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  • Aahana Shrivastava

The Guide to Conquering Cold Emailing Professors

In the digital age, cold emailing has become a crucial tool for initiating conversations, building connections, and unveiling doors to untapped horizons to new opportunities. Cold emailing simply is when one sends emails to professors whom you haven’t talked to before for insight into a topic or for research opportunities. In this guide, we'll walk you through the key steps and strategies to effectively craft and send compelling cold emails.

  1. Research Your Receivers

Before sending your email, make sure to invest some time in researching your recipients. Get to know their background, projects, and interests. This knowledge will allow you to customize your email so that it aligns with their requirements, resulting in a message that's not only pertinent but also captivating.

  1. Create an Attention-Grabbing Subject Line

The subject line serves as the initial impression of your email. Keep it brief and captivating. A skillfully composed subject line has the potential to attract the recipient's curiosity, resulting in them opening your email. Thus, dedicate some time to formulate a great subject line that truly grabs attention.

  1. Add Some Personality

Throughout the email, one of the most crucial parts for the recipient to stay interested is by adding personalization. Refer to the recipient by their name, and state some knowledge you learned from some of their research papers (this refers to step one of researching them first) this will prove that you have interest and this email isn’t a generic mass message.

  1. Keep it Short

In the age of apps like TikTok and the introduction of Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, attention pans have significantly decreased for everyone. This means your email should be short and straight to the point. Make sure to be clear about what your goal is; whether it's introducing yourself, proposing a collaboration, or presenting a solution to their problem.

  1. Highlight Your Achievements

Explain how you add value to the professor’s lab. Focus on benefits rather than just features. Show them how your offering can solve a problem they might be facing. If applicable, mention any previous research experiences, competitions you’ve competed in, and awards you’ve received. This builds trust and credibility, making the professor more likely to consider your proposition.

  1. Follow Ups

The most common response is simply not receiving one, but don’t get disheartened. The professor probably hasn't seen your email or is swamped with work, so it always helps to send another email. This follow up proves to the professor that you are motivated and invested. This is one of the most crucial steps! Your next internship could be one email away!

  1. Test and Iterate

Experiment with different approaches, subject lines, and email bodies. Analyze the results to see what works best. Over time, you'll refine your cold emailing strategy and achieve better outcomes.


To wrap up, cold emailing stands as a potent asset in your toolkit, demanding meticulous preparation and skillful implementation. Through customization, delivering value, and upholding professionalism, you can amplify your potential for transforming cold prospects into promising opportunities. As you enhance your approach and glean insights from your journey, you'll discover cold emailing as a precious skill that unlocks possibilities and propels your objectives onward.

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