Cold Email Job Searching: 4 Crucial Steps Before You Hit Send

editorial + opinion job interviews presentation advice Oct 05, 2023

One Day a New Data Scientist, Emily...

Emily, newly in her first role as a data scientist, often finds herself swamped with projects and analysis. She worked hard to get where she is. It paid off. Recognition came her way, and with it, a stream of messages from enthusiastic aspirants looking to step into the world of data science.

"Hi Emily," many of them would start, "I've been following your work and was hoping I could pick your brain for a bit?"

Emily, with her kind and exceedingly generous spirit, is eager to help others.

  • The idea of guiding the next generation of data scientists excited her.
  • However, the reality was that her days were packed.
  • She was juggling projects, meetings, and continuous learning.
  • Despite her best intentions, she couldn't allocate the time to assist everyone who reached out.

One day, amidst the pile of such emails, one stood out. It was from a young man named Leo. Leo's message was distinct. He began by specifically appreciating a project Emily had worked on. He spoke about how he had tailored his resume towards the field. He mentioned recent threads he'd participated in and even a mini-project he'd done, inspired by one of Emily's. And crucially, he pointed out a job posting, expressing his keen interest in that specific role and seeking her insight.

Emily Was Impressed

Here was someone who had done his homework, someone who was genuinely keen and had taken proactive steps before reaching out. Emily immediately felt an urge to help him, not just because he had prepared, but because his preparation showcased his determination and respect for her time.

Finding a sliver of time in her packed schedule, Emily responded to Leo. They scheduled a brief call, during which Emily offered her insights, tips, and even connected Leo with a few of her contacts.

As the days turned into weeks, Leo's efforts bore fruit. With Emily's guidance and his own determination, he managed to secure a role in a data science firm.

Do These Four Things First (Before Hitting Send)

While cold emails can sometimes seem like a shot in the dark, they can be a powerful strategy in the job-seeking journey. However, if you plan to utilize this method, it's imperative that you ensure you're not jumping the gun. Here are the four key things you need to ensure before sending out that cold email:

1. Tailor Your Resume for Your Target Role

Diving deep into the job market requires that your resume speaks directly to the roles you're eyeing. A crucial step involves analyzing several recent job postings that appeal to you. Align your resume with the skills and tasks outlined in these postings. This demonstrates that you've done your homework and are genuinely invested in that particular role. Also, importantly only send your resume if someone asks for it.

2. Refresh and Revitalize Your Social Media Presence

Your online footprint plays a significant role in today's job market. Begin by ensuring that your profile picture and name showcase the best professional version of you. Engage in discussions related to your desired job field. A surprising 40-60% of LinkedIn users don’t keep their profiles updated. Stand out by ensuring you don't fall into this majority. If you're cold emailing - chances the folks you contact may search social media for you. Make sure your social media will impress.

3. Showcase Your Skills Through Published Projects

In a digital era, visibility is key. Cement your expertise and dedication by publishing projects that highlight your capabilities. Consider crafting blog posts, Medium articles, or LinkedIn posts that resonate with your profession. Ideally, when a potential employer Googles your name, these well-curated pieces should be among the top results, serving as testament to your expertise. The folks you contact + plus recruiters, hiring managers, and co-workers are going to Google your name. Not all will. But some will. Make sure what they find portrays you as a professional data scientist.

4. Pinpoint a Specific Job Posting Before Reaching Out

When you decide to send a cold email, always be prepared with a specific job posting in mind. Understand that many professionals have busy schedules. By providing a particular job post in your email, you pave a clearer path for them to assist you. Whether it’s helping you land that exact role or setting you up for a similar position, clarity will always work in your favor.


In the digital age where networking has transcended coffee shop meetings and now often begins in inboxes, the story of Emily and Leo underscores an essential lesson for all data science aspirants. The fast-paced world of data science is filled with brilliant minds like Emily, eager to help, yet constrained by time.

This mix brews frustration when candidates work to use cold email in their job search strategy - but get no response.

It's not the cold outreach that's the problem; it's the method. Leo's approach shines as a beacon for all job seekers: preparation, clarity, and respect can turn a cold email into a warm opportunity. The most important aspect of Leo's approach was to include a specific listing for a specific job posting.

So, before hitting 'send' on that next cold email, ensure you've armed it with intent, research, and genuine interest (and a specific job posting that you know may connect with the person you're contacting). This advice will help you bridge the gap between aspiration and realization, and perhaps, find your own Emily who can guide you forward.

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