How have you responded to lukewarm or negative responses to cold emails?


I recently kicked off my job searching process and sent out post-application cold emails to targeted contacts at each organization. Some have received warm responses, while others have received chillier responses (from recruiters and hiring managers). For example, a recruiter explained that they only engage with applicants through their hiring system and that they’ll only schedule time to discuss the role with applicants with approved applications. Not ideal, but understandable.

This morning, I read this post at Ask A Manager and reviewed the comments. I’ll admit—I felt a little awkward after reading! While I’ll continue my application/follow-up process since it’s been successful for others, I’m wondering — how have you responded back to less positive cold email replies? Did you feel like your conversation loop was effective?


For what it’s worth, getting a response at all is a huge plus. Most job openings get hundreds of applications, so the idea that you should just sit and wait by your phone is ridiculous, and I feel like the people responding to that post haven’t been job hunting at any point in the last three years. You need to be pro-active somehow.

When I send out my cold emails, sometimes I get angry recruiters telling me to “just apply online,” but sometimes I get CEOs who are excited about my experience who want to talk to me.

I don’t respond to the recruiters who seem frustrated with me (because my response would just be one more email they need to look at and file/delete). Instead, I save my responses for the people who want to talk to me, or who are kind enough to say, “sorry, but we’re not hiring right now.”

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This is really helpful! Thanks, @Alysa!

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Firstly, I have to commend you for sending out cold emails, I know it is a scary and daunting thing to do to click “send” and throw your email into the ether. But, I would say two things:

  1. to respond to those types of emails, I would just politely apologize and say “Thanks for getting back to me and I apologize for the intrusion, I was just really excited to get the chance to speak to someone about this position. If you don’t mind contacting me through the appropriate channels I would love the opportunity to interview with (Company Name). Thank you again for your reply and I hope you have a nice day.”

  2. I would love to see a copy of your email if you are still sending it to companies.

Keep sending cold emails!!!


Thanks, Grace! I really appreciate you acknowledging how scary it can initially be to send these out into the world :slight_smile: I think the language you’ve suggested will be really useful for me in case this happens again.

And sure! Here is the template that I’ve been using:

Hi [First name],

I hope you are doing well! My name is Lianne and I’m a UX researcher who is incredibly passionate about joining your team! [If applicable: Personal anecdote if I have a shared interest, mutual friend, etc.]

I apologize if you are not the right person to send this email to, but I just wanted to share that I’m really fascinated by [company mission]. With my passion for building better, more authentically informed digital spaces and strong experience with end-to-end user research processes, I know I can hit the ground running and make a positive impact on your team.

I’ve applied for the [Job title] role, and I would love the opportunity to share more about my background. Please let me know if you would have some time this week or next to connect!

Lianne Minnis

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Hi Lianne,

Awesome thanks for sharing. I would say
overall impressions: very polite, considerate, a little bit tentative in vocabulary choices

good:I like how you use words like “passion” and explain a little bit about your background but your descriptive words are a little bit generic. I think you could add something more “personalized” about your background. “strong experience in end user research processes within XX industry, or XX project with XX results/approach”

consider changing: the last line could have a little more direct approach. For example: "I would love the chance to hop on a call with you to learn more about why I would be a good fit for the role. I am usually available in the (morning, afternoons, between 1-3 pm (pst), etc)

If you would like to follow up in email you can find me at


Thanks, Grace! I’m going to implement your suggestions in the emails I send out this week. Much appreciated!

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Good luck!

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