We’ve analyzed 10,000+ emails to find cold email templates with the highest open and reply rates. The emails with the highest open and reply rates all had a few characteristics in common: they were concise, personalized, and had an attention grabbing subject line.

When writing a cold email put yourself in the shoes of the person receiving the message. Ask yourself the following questions: What subject line would peak my interest? If I got this email would I respond to it? Is this email too long?

In this post, we’ll analyze 5 cold email templates which had high open/reply rates and the best practices of sending a cold email to a potential prospect.

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Cold Email Template: Two Companies

Subject: {COMPANY}

Hi {first_name},

COMPANIES A & B are growing their data science teams and both have interesting research areas so thought they could be a good fit.

COMPANY A is a pharmaceutical company with a consumer health tracking app and most of their data science is around ingredient research and product development.

COMPANY B is tackling renewable energy and working on a lot of interesting challenges around time series data.

Both roles have an engineering and machine learning component.

Are you super happy at {COMPANY} or interested and want more insight?



Jennifer Smith, connecting great talent with industry leaders

What makes this email effective?

Subject Line: The subject line is the company the prospect is currently working at. A reason this may lead to opening the email is the familiarity component. It’s also definitely intriguing.

Personalization: Often times, at these very senior engineering levels, the challenging nature of the problems to be solved is what interests the candidate more than anything. The one-sentence break down of what both companies are looking for makes it easy for the candidate to decide what he/she may be interested in.

Length: Each sentence almost stands on its own, the email is simple and to the point with a call to action at the end.

Cold Email Template: Phone Interview Call To Action

Subject: Phone Interview - {Company Name} - $XXXK OTE+

Dear {First Name},

A client of mine, {Company Name} is interested in your profile and I would like to talk to you about your background and the opportunity. We are conducting interviews for this position Friday, Monday and Tuesday 9-3 EST. Please let me know when we can speak.

- SaaS company with solid growth

- Customers include Google, HP, Nike, Expedia and Hotels.com

- Enterprise sale selling to Fortune 1000

- Global offices

- Strong leadership

www.{Company Name}.com


Jennifer Smith

Director of Recruiting

What makes this email effective?

Subject Line: Very clear subject line, telling the candidate about a phone interview for a role at this company for a specified pay and is clearly working directly with the hiring manager.

Personalization: Key points are bulleted specifically the customer logos and mentions that the company works with top-tier clients. The recruiter also links the company website at the end.

Length: In 3 short sentences the recruiter provides context and gets to the ask. Using bullets is a great way to quickly present key points.

Cold Email Template: Recruiting for Multiple (2+) Companies

Subject: NYC FE Roles - P2P Lending/ Performance/ Video

Hey {First Name} - I don’t think you and my company have been in touch for at least a year, are you still working at {Company}?

I’m working with {COMPANY A}, {COMPANY B}, {COMPANY C}, and {COMPANY D}, for their front-end engineering needs. They are all startups post Series B (except {COMPANY C} which is privately funded by its founders and profitable already). They are peer-to-peer lending shops, a performance software company, and a video editing software company.

They are all functional programming shops looking for front-end engineers with React/Ember/Angular (ideally 2) experience.

Any interest?


John Smith

What makes this email effective?

Subject Line: The recruiter makes clear the role he’s looking to recruit for and the general industry of the company he’s recruiting for. He’s looking for front end engineers in the P2P Lending/ Performance/ Video industries.

Personalization: Before sending this email the recruiter checked the candidate’s GitHub and LinkedIn to know what languages he or she codes in and made sure to reference that in the body. The recruiter also does a great job of giving multiple companies and shows credibility by noting the fundraising status.

Length: There is not any superfluous information in the email and it is easy to read.

Cold Email Template: Hyper-Personalized for Technical Recruiter

Subject: At the Core of {Company}

Hey {First Name},

I see you’re currently programming in Haskell which I think would make you a great fit for our backend team here. The team builds the underlying modules, services, and APIs that power {Company}. They are currently working on re-architecting some of our infrastructure and I think you could really contribute.

If you’re interested in learning more, I would love to chat.


John Smith

What makes this email effective?

Subject Line:

Although, the author doesn’t go into the specific role or location, he does mention that the role is integral to the company by mentioning “at the core.”

Personalization: It’s clear that the recruiter has done his or her research by specifically calling out the role the candidate currently has. Furthermore, he mentions specifically “re-architecting some of our infrastructure” - something the candidate can quickly gauge their interest by. The call to action could have been stronger by suggesting some times to chat.

Length: This is the perfect example of a short and to the point e-mail. It’s very focused on the recipient and easy to read.

Warm Email Sequence Template: Building a Relationship with Candidate

Note: This is good as a “warming” email. A warming email is not quite a cold email as you have already reached out before but they never engaged with you or said “thanks not right now”. It’s important to re-engage talent because people’s situations constantly change and you never know if now is the right time, even if 3 or 6 or 9 months ago wasn’t.

Subject: Hey {Prospect’s Name}


Been a while, wanted to see how things are going at {company} - what’s new?

I think when we last connected in May I was either in London or had just come back.

Assuming all is good on your end work wise. Any Halloween plans? We’re dressing up as a pirate family and having some friends over - Yarg!?!

Also in that sequence:


Hadn’t heard from you in a while - hope all is well. I’m assuming all is good at {Company} but we try to stay connected with folks every 4 months or so (3 times per year).

Anyway, we’re still trucking along - seems we are adding 2-3 new clients a week - you picked the right time to be in tech :)

{first_name} - hope all is good with you.

Why are “warming emails” important?

The main goal here is to build a relationship with the passive candidates and find out if they’re currently looking for new opportunities.

The recruiter does an excellent job of adding a personal touch to the email and jogging the recipient’s memory by reminding him or her the last time they chatted.

The follow-up email is also short and easy to follow, making it easy for the recipient to read. Having follow-up emails are essential to increasing your response rates.

Cold Email Best Practices

  • Be Concise

  • Personalize as much as possible without showing fake sincerity

  • Have a clear and focused subject line

We’ve found that emails that hit all three of those characteristics have the highest open and reply rates.