A CEO and former Googler explains 3 steps for crafting the perfect cold email


Liz Wessel WayUp

Liz Wessel

WayUp CEO Liz Wessel (pictured) says this is her biggest networking pet peeve.

WayUp CEO Liz Wessel is a big fan of emailing people you don't know.

She even asks employees at her startup, which helps college students and recent grads land jobs, to cold email their idols.

"First of all, do it," she told Business Insider in a recent Facebook Live interview. "Don't question yourself. Worse case, they don't respond, and then who cares? Seriously, who cares? Cold email for sure."

Whether you're reaching out for advice, with a question, or with a compliment, Wessel went on to share her top tips for crafting the perfect email to send to a stranger you admire:


1. Have a catchy subject line

"It shouldn't be generic," Wessel said. "For people who cold email me, when it's 'College student really interested in learning more about you,' that's pretty generic. There's a million college students who are out there - actually, there's 22.5 million college students who are out there - and so that's not super specific."

So, how can you hone your pitch? The answer's simple. Do your homework. Wessel, an alum of both the University of Pennsylvania and the Flying Dolphins swim team, gave Business Insider a few personal examples.

"'Former Flying Dolphins swimmer-turned-Penn-student-Model-Congress-lover wants to talk to you' - something that shows that they did their research," she said. "Someone who's interested in starting a company: 'Aspiring female entrepreneur interested in starting a company in the ad tech space or the HR tech space.' I think those things are going to catch your eye. So subject line matters, because otherwise you're not even going to get your email read."

2. Keep it short and sweet

"Once you get into the email, make it short, crisp, and say exactly what you want," Wessel told Business Insider. She gave an example:

Hi [your idol's name],


My name is [blank]. I'm really interested in meeting with you because of [x,y and z]. Do you have 15 minutes to hop on a phone call?

"I think that's going to be really impactful and get you exactly what you want," she said.

3. Don't be afraid to add some humor

"In the P.S. line, feel free to make a funny comment or something to make them smile and help you stand out," Wessel said.

So, with those tips in mind, get out there and email your industry idols. What've you got to lose?

Watch the full Facebook Live:


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