Mail-merge Experiences

Mailmerge Experiences:

I’m hoping we can all share our experiences with mail-merge here. I’d like to start by sharing a learning that I’ve had recently:

  1. I got a much higher response rate from startups in the Seattle area than San Francisco.

  2. I also created a new CV with no dates to battle the bias of ageism. And I think this helped too.

I’m attaching my new CV here in case someone wants to take a look. But these two factors together lead to a higher response.

I’m not sure how much of a contributing factor each of them separately is. But I strongly believe if we all share our learnings and experiences we can arrive at a much more streamlined mail-merge experience for all of us.

Hoping to hear from all the fellow Pathrisers :slight_smile: Happy hunting.

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Hey Kris, I started a mail merge thread in the general forum a little bit ago, and I shared my experiences so far there

Of the 30 emails I sent that went through, 20 were viewed, and I got about 9 responses, and 2 phone screens. Very high response rate! I’m only looking in Austin, but for whatever reason, lots of the companies in CrunchBase are no longer in Austin, or the opportunities that the contacts have in mind are located in facilities outside of Austin. I haven’t done a second batch of mail merges yet–I did the most relevant search first, so it’s likely my response rate will drop as I widen my net to companies with a lower relevance to my background.

I have dates on my resume, which go back to my BA degree from 2005 and my first job from 2006. If anything, the dates imply I have 13 years of experience, even though I had periods of unemployment and times I was a full-time student. The feedback I’ve received from responses have been very positive, even from those who don’t have openings–they are asking me to contact them again in case they have a need later.

What were your response rates?

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Hello Kris, Alyssa,

I haven’t done my mail merge yet, and curious to know if these response rates are when using the generic email that Crunchbase generates or have you guys gone through the actual hunting for recruiter’s email for each of the company on your list? I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks!

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I have been using emails from crunchbase. That’s probably why my undeliverable % was so high, only 20 emails out of 53 sent were viewed. But the active emails did net me a fairly high response rate.

Granted, my first round was highly targeted, for companies in a niche field I’m an extremely good fit for, so the people who got my resume were super impressed. As I broaden my search, I expect my response rate will drop (I’m at 50% response for viewed mails).

Tiny suggestion (I just want to point this out), make sure when you are sending cold emails you pay close attention to the spelling of people’s names. Not a big deal here, but be aware people can have uncommon spellings of their names, so always triple check.


Hi Alyssa and Murad

@Alysa : Glad to hear about your positive experiences on mail-merge. I’m by default trying to switch careers and so it’s a really steep uphill battle for me and as expected I don’t have as much of a response rate as yours. I completely agree with you on the names. If you get that wrong you screw up the smallest effort that we are putting in personalization and it’s a reasonably big error that gives a clue about your mass emailing.

@atamuradc : So there are two ways of slicing this problem. One is the recommended strategy by Pathrise where you email many companies at once. The other way to slice this is to send many emails to people in the same company. I have some experience with the latter based on my own experimentation. You can use to get corporate email addresses of any company. It also verifies the emails from multiple sources and gives you a score for how reliable that email is. I’ve sent emails to over 6000 companies now with the first slicing approach and about 10000 emails to individuals in a few companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Google etc.

I’m switching careers too! Going from polymer science wet-lab R&D to IT Project Management. That’s a fairly drastic change, but I have some IT experience from 2006-2010 and lots of transferrable skills, and I wrote my resume to support my transition.

(and really, my name has only one “s” in it!)

I mainly sent out my mail merge to Houston, Dallas, and Austin. I am a new grad and look for junior position. So far all of the responses are from Austin, and the response rate is about 1-2 phone call / 40 mails. And I just got an offer from a startup yesterday. That being said, I have a happy experience with mail merge!

Apologies, Alysa. Didn’t mean to misspell your name.

Congratulations on the offer! Could you please share your strategies on sending out your mail merge?

No problem/ here is:
You may also want to specify the amount & series of fundings

No problem, Murad. As I mentioned, it doesn’t really matter here (and frankly, I’m used to it by now, more people misspell my name than get it right). But pay close attention when sending to potential employers, because trust me, they will care!

I finally recovered all my Mail Merge emails and uploaded them on a google drive. I thought I should share it here with everyone. The way this folder is organized is as follows:

  1. Company cross-section Crunchbase: This is the folder with emails I downloaded from Crunchbase. This is the approach suggested by Pathrise.

  2. Employee cross-section: This is the folder with emails from There’s ~ 50,000 emails here distributed over ~ 100 companies. This is based on the approach I tried at Penn State about three years ago. In this cross-section I send emails to multiple people within the same company with one templatized custom email with one cover letter and resume. This time around I sent roughly 500 emails per company on the average and got a pretty reasonable response. My on-site with Yelp, Uber and Amazon came by using this approach.

I hope everyone here finds this useful and please feel free share what your experience was with each kind of slicing (cross-section) in Mail Merge. Happy hunting.

Best Regards


@krisranden I love it how you were doing trial and error with the mail merges. Sometimes when we change our way we can make a larger impact!

I also find sending a follow up email to the emails I originally sent (and have been viewed) usually results in a higher response rate! So, if at first you don’t succeed try, try again!