No, it’s not a myth, you can actually land an internship or a job by reaching out to companies who aren’t advertising a position. This is called cold-emailing.
Our Head of Creative Shona is here to talk you through how she landed an internship via cold emailing companies. (Check out the actual email she sent at the end!)
Take it away, Shona!
Where It Began
Like many job hunters, I was sick of the lack of interesting positions and internships available. It seemed as though no cool companies were taking anyone on for work experience, yet I was desperate to learn tricks of the trade in an actual industry setting. So what did I do? I reached out to companies who weren’t advertising taking anyone on to try my luck.
Structuring My Cold Email
I started by researching fashion companies (my chosen field) that were within commuting distance from my student house in Liverpool. (I’ll quickly point out that this was before COVID. However as so many people have realised working remotely is a feasible option, don’t let distance put you off!) I found about 5 companies within the first half hour, making sure to get a contact email for each. Most of them were quite small so didn’t have a hiring manager. I ended up using a general contact email for most of them (including the company that took me on!)
Then, I crafted an email for each company, following a structure but tailoring it to why I liked them and how I was a perfect fit. I essentially pitched what I could do for them and making it clear what I was after. While I am yet to hear back from 4 of the 5 to this day, one company emailed me back within HALF AN HOUR, and asked if I’d like to come in for an interview.
I travelled to the office the next week, bringing my CV and a bucketload of enthusiasm with me. I was asked to join the team on and off for 2 months and gained experience in different areas of the company, and learning new skills each time I visited. All from cold emailing asking for an internship or work experience!
Key Takeaways From Cold Emailing
If I had to give a piece of advice, I’d say don’t be scared, just do it. No one from the company is going to laugh in your face and say “what the fuck are you on about, you can see we’re not hiring you idiot”. The worst that can happen is no reply or a polite email saying “thank you for your interest but we’re not currently looking to hire anyone at this moment in time”. That’s it.
Give it a go and really show your personality, especially if it fits with the vibe of the brand. If you’re a great match, they’d be crazy not to take you on, or at least keep you in mind for future roles!
Cold Email Internship Application Template
It’s the part you’ve been waiting for! Here’s the EXACT email I sent that landed me an internship. You don’t have to write a 3 page cover letter or have 5+ years experience – the initiative and enthusiasm can be enough to get you through.
If emails are an area you struggle with, make sure to check out our other posts, including when to follow up via email after a job interview.