A short time ago I wrote a cold email to a veteran in the field of radio journalism—the field I'm pursuing. As a soon-to-be college graduate at the time, I wanted to network. I wanted to ask questions. But most of all, I wanted to express that I admired his work.
The only way I knew how to do this: a carefully worded, carefully structured email. (Carefully, because emails have a way of getting misinterpreted, misunderstood.)
To my pleasant surprise, he emailed me back right away and asked if I wanted to chat over the phone. I gladly took him up on his offer.
After our hellos, the first thing he said to me:
- "How old are you?"
- "You don't write emails like a 22-year-old."
Uh-oh, I thought to myself. What is he trying to tell me? Do I write emails like a 12-year-old?
- "You write emails like I do."
I bring up this exchange not to brag about my allegedly mad email skills, but to show how first impressions can and do translate to the digital realm.
We went on to have an awesome conversation, from which I learned about him and his line of work, and from which he learned about me and my career interests. He even told me he's going to watch my career! (No pressure.)
This rewarding exchange was only possible because I crossed our digital divide—not through social media, but through good old fashioned email. I get the sense that my generation overlooks this time-tested tool.
The moral of the story: cold email can make for warm conversation. Don't stop at email—propel the exchange out of the inbox and into the phone.
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