The Email Format That Got Me 89% Open Rate

Whether you’re addressing leads or recruiters, you need to enter the “Seller Zone.”

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svetlanasokolova / Freepik

We all have a unified goal we wish to achieve when we send emails: whether you are a junior or a senior professional, sending a personal or a professional email, acquiring leads, or applying for jobs — the goal is always the same: Get your email read.

With the whole world going remote, you can no longer rely on the old school methods where people meet in networking events and over an occasional bar talks. As our target audience is living on the internet, we all have reverted to more online outreach.

This is even more true for job seekers in the current saturated job market, where 22 million jobs were lost during the most significant job market crash since the 2008 crisis, with an unemployment rate of 14.7%. You can get a sense of how gigantic that is by comparing the rate to the 2008 rate of unemployment of 10.0%.

I was looking for a job myself during the pandemic, and as an ex-Account Manager in a Telecom company, I knew damn well that I needed to reach out to recruiters in person the same way you reach out to leads. You can’t just apply to a random ATS and then pray someone will notice! As a Talent Sourcer myself, I’m telling you: This Won’t Work!

Reaching out on a personal level is the only way to shine among the herd. You are selling, and your leads are the recruiters, while the product this time is you; You are selling yourself!

Here’s the template I used to make sure I achieve three main goals:

1.Get my email opened: Nobody cares if your email is a masterpiece if it wasn’t opened. And why would a recruiter open your email? It has to intrigue them to do so.

2.Establish my added value: Why should anyone in the world care to hire you? The email should clearly state why you are great and why they should care. Failing in one of those two points will lead to no response or a negative one.

3.Close with the Ask: The same rule we’ve been taught about closing a deal; always close while the heat is still there. You have inclined recruiters to open your email, and you have sold the great product of yourself, now you need to seal your deal — ask for 30 minutes of their time.

Now let’s take a look at the email:

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Writer’s Inbox

Now that you see how I write the entire email let’s break it down into blocks and discuss what you can include in your next email.

And I will start with the missing main element from my email above:

Section #1 — The Title

The secret recipe here is: to use a term relevant to your target company. A quick LinkedIn search of a recruiter at Twitter, and you’ll realize they use the hashtag #jointheflock, while Salesforce refers to their employees as ‘Ohana.’

Use such terms in your email title, and I guarantee you not 89% open rate, but a 100%.

Why this approach works?

Your email will look relatable and will show you did your homework. Better yet, it may sound like an internal email; thus, it’s opening becomes a must.

You just locked the eyes of the recruiters at your email! Now let’s start selling the product — you!

Here is the sectioned email for an easier reference:

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Section #2 — The Why

I made this mistake myself of jumping into selling myself without stating the why; why am I sending this email? Why to this specific recipient? And why should they care?

Before adding this section, I had my emails brushed away.

Now, I add those two to three phrases of why I’m sending my email. I include an apparent reference with the link to the opening I am applying for, and I ask bluntly to interview for the role. If there is any relevant piece of information that will help to catch the attention of my recipient, I’ll make sure to include it in this section. Notes like “I’ve sourced for you as a client before,” or a link to a work that is relevant to the company for which I’m applying can bee a great conversation starter.

Why add this section?

People may open your email because of the fancy title you used, but if they start reading with no clue of what the email is about, or what it’s in it for them, or whether they are the right person to talk to or not — chances are they will stop reading, and switch to the next email.

Section #3 — The Body

This is the secret sauce of your email, and this is where your whole universe exists. Why should anyone care about hiring you? In other words: who are you?

Some people will start talking in long paragraphs about how great they are. Don’t get me wrong; you need to brag — you have to, but recruiters receive tons of emails daily, so you need a small, controlled, digestible doses of bragging in order to deliver the message as quick as possible. This is a surgery, and you need to get in and out as fast and painless as possible.

Mention your main achievements, and try to use numbers, not tasks. Mention relevant experience only, and include any skills that may make your more desired; a foreign language, or fancy brands you served.

Here’s the one rule that will secure you the best results:

Bullet points are your best friend!

Why do bullet points deliver?

They are digestible, easy to skim and make it super quick — yet practical for any recipient to get your point precisely.

Section #4 — The Links

This is the section most people ignore or mistakenly include in section #3; you have some work you want to share, and this is your hero product that makes people thirst over your profile. You need to show such work, but you need to stay away from overstuffing the body of your email. If you include too much data in the body, then you risk spooking your recipient away.

Solution? Add this extra section. This way, you have achieved two things:

  1. You allow your email reader to choose if they want to read your extra work references or to ignore it.
  2. You didn’t overstuff the body of your email, so it still looks clean, neat, and inviting.

Why add this section?

By including an additional source of data in a separate block, you are not forcing any extra details, and you haven’t entirely removed what could have been your most powerful asset as you allow the reader to choose what to read. By empowering your reader, you are enhancing your chances of getting the action you are asking for in section #5.

Section #5 — The Ask

Never close an email without closing it. You have made your point and established a connection with your target recruiter. You convinced him/her why you are the one to take the job; now it’s time to close with an ask: what do you need?

My ask was 20 minutes of chat with the recruiter. Sometimes, I ask only to hear back from them. You can test and change your ask, but always ask recipients for what you need them to do after reading your email.

Why add this section?

Recruiters receive many emails a day, and like it or not, that makes them sometimes act like robots: they skim content looking for the best talent. That’s why it is in your best interest to tell the recruiter what you need from them, rather than leave it to them to spend time trying to understand your needs, figuring your ask out, and then deciding how to respond.

The easier you make the life of a recruiter, the better your chances to get a call back become.

Wrapping Up

Here are the Five Sections you want to include in any email you send to get a great response and open rates that reach up to 89%:

1- A catchy title using target company’s vocabulary

2- The reason behind your email and why you are addressing your recpient.

3- Bullet points of what makes you the best match to the target company.

4- Extra links of your best work

5- Closure with the ask yu have for the target recpient.

That’s it! Now you got yourself a potent recipe of a great email with an open rate that may even exceed 89%!

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Status quo Antagonist | Diversity Sourcer | 20+ Cities Traveler | Published in TheStartup, The Ascent & DDI | Palestinian🇵🇸 | Let’s chat:

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