The power of being fearless- Cold Emails

The purpose of this post is to show you how to get anyone in your company to respond to your email. I have had success using the techniques below while interning at PepsiCo.

Disclaimer: The techniques mentioned in this blog post were derived from The Competitive Edge podcast Episode 30.

Before the Email

It is possible to reach ANYONE in your company by phone for a short conversation. If you are not afraid of rejection, you can get in touch with anyone through cold emailing.

How to Find an Email

If your company uses Microsoft Office, you have access to all employees’ email in your company. Steps to get an email are shown in the pictures below

blog

Articulating the Email

Below is an email I sent to a Senior Vice President at PepsiCo (the equivalent of the CFO for supply chain) asking for career advice.

blog 1

The Breakdown

Subject Line

Grab their attention. Make a subject line that will draw attention and sum up why you are emailing them.

My example: Following in Your Footsteps

Introduction

Cut straight to the point; do not waste words on meaningless background facts (hometown, school major, interests etc.). The short introduction is vital; you will capture the person’s attention in the first sentence. Throw something in at the end of the sentence that will make them want to read more.

My Example: I aspire to be as impactful as you have been in PepsiCo and the world.

Gaging interest

The second sentence is the most important part of the email. You must connect on an emotional level here. In my email, I brought up an achievement of his which he is extremely proud of while relating it to myself. Referencing something specific shows you have researched the person and are serious about getting time on his/her calendar. When bringing up a topic that connects you and your targeted executive, keep in mind it can be anything that you relate to. Some examples are an article the person wrote, an interview that he/she gave, a position they held, specific accomplishments or even a personal hobby you both share.

My example: Your influence on Gatorade, my favorite drink, to move it to a Kosher beverage is truly amazing especially because half my family keeps Kosher.

Specific Time – 10,3

Put time on their calendar and be specific. It’s harder for someone to say no if you found an open timeslot on their calendar, exemplify that you have a plan and are not going to waste a second with them. A personal rule of mine is to request ten minutes of their time to ask three questions. Ten minutes is short enough where they can be willing to speak to you but long enough where you can get some good information.

My example: I have put time on your calendar to speak with you on Thursday at 10:00 but will only need ten minutes of your time to ask you three questions.

blog2

Throwing in a blog2 towards the end of your email lightens up the subject matter. Do not use this for every person you email though. You must understand what industry this person is in and if it will be taken in a positive or negative way. If you can find out that the person is easy going definitely throw it in there.

My example: I’m looking forward to your response blog2

Proofread!

Notice how I had a grammar error because I did not proofread. Always double check your work to avoid a costly mistake.

Persistence

Anticipate that the executive will initially deny your request to have a phone call. BE PERSISTENT. I sent my email request three days in a row until the executive accepted my meeting with him.

 

Best of luck and happy interning!

 

A Day in the Life of a Technological Auditor

As I promised in my first blog post, “Gearing up for my Summer Internship at Key Bank”, I will go into more detail about what being an IT General Controls Sox Audit team member looks like on a day to day basis. Before I get into anything too serious, I need to start with the basics. Some of the most important things that I have learned this summer about being a technological auditor are from my marvelous manager, Brian Drotleff. Ironically, most of those things are witty one-liners. Some of my most coveted one-liners are:

  • Be comfortable being uncomfortable
  • Be curious
  • Trust, but verify
  • If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen

With these handy dandy proverbs in your pocket there is nothing you can’t achieve in the working world.

The first saying is by far my favorite. I think being comfortable being uncomfortable is applicable to all parts of life. If you can be comfortable not understanding or knowing everything, but make inquisitive, intelligent steps towards your task, then you will be worlds better off. Throughout my internship I have learned to be comfortable being uncomfortable really quick. From day one I was staffed onto a project looking into access provisioning. I am by no means a subject matter expert on access provisioning, but by accepting what I do know I am able to then build steps to fill the gaps of what I do not know therefore completing my testing. The more comfortable I get with being uncomfortable the better I fair with each set of new testing!

The second maxim once again applies to almost everything in life and ties in very closely with the first. If I had a nickel for every time I was encouraged to be curious, I would probably already be retired. All jokes aside, being curious is really important to being a technological auditor. If I get an email back from app support and I do not really understand what they mean, it’s imperative to take it a step further to make sure my understanding aligns with the deciphered technological lingo and abbreviations (there are abbreviations for everything – including abbreviations for abbreviations).

The third axiom plays off the second. It is paramount for all Risk Review, or the third line of defense, to ensure that what is being reported is accurate. There is no way to ensure the information sourced from applications and systems, if the application and system can’t be ensured to be working efficiently and accurately. For example, if an individual tells you a password is securely stored – that’s great. You can trust them, but you better verify.

The final one-liner is probably the most important. I can be as comfortable being uncomfortable, as curious, or as verified as I want, but none of it happened unless I document it. Throughout my internship the screen shot has become my best friend. I am constantly logging different conversations and pulled reports as form of documentation. As tedious as it may seem, documenting is very valuable. When coming across a speed bump in testing, it is very nice to be able to look back at all the documented details from last year to give clues to the next steps.

The most challenging part about being a technological auditor is walking the line between being a member of the KeyBank team and being an independent body to the lines of business. Many lines of business don’t reply or comply in a timely fashion because we are seen as the folks that show up once a year and point out all of the mistakes similarly to regulators and external auditors. I spend a measurable time at work trying to track down emails and get answers. At the end of the day, we all play for the same team. Whether the lines of business acknowledge it or not, it is much better off for Risk Review to find something rather than the regulators or the external auditors.

Opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent those of KeyBank

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 5.24.34 PM

Brian Drotleff – SOX IT Audit Extraordinaire

25 Short, Sweet Tips for Success as a Summer Intern

by Sarah Steenrod

While it seems like just yesterday (okay, so more like 13 years ago) I was an intern at Neiman Marcus in Las Vegas