Career Development ITFI

5 Strategies to Help You Create Your Personal Cold Email List to Grow Your Network

Cold emails are a powerful way to start conversations that give you the opportunity to make new connections. They’re especially effective when you’re trying to find internships or volunteer opportunities or if you’re a freelancer who’s looking to connect with new companies and be added to their roster.

Usually, cold emails are the first step in a conversation with new companies. The goal of these emails is to get the person receiving them to agree to an informational interview or meeting where you can take a few minutes to learn more about their company and experience while also becoming a known contact to them. It’s an easy way to get exposure to new people, grow your network and even learn about possible opportunities within the company.

Now, in the last post, I broke down how to create your Ideal Company list based on your interests, beliefs and aspirations. If you haven’t read it yet, you can read it here. Doing so will help you create that list first so you have an idea of what companies you’re interested in reaching out to. (Be sure to download the checklist that corresponds with the episode to help you create your Ideal Company list.)

Before we can even think about informational meetings though, we first have to find the best people to contact by creating our Cold Email List and that’s exactly what I’ll be talking about in this post.

We’ll be breaking down how and where to find the ideal people to reach out to, creating your cold email list and the benefits to your career some of these strategies will have in the long run.

We’re only just starting out the second month of the entire year which means the opportunities are there and ready for you – you just have to know how to take them and make them yours!

Consider this your first step to reaching outside your comfort zone and expanding your network and your contacts…

WAYS TO FIND YOUR CONTACTS

There are many different ways to determine who the best people to reach out to are, but I do want you to understand that this is different for every person and depends on your individual career aspirations and the path you want to follow. 

Let’s break down all of the possible ways, some less traditional than others, that you can use to gather your cold email list.

1. LINKEDIN

First up is LinkedIn if you know me, you know of my eternal love for the platform…

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile yet, what are you waiting for?! You’re missing out on an entire network of professionals that could be potential resources within your career.

If you need tips and step by step directions on how to create a profile and use it to your benefit, be sure to listen to the episode “8 Game-Changing LinkedIn Tips & Tricks to Further Your Fashion Career” that goes over everything for you in complete detail. 

One of my favorite things about LinkedIn is the ability to see members of any company or organization with ease. Using the steps from my last post where you create your ideal company list, take the time to look up companies individually on LinkedIn. From there, head to their “people” section and you’ll be able to see everyone that is on the platform who works for that company. This is where your true search begins.

Now, before we begin, remember that we are creating a list of people for you to cold email with the goal of setting up an informational meeting or interview. Ok?

So – you’re on LinkedIn – now you have a few options here:

The first of these is that you can search for senior members of the company – CEO’s, presidents, etc. Don’t discredit or be afraid to reach out to people in these higher positions! Many times, they can connect you with other members of the company that could help you. A request of this nature from a senior member definitely holds value to anyone in that company receiving the message! You’ll be impressive from the get-go. 

The 2nd option is to find hiring managers or members of the human resource team and connect with them. Depending on the size of the company, there may be multiple HR team members. The larger the company, the larger their Human Resource team. I recommend looking for the one that handles the part of the company you’re looking to learn more about. Don’t worry if you don’t find them though – because this call is really just an introduction, any member of HR could provide information you need.

Your 3rd option is to look for people who have roles you’re interested in pursuing. This option is one of the most effective ones because you get to learn more about the role, the team and department, how this person got to where they are etc. 

Finally, as you’re searching for people within specific companies, pay attention to your connections. If you see that any of your contacts are connected to the person you want to reach out to, ask for an introduction! If your immediate thought is nerves or fear about what you would say, keep it simple.

You could say something like, 

“Hey Alex! I hope you’re doing great. I’m currently looking to learn more about the marketing team at LVMH and noticed you’re connected with Sam Smith who is the director of marketing. Could you introduce us via message? I’d love to ask him some questions to further my career and knowledge of this sector of the industry within LVMH. Thank you in advance!” 

See? Nothing to it.

If you see that the person you wrote to doesn’t get back to you within a few days to a week, gently follow up. If after that you still don’t hear back, move on and just reach out to the person you’re interested in connecting with directly.

2. ATTENDING NETWORKING EVENTS

The next way to find contacts to add to your cold email list is by attending networking events in your industry, whether in-person or virtual – it doesn’t matter. Just make it a point to attend these meetings and connect with people there. 

I know this option may seem nerve-wracking, especially to my fellow introverts – but the rewards truly outweigh the fear, trust me. Plus, it’s one of those things that you have to keep doing and after a while, you become used to it or just numb to it and it becomes less daunting. 

Now for those of you shaking your head no, I’ve got some ways to help you feel more confident when attending these events. 

    1. Research the event beforehand: Look up the attendees and the host of the event, it will help you to know the purpose of the event, who will be there, and what you can expect. Being prepared has definitely helped me feel more confident about attending and as you attend more of these over time, you’ll find that you might recognize names on the guest list!
       
    2. Come prepared: Bring business cards, a portfolio, or a resume to leave with potential contacts. Be sure to have all of your information across all of these updated. You’ll want your resume, your online portfolio and your business card to reflect exactly where you are in your career right now. Pro tip: have a pen handy so that when you collect business cards from other people, you can write down something about the conversation that stood out. You’ll use this information later when you email them.

