone important can be exhausting so I suggest not sending the mail when you are really in need of an assistantship space or anything at all. The professor surely has other things to do and might not reply to you as soon as you want that reply.
Above all these, always do a background check on the professor, and be sure the professor is very active in your research. We all have social media accounts and we utilize them every day but make sure you mind the contents and activities that go on in there. Remember you are attaching your social media handle therefore the possibility of the professor checking out your social media presence is high. You can strategically send as many emails as possible to different professors but not in the same school. You can limit it to two professors in the same school but do well to cancel and follow up on the one who replies first. Despite trying to maintain a level of professionalism in your cold mail, it is advisable to make it interesting and less generic.
By following these guidelines, you can craft a cold email that is professional, effective, and likely to get a response. Do not forget to experiment and try different approaches to see what works best.
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