Reaching out to others via cold email is an important part of building professional relationships online.
If you’re on Twitter, you’ve read a few posts about the importance and effectiveness of writing cold emails or cold DMs. Austin Schlessinger wrote about writing Twitter DMs and their value. Nik Sharma wrote a thread about writing a cold email to Mark Cuban. Toby Howell writes about landing a job through a cold email.
An important part of all these is establishing credibility in your outreach. How do you do this?
In Sriram Krishnan’s thread about cold emails, he notes that you must be “super clear on who you are.”
“2. Who are you? This is the critical part. Why are you worth paying attention to?
2a. Demonstrate credibility through your past institutions/roles. If someone gets a cold email from an exec at a large company, they’ll immediately pay attention.
2b. Show off a body of work. Link to your Twitter/a paper you wrote/a Github repo/your blog which is interesting and shows why you’re worth paying attention to.
I used to do 2b for years until I could start doing 2a.”
How do you start working on 2b? Create.
Saying you’re an analyst at a company and are interested in a topic won’t receive the same enthusiasm as someone who has clarity on their interests and a body of work to support it.
In this post, I’ll explain how to create more clarity on who you are, which is the key to writing cold emails.
For this story, imagine you are interested in the intersection of sustainability and business. The first step to creating clarity on yourself is to build some proof that you’re actually interested in this topic.
Explore exactly what parts of sustainability and business you are interested in. Learn from Coursera courses, YouTube videos, and essays online.
Next, prove your new knowledge and have some insights through writing. People on the internet must know that this is your passion. This takes some vulnerability, but it will be worth it.
Write a 500 word post on Substack. Publish it. Take on accountability and use your real name. Do you have an interesting perspective from your personal life? Does your current job give you unique insights?
(Side Note: This process is helping you to understand what you’re really interested in and care about. If you’re not excited to write and learn about it, can you find something more interesting?)
Now, find your people.
Check on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or your company’s internal site. Find someone a few years your senior in sustainability and business.
Next, send the cold email or Twitter DM.
To establish credibility, mention the course you took and post a link to that essay you wrote. Make sure it is brief and to the point.
If they don’t respond, no worries. People are busy. Try following up in a few weeks and send a similar message to a new person every week.
In no time, you’ll learn more about sustainability and meet some great people in the industry that you can stay connected with in the future.
MyMBA uses this strategy during the MyMBA Membership. Apply for our next cohort here.