How to write a cold email for job applications

cold email for job

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So-called ‘çold job applications have potential for unadvertised jobs. We outline how to write a cold email for job applications and what to include.

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The main purpose of the cold email for job application is to get jobs on the so-called ” hidden job market “. This means: The position is vacant, but has not yet been officially advertised. It is estimated that up to 80 percent of all vacancies are filled in this way. These are often attractive and well-paid jobs. That makes the blind application extremely attractive for job seekers and applicants.

The type and intention of unsolicited applications are not dissimilar to unsolicited applications. Both terms are often used synonymously. But there are differences. In this article, we will show you how you can use the blind application successfully, how it is structured and how you can use it to significantlyincrease your application chances.

What is a cold call application?

A cold call job application is an application without a specific job offer. So you are not applying for a specific job advertisement in a job exchange. Rather, it is a kind of spontaneous application and a shot in the dark: You neither know whether the company is even looking for new employees, nor whether your qualifications are currently in demand. In the case of a blind application, you do not know a contact person – only the company of your choice. The cover letter of the blind application therefore does not contain a personal salutation, but only the general formula “Dear Sir or Madam”.

What is the difference with an unsolicited application?

Some time ago, both terms – blind application / speculative application – were still used synonymously. That has changed in the meantime. It is true that both types of application are still similar to each other as “application by chance”. But there are a few differences:

  • Speculative application: In the case of an unsolicited application, you will at least know a specific contact person in addition to the target company. The cover letter therefore contains a personal salutation and is otherwise individually tailored to the target person and target company. In addition, the speculative application is more extensive and contains not only a cover letter, curriculum vitae but also attachments such as job reference , certificates and work samples. A complete application portfolio .
  • Unsolicited application: Nothing is known about unsolicited applications – except for the employer to whom it is addressed. The cover letter is therefore only formulated in a general and impersonal way. As with the short application, the scope is also reduced to a letter of application and a tabular curriculum vitae.

Advantages of unsolicited applications

Because of its neutral form, the blind application is suitable for a real mass application. This is frowned upon by most HR decision-makers because it is impersonal and imprecise. In this case, however, you are not addressing a specific job advertisement with your application, so the criticism is incorrect. The advantages of unsolicited applications outweigh the following:

  • You save time and effort . Only the company name is exchanged.
  • You can use and send the application documents multiple times .
  • You have the chance of jobs in the hidden job market .
  • You have to send fewer pages .

If the company reacts to your cold email for job application and is interested, you can still submit complete application documents on request or bring them with you to the interview . That saves material and money. However, the blind application should only be a second choice If possible – especially when applying for important management or higher positions – you should always choose the speculative application. Because it is more tailored and personal, it is usually preferred.

When is a cold email for job application worthwhile?

In fact, when you apply blindly, you neither know whether the company has a suitable vacancy at all or whether it is looking for someone with your profession and qualifications or will be looking for someone in the foreseeable future. The application chances are therefore fifty-fifty. Nevertheless, the blind application can be worthwhile. For the following reasons:

  • You will practice writing your cover letter and résumé and draw HR managers’ attention to yourself. If it doesn’t work, you can still use the feedback to optimize your application .
  • Quite a few companies maintain so-called “talent pools” – lists of talents and potential candidates. If your unsolicited application is convincing, you may find yourself in this pool and will be addressed later.
  • You never know who is reading the application. Maybe someone who is looking for someone like you knows someone. Voilà: What started as a blind application ends as recommendation marketing.
  • The more unsolicited applications you send, the greater your chances of success. This is especially true for those companies that you would like to work for, but cannot find suitable positions on job boards.

