Illustration of a woman sitting at her laptop and smiling, writing an email.
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How to construct a ‘cold email’ application for an unlisted job

4 Feb 2021

Is your dream job not being advertised? Maybe it’s time to try another way of getting the role you really want.

When it comes to job hunting, many of us follow a tried-and-tested formula; scouring careers sites for roles that catch our eye and following the application process.

But if you’ve been reflecting a bit more on your career goals over the past few months, you may have realised what it is you truly want from a role. And if you’re coming up empty-handed when you search for jobs ads, it could be time to take a little more initiative. As explains in this infographic, it can be worth considering the ‘cold email’ route.

Cold emailing can come in handy if the job you’re looking for isn’t listed on a company’s website. describes a cold email as “a speculative inquiry for the job you desire, even if it hasn’t been advertised or might not exist”. You can think of it as a form of networking, which is already a reliable method of furthering your career.

“In fact, it’s networking on your terms, which is a distinct advantage to meeting somebody at a crowded conference,” says. “When you send a well-composed cold email, you have nothing to lose – and so much to gain. The cold email job application is the start of a conversation that can run and run, even if it doesn’t result in a job straight away.”

So what’s the best way to go about it? This infographic outlines eight components of an effective cold email. The first is making sure you send your email to the right person. This might sound simple, but it still requires some solid research.

You can find the company’s LinkedIn page and view all of its employees who have their own profiles. From there, you can figure out who the best person might be to contact.

Other tips include carefully crafting an email subject line, briefly introducing yourself and, finally, closing with a question.

Infographic showing eight elements of a cold email to send when applying for an unlisted job.

Click to enlarge. Infographic:

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Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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