Posted At: November 6, 2013 2:12 p.m.
by Benjamin Ladrillono.
When applying for jobs, you need to stand out. Yes, an impressive résumé will truly boost you up in the application stack. Yes, knowing an account executive in the agency will get your name on the list but imagine if the CEO of the agency would endorse you.
Dear Mr. CEO,
My name is Benjamin Ladrillono, and I am a rising senior at The University of Alabama studying public relations. Coincidentally, it appears that we have a mutual friend. She told me that you were the funniest person she has ever met. And she told me that you should remember her from high school. But, nonetheless, she told me that I had to meet you, and I would love to.
I looked into the work of your agency, and I was thoroughly impressed with your clientele base. I would love to learn more about what your agency does (because the Internet only tells you so much) and your journey to success.
I hope to hear from you soon. Perhaps we can chat sometime this week or next week? Whenever is best for you. Thank you again Mr. CEO for your time.
I have sent several emails similar to the one above. How did it go? Well, it worked. In fact, CEOs typically scheduled a meeting with me within the week to chat about their company and themselves. Many have told other CEOs and recruiters how they have enjoyed courageous emails like mine. Believe it or not, CEOs are human beings. Just like us.
So how do you go about emailing the CEO of a company? It’s all about strategy. Here are my six tips to contacting the head honcho.
1. Do your research on the company.
You need to know the agency like you know your favorite TV sitcom. You must know the company’s clients, philanthropy, successes, mission statement, expertise and competitors.
2. Know Mr. CEO.
You should also do research on the CEO. After all, you are trying to impress him. Know where he went to college. Connect with him on LinkedIn. Understand what he does for the agency. And finally, find out if the two of you have any similarities, which brings me to my next tip.
3. Find a common ground.
Having a personal connection makes your email stand out. For instance, if you look at my email above, I found out that the CEO I was contacting was a high school friend of someone I know. Also, it may break any awkwardness that may arise during your conversation. When I was speaking to the director of a major PR firm in New York, we spent about 15 minutes talking about musical theatre. A common interest helps develop a stronger relationship early in your conversation.
4. Give a deadline.
Don’t be scared to tell her that you anticipate a reply. Go ahead and tell her that you will call back in a week if you don’t get a response. Chances are, she will be waiting for you. As humans, we love to see whether or not someone will follow through with a bold statement. Just don’t be rude.
5. Do NOT attach your résumé.
I cannot stress this enough. The moment Mr. CEO sees that you have a résumé attached to your email, you risk him passing it off to HR or just tossing it out. The attachment just sends red flags up showing that all you are interested in is getting a job rather than getting to know the company that you want to work for. Instead, offer to send him your résumé if he responds back to your initial email.
6. Be yourself.
Finally, most importantly, be yourself. As I said earlier, CEOs are just like us. No one likes seeing a standard email about how awesome you are, how accomplished you are and how you are the perfect fit. Blah blah blah. They get it all the time. Be the person who adds a little spice to their day. Yes, you should probably mention what credibility you have, but don’t bore the CEO with it.
Be brief, and be yourself. Have fun with it. It’s just an email.