Why are students not cold calling and cold emailing to get the internship they want?
I had the opportunity to intern with six world class companies in my collegiate career. Utilizing cold methods of reaching out landed me four of those internships. Now that I have graduated college and moved to the other side of the table advising students and career services offices, I have seen firsthand how cold calls have helped students secure internships with elite marketing agencies, top design studios, world class financial institutions, powerful political campaigns, and some of the fastest growing start-up companies in the world.
Why are cold calling and cold emailing so effective?
- They infinitely expand your potential. While reaching out to people you know limits you to the size of that network, cold methods expand your personal network and can provide you with opportunities you never thought were possible.
- They reveal the qualities that employers are most likely looking for in a candidate. I was speaking with a CEO this weekend that hires 5–15 college graduates a year. He said, “That is exactly what we are looking for in a young professional. Just the simple act of reaching out, warrants at least an interview.” When you make a cold call and go through the full recruiting process discussed in Cash in Your Diploma, you display many of the traits that companies want in an intern or employee. Placing a cold call or email shows resourcefulness: you have to find their contact information and use limited resources at your disposal. You come across as a self-starter with the initiative to get things done without someone giving you explicit instruction (although Cash In Your Diploma does, but we can keep that a secret). Following up shows persistence and dedication. Anyone can say in an interview that they possess these traits but using cold methods of reaching out confirms it.
- They give you credibility. If you have not ever sent a cold email or made a cold call, you would be surprised by how much people respect the effort and work ethic.
- They can present opportunities that are not publicly known. By nature these tend to be less competitive. Several of the firms I interned for were not running public recruiting processes or using formal job postings. Regardless of whether they have an internship program or not, they will consider taking a student who is proactive and possesses the traits mentioned in #2.
So if cold calling and cold emailing are the most effective ways to get an internship or full-time job, why aren’t students using them?
- They don’t know how, so they become anxious about process and reluctant to try.
- It isn’t mainstream or something that is taught much in schools.
- They fear the rejection. Students are afraid of getting told no, but not trying is accepting no right out of the gate.
- It isn’t easy. It takes a little more work than just uploading your resume to a job posting on your school’s internship board.
I define cold strategies as the process of reaching out to someone with whom you have no previous connection. Cold strategies involve finding the contact information of someone you do not know and sending them an email or placing a call to them. It can be challenging and frustrating, but when you master coming in cold, great things can happen.
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