       

    3. Have your Personal Branding Statement ready: for those of you who don’t know what this is, a personal branding statement is a short sentence or phrase that tells people what you’re good at and what makes you unique. Think of it like a tagline for yourself. When you meet new people at a networking event, you can use your personal branding statement to introduce yourself and make a good impression. It can also help people remember you better and help you to focus on how you want to be perceived by others.

       

    4. Dress professionally: Make sure to dress appropriately for the event, first impressions count and you want to make a good one. But also remember to add something that makes you feel powerful. Whether you invest in a new pair of dress pants or a jacket that makes you feel like a boss, feeling comfortable and powerful in your skin will be a sure way to exude confidence at these events, even if internally you’re freaking out!
       
    5. Remember that everyone else feels exactly the same way you do. There are very few people that actually like attending these events and putting themselves out there. Take a deep breath, introduce yourself to people and engage in conversations. Show your enthusiasm and interest in the fashion industry, be ready to share your story and most importantly – listen to others! 

3. PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

So, we’ve talked about finding contacts for your cold email list by using LinkedIn and attending industry events. The next way to find contacts to reach out to is through joining professional associations. By joining associations related to your interests in the industry, it will help you connect with other people who can help you, regardless of your experience level. This is especially helpful if you’re interested in looking for a mentor.

A lot of people are usually skeptical about joining these associations, but there are really so many benefits. 

Some of the most significant benefits of joining professional associations are:

Networking:
Professional associations provide opportunities to connect with other professionals in your industry, which can be beneficial for building relationships, finding job opportunities, and getting advice from experienced individuals

Career development:
Many professional associations offer resources such as job boards, career development workshops and mentoring programs that can help you advance your career

Industry access:
These associations often provide members with access to industry research, news and events, which can help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in your field

Professional development:
Many professional associations offer continuing education and professional development opportunities, such as conferences, seminars, and webinars, which can help you build new skills and improve your overall knowledge

Certification and Accreditation:
Some professional associations offer certifications and accreditation, which can help to establish a level of expertise and credibility in the industry

4. REFERRALS

Asking your friends, family, or colleagues if they know anyone who works in the company or industry you are interested in can be so impactful to your career. 

Not sure how to do this? Use these tips to ask for referrals with ease every time: 

  1. Be specific: Let the person know the type of job or opportunity you are looking for and the company or organization you are interested in. This will make it easier for them to think of someone who may be able to help you.
  2. Be direct: Ask the person if they know of anyone who works at the company or organization you are interested in, or if they know of any job opportunities that may be a good fit for you.
  3. Provide context: Explain why you are interested in the company or opportunity and what skills or qualifications you bring to the table. This will help the person understand how they can best help you.
  4. Express gratitude: Thank the person in advance for their help and let them know that you appreciate their time and effort.
  5. Keep in touch: Follow up with the person after the referral and keep them updated on your progress.

Offer to return the favor: Let the person know that you would be happy to return the favor and help them with a referral in the future if ever needed

5. ALUMNI GROUPS

Reaching out to alumni groups from your college or university is something a lot of people don’t think about when they’re searching for career opportunities or people to be connected to.

Using your alumni community can provide you with:

→ Access to a network of professionals: They are made up of individuals who have gone through similar experiences and have a shared connection to your school. They can provide valuable insights into the industry and can introduce you to people who are working in the field you are interested in.

→ Reaching out to alumni groups can also help increase your visibility within the industry and can give you an opportunity to stand out to potential employers.

→ Alumni can provide valuable information about companies, their culture, the hiring process and what they are looking for in a candidate.

→ You may even have the opportunity to find a mentor. Alumni may be willing to act as mentors and offer guidance and support throughout your job search process which is incredibly important since they’ve already gone through the process and have established themselves as fashion industry professionals.

→ Networking can be daunting, but reaching out to alumni groups can be less intimidating as you already have a shared connection. This can increase your confidence in your abilities and can be a great way to make new contacts.

IN THE END…

Cold emailing can be a powerful tool to help further your career in the fashion industry. 

I experienced this first hand – cold email is exactly how I started my career as a fashion freelancer when I had no contacts, connections or anyone I knew who did what I wanted to be doing!

By being clear, concise and professional in all of your requests or communications, you can make a great first impression and open doors to new opportunities. Remember when reaching out to potential cold email list contacts, you should always tailor your message to the specific interests and needs of the person or company you are reaching out to, and include a clear call to action for them to follow up with you. 

Don’t be afraid to add people in the industry that are in high levels or senior management, even if you’re just starting out. You never know who may be willing to help you along the way. With a little bit of effort and some persistence, you can build a cold email list that will help you take your fashion career to the next level.

Remember, and this is super important, don’t get discouraged along the way if you don’t get a response or things don’t go the way you want them to at first. Keep trying and don’t be afraid to follow up with a polite reminder. 

Creating a concise cold email list of helpful contacts within the industry to reach out to can be a daunting task, but with the right approach and mindset, it can be a valuable asset that can completely change your career.

OTHER WAYS TO ENJOY THIS EPISODE:

Links in this post:
→ The 3-Step Process to Identify Your Ideal Company For Jobs To Apply To
The Ideal Company Profile Checklist
8 Game-Changing LinkedIn Tips & Tricks to Further Your Fashion Career

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