How Do I Cold Email for a Job?

Does the thought of cold emailing potential clients making you cringe?

You’re not alone!

How Do I Cold Email for a Job?

Sending a cold email can be pretty intimidating, especially when you factor in the fear of rejection.

The reality is that cold emailing and rejection go hand in hand.

Getting a, “no,” or even no response at all can definitely sting a little, but cold emailing is one of the most effective ways to find clients.

The reality is that cold emailing and rejection go hand in hand.

Finding freelance work from a cold email isn’t for the faint of heart, though.

It requires sending large quantities of cold emails and being okay with receiving just a handful of replies — not all of which will result in scoring a client.

But to receive a reply at all, there are some obstacles you have to overcome.

The first hurdle is getting your cold email opened, which requires a click-worthy subject line. Once your cold email has been opened, you have to hook the potential client in the first few lines of your pitch.

Finally, the prospect has to deem your email worthy of a reply. This is no easy feat, especially if the potential client receives cold emails frequently.

So, how do you increase the chance that your cold email will receive a reply?

You have to make your cold email stand out. Luckily, there are ways to give your cold email a boost and improve the likelihood of getting a positive response.

How to Cold Email for a Job

1. Make It Personal

You’ve probably heard the importance of addressing the person you’re cold emailing by name.

While that undoubtedly gives you a leg up over your competition, there’s another way to make your email pitch stand out.

Find something that pertains specifically to the client and mention it in your email. This one little trick can have a significant impact on your reply rate.

Visit the prospective client’s website or check out their social media to see what they’ve been up to.

Perhaps they’ve recently won an award or been mentioned in an article by a well-known publication. You can even reference an article or case study they’ve published on their own website.

Here are some examples:

  • “Congratulations on XYZ company’s business of the year award!”
  • “I saw XYZ Company’s feature on It was so cool to read about how you’re…
  • “I recently read your article on home design trends and loved what you said about…”

Personalizing your cold email pitch doesn’t have to be overly complicated. There’s no need to wax poetic about your connection or their accomplishments.

Just keep it simple with a line or two.

2. Focus on the Prospect’s Needs

Here’s the deal; pitching a potential freelance job should never be about you. It’s about what you can do for them.

Clients are interested in achieving results that move them closer to their goals. What’s more, they likely want someone to take those tasks off their plate because they may not have the time or skill set to do it themselves.

Your cold email should be centered around their needs and prove that you understand their goals.

Use your experience and expertise to demonstrate how you can help them overcome challenges and get results.

Adding links to your portfolio and any relevant samples helps to back up your claims and allows potential clients to browse through your past work.

3. Always Follow Up

Writing the perfect pitch is just the beginning.

While we all wish we could send one cold email and land a client, that’s just not the case. If you want your cold email to stand out from other freelancers, you have to master the art of the follow-up.

Every email you send that doesn’t receive a response needs to be chased.

It may seem counterintuitive to keep sending follow-up emails, but doing so increases the chances the prospect will respond.

Studies show follow-up sequences containing 4-7 emails can make it three times more likely that you’ll get a response.

The key is to find the right balance and timing with a targeted follow-up strategy, which starts by tracking your emails. You can easily do this in a spreadsheet or using tools like Hubspot’s free email tracker.

  • Who you emailed and when
  • Open and click-through rates
  • Whether your email is forwarded to someone else in the organization
  • Responses
  • When you’ve sent a follow-up or breakup email

Once you understand how your email pitches perform, you can go back and see what type of cold email subject line and other elements of your cold email pitch get the most responses.

From there, you can make tweaks to your strategy to improve its effectiveness.

A Simple Cold Email Template – Tips & Advice

With the above tricks up your sleeve, you can begin crafting your cold email. For maximum effectiveness, make sure it contains the following information in this handy cold email template.

  • Who you are
  • Your pitch (an idea, offer, etc.)
  • Links to your writing samples or portfolio
  • A call to action

It’s also important to follow some basic rules when writing your cold email.

Add Some Personality

Your cold email doesn’t have to be boring!

Infuse your cold email with your personality and offer a glimpse into who you are. Not only does it create a connection with potential clients, but it also makes you and your pitch memorable.

Get to the Point

Let’s be honest; it’s very likely the person your cold emailing already has a lot on their plate. In addition to their daily work duties, they probably spend a decent chunk of time sorting through their email box every day.

No one wants to open an email and immediately see a massive wall of text — especially from a stranger. Sending a lengthy cold email increases the chances it will end up in the prospect’s trash folder.

So, how do you keep your cold email pitch from ending up in the trash folder? Easy; keep it short and to the point. Hubspot suggests emails under 200 words tend to be the most successful, so try to keep each cold email around that length.

Keep It Organized

Make your cold email stand out by utilizing formatting that keeps it organized and easy to read. Use headings and subheadings, bulleted or numbered lists, and bold fonts where necessary.

Skip the Attachments

Many freelancers, especially those new to cold emailing, often wonder what the best way to send writing samples is.

Although it may seem like a good idea to send them as an attachment, it can actually hurt your chances of getting your cold email opened.

Adding an attachment can cause your cold email to get automatically flagged as spam. Include links to relevant samples or your portfolio in the body of the cold email instead.

How to Cold Email for a Job

Before you get to cold emailing, I want to leave you with one final thought: cold email pitching is a numbers game.

Even if you do everything in your power to write the perfect cold email, it can still end in rejection. Don’t let that discourage you.

Even the most experienced freelancers get rejected, but they use it as a learning experience.

If you don’t land a freelance job the first time around, you’ve at least put yourself on their radar.

That’s another reason why it’s so important to make your email pitch stand out from other freelancers — so prospects remember you and potentially reach out in the future.

But to get to that point, you have to actually send an email pitch.

So, what are you waiting for?  You got this; now get out there and write some client-winning cold emails!

Katie Jenison is a freelance writer specializing in content writing for the home building and remodeling industry. She also partners with marketing agencies to produce content for a diverse range of industries including manufacturing, finance, and marketing. Katie has been featured in publications such as Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, and Blogosphere Magazine. Her blog, The Quiet Type, offers tips and advice for freelance writers and creative entrepreneurs. Download her free workbook, A Freelancer’s Guide to Setting Rates.

Leave a Reply


Brilliant post, Katie! Cold emailing is a beast- takes time to tame it! 🙂Reply to Rosh
Thanks, Rosh! Cold emailing is definitely nerve-wracking at first but it gets better the more you do it. 🙂Reply to Katie
This was so helpful Katie! Thank you so much!Reply to Lisa
Thanks, Lisa! I’m so glad you found it helpful! 🙂Reply to Katie