How a Cold Email Got Me My Dream Fashion Job

Michelle Scanga

To cold-email, or not to cold-email? I’ll leave you to answer that question yourself. Because in my opinion, it comes down to whether you’re comfortable putting yourself out there, and the way you approach the email. Today I’m sharing my cold-email success story. For me, I never thought twice if I should reach out to a complete stranger or not, I just went for it, firing off a hefty number of messages blindly introducing myself.

Let me give you some quick background: I’m from Kansas, and I had little fashion experience on my résumé after graduating from college. Yet I was determined to move to either L.A. or New York after graduating from the University of Kansas, so making my own connections and finding a unique way to get my foot into the door of the fashion industry was my only choice. Hence the massive amount of emails I sent. Desperate? No, I’d call it determined. As I dedicated a chunk of my senior year of college researching different publications, PR firms, and brands that I found interesting and every morning, I’d search around to find a contact and reach out.

During my research phase, I perused all social media channels, specifically Instagram, where I followed PR firms, CEOs of several the publications, and other industry insiders so I’d have a better idea of the work environment.

With Who What Wear at the top of my list, I was obviously following co-founders Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr, which is where I found a unique way to make a connection at the company I wanted to intern at most.

PHOTO:

Madewell Blog

Fast-forward to the end of May during my senior year. I was casually scrolling through IG and stopped on one of Katherine’s photos, because the group of women she was posing with were all stunning, and they were at some glamorous event. So as one does, I clicked on each profile she tagged and continued my IG creeping. One of the women in the photo was Michelle H., a friend of Power’s, who I learned was from Kansas after a few minutes browsing her profile.

I then hopped off IG and do a quick Google search to learn more about Michelle H. from Kansas and eventually find her email address. I draft an email (which ends up being the cold-email that helped me land my internship at Who What Wear) with the subject line “Kansas Michelle.” I searched my inbox to find the original email, but unfortunately I sent from my university account, which four years later is now deactivated.

I remember that it went a little something like this: Hi, Michelle, I hope you don’t find this weird, but I came across your profile through Katherine Power’s recent photo and learned you’re from Kansas. I’d love to get your advice on moving from the midwest to L.A. I’m sure I included a few more lines, but all in all, it was short, sweet, and very genuine. And luckily for me, she responded and ultimately connected me with the internship manager at Who What Wear for an interview. 

A few months later I moved out to L.A., started my internship with Who What Wear, was then hired as the fashion assistant, and since have worked my way up to managing editor. How I went from intern to managing editor? Stay tuned, for that topic. 

Does cold-emailing work for everyone? No. But, if you ask me, it’s worth a shot. Response or no response, if you’re passionate and determined enough, you’ll find a way to get your foot in the door no matter which industry you're interested in.

Do you have a cold-emailing success story? I’d love to read about it in the comments below. And, if you’re prepping for your next interview outfit, shop my picks here.

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