Pay attention to the perfect timing

Pay attention to the timing when submitting your unsolicited applications. During the classic holiday periods such as Easter, summer or Christmas holidays, the documents are in danger of being lost. If, on the other hand, you send your application at the end of a month or quarter, it could coincide with the termination of an employee – and you can thus close a gap that has just emerged.display

Structure of the application

Because the tabular curriculum vitae for a cold email for job application does not differ from that of a classic application, we focus in this article on the cover letter. In principle, the structure of the cover letter differs only marginally from other applications. At least the essential elements are the same (see checklist):

Cover letter structure ➠ Sender (name, address, contact) 
➠ Recipient (company, address) 
➠ Date (right) 
➠ Meaningful subject 
➠ Salutation (Dear 
Sir or Madam ) ➠ Entry with qualifications 
➠ Motivation 
➠ Relation to the company 
➠ Brief profile + Soft skills 
➠ (reference to notice periods) 
➠ final 
wording ➠ signature 
➠ attachments (curriculum vitae)

Particularities are all the more on individual content sections. Since this type of application lacks personal address, you have to “personalize” your cover letter all the more with a reference to the company. The wording should be more original overall in order to minimize the smell of mass advertising and to arouse interest. Phrases, empty phrases and standard formulations such as “I am applying here …” are all the more taboo in blind applications.

Subject line of the application

The standard subject line of a letter usually only contains the word “application” (never “subject”!) And perhaps a so-called reference line that repeats the reference number from the job advertisement. This is not possible with a blind application. Instead, choose a subject line that is as meaningful as possible, in which you write more specifically which area or profession you are applying for. In this way, the application from HR professionals can be classified more quickly. Instead of the general wording “Application as an employee” or “Application as part-time employee”, it is better to write “Application as a tax clerk” or “Application as a field service inspector”.

If that is not possible (because you do not know exactly yourself), you can also score points with your training or qualification in the subject. For example: “Application as a retail saleswoman” or “Application as a medical technology engineer”. Anything is better than just writing “application”. An unspecified subject always carries the risk that the documents will be crushed somewhere in the personnel gear or immediately sorted out.

Introduction of the application

The introductory sentence should also stand out clearly from a typical mass application. Ideally, you will convince immediately with your unique qualifications, successes and experiences. Show right from the start that you are an accomplished specialist. For example like this:

For the past three years I have conducted more than 700 contract and price negotiations in strategic purchasing and concluded framework agreements. In doing so, I was able to reduce costs by between four and six percent every year without the supplier relationships having suffered. On the contrary: maintaining relationships and goal orientation are important to me. I would now like to contribute this know-how to Muster GmbH and create added value as part of your renowned team …

Main part of the application

The main part of the blind application is mainly about your motivation, why you are applying to this company. This relationship to the company is extremely important because it saves the cover letter from being interchangeable. It becomes more individual, no longer mass-produced. The more credibly you formulate this, the more convincing the main part becomes. A simple example:

Basically we have known each other for a long time. For years I have been a loyal customer of your product __________ and I am regularly enthusiastic about the innovative strength and the exemplary customer communication. I would like to strengthen this profitably for Muster AG and use my many years of experience to ensure that …

Even if you cannot, as usual, go into the requirements of a job advertisement, you should still sharpen your profile in the main part and once again go into essential specialist competencies and skills (including special soft skills ). These include, for example, IT skills or language skills or special training. An example:

As a media computer scientist, I have acquired extensive knowledge of the programming languages ​​Javascript and Python in addition to PHP and SQL. I have already successfully implemented numerous modern website projects. I always have appointments and deadlines in view and keep them. Thanks to my business fluent language skills in English and Russian, I am also able to coordinate projects with external developers and thus implement them cost-effectively.

Final part of the application

Every cover letter has two natural highlights: the opening sentence – and the closing sentence. The latter even echoes. Therefore, you shouldn’t let your cover letter slip away, but instead put a personal message here and choose special words. The final part of the blind application gives you the opportunity, for example, to name the earliest possible starting date or to indicate your notice period or to underline your motivation and general suitability again.

It is crucial that you radiate self-confidence at this point (do not use a subjunctive in the text!), But also do not become dissolute. The application should remain structured and at the same time compact. On salary considerations, you should do without mentioning. They can still be discussed in the interview. An example of the final part:

I would be happy to convince you in a personal conversation that with me you will gain an employee who is just as committed as independent and self-reliant. If I have piqued your interest, I look forward to receiving an invitation to an interview.

Great care, no mistakes! 

Because the cold email for job application basically has the character of a mass application, it must shine all the more with an appealing design and freedom from errors. So pay attention to a high level of care and quality or absolutely flawless documents. Spelling or grammatical errors can immediately ruin an applicant’s impression and lead to an application being rejected.

Sample cold email for job application

You can also practice writing a cold email for job application using the template below and create a suitable cover letter. 

Dear Sir or Madam, 

As the author of a well-known blog about social media strategies (, I have been dealing intensively with developments in the social web and useful application options for companies for three years now . I can look back on 5 years of experience as an employee of the __________ agency. During this time I have looked after around 90 projects and well-known international customers. My blog now reaches more than 2000 readers a day, including many specialists from the field with whom I regularly exchange ideas in the comments or at conferences.

As I was able to find out during my research, you too have recently started to rely more and more on social media and your own career blog. I can well imagine that your need for staff in this area will grow. So I would be all the more pleased if we can get together here and I can support your excellent team in the future in developing and expanding as well as optimizing your various media channels. I would like to apply to you for this today.

I have been following your publications for some time with growing interest and already have a few ideas on how you could, for example, increase your reach and reduce costs through more efficient campaigns. I would be happy to explain this further in a personal conversation. Have I piqued your interest? Then I look forward to an invitation to an interview. 

With best regards 
Signature here
PS: As I am currently working as a freelancer, I could start with you right away. 
Attachment: – CVdisplay

Letter vs email?

Since you have no clues other than the target company when submitting the unsolicited application, there is no clear recommendation for the dispatch. For small, medium-sized and conservative employers, follwoing up with a written application by post can be worthwhile. Paper and cardboard always look higher quality. The impression is subtly carried over to your resume and qualifications as well. After all, you have not shied away from investing in yourself and your professional future …

On the other hand, more and more companies – corporations in particular – prefer online or e-mail applications . However, since you do not know a contact person, you usually only have to send it to a general address such as [email protected] or [email protected] The danger here: Your application will go astray or even end up in the spam folder.

Our recommendation: Research either on the company’s careers page to see whether there is an address or a general contact person. Or call the company briefly and ask the HR department. Even if, strictly speaking, it is no longer a “blind application”, do not send your documents to nothing. In addition, make sure to formulate a meaningful subject line (for example: “Application as a media designer (IHK)”) and choose a reputable sender address. So better “[email protected]” than “[email protected]”.

Sample: cold email for job application cover letter

You should send your documents (cover letter plus CV) summarized in a single PDF as an attachment. The file name should be “meaningful” so that it can always be assigned, for example: “Application-Max-Muster.pdf”. The cover letter, i.e. the e-mail for the blind application, could again read as follows:

Application as a media designer (IHK)

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have gathered from the media that you are currently expanding in the __________ area. I could imagine that you at Muster are looking for experienced media designers for this. It is precisely in this area that I would like to strengthen your team. I am convinced that my previous experience and qualifications can generate decisive added value. You will find my detailed application documents in the attachment. If you are interested in certificates and relevant evidence, I will be happy to hand them in or bring them with me to the interview. I look forward to an invitation.

With best regards, 
Max Mustermann


Follow up with the cold email for job application

After you’ve submitted your blind applications, what is perhaps the most difficult phase in the application process begins: wait and endure the uncertainty. In fact, companies are taking longer and longer to select applicants. It can take up to six weeks. Be it because an important personnel decision-maker is sick or on vacation. Or because it has yet to be decided internally with the works council and management how the position is arranged in the organization. So if you don’t hear anything anymore, you should wait an average of at least two to three weeks before contacting the employer again and asking about your blind application.

We recommend that you follow up by phone first. Of course, you should not appear impatient or desperate. Ideally, you just ask interested. For example like this:

Good day Mrs __________,

I just wanted to inquire whether you have received my application documents? Is everything complete, are you missing something? I know you must be very busy. A short feedback is enough for me …

If you do not receive the necessary information on the phone or if you do not hear anything for weeks after following up, you can contact the company again – and this time kindly remind them by email that you would be grateful for an answer.

We wish you good luck with your blind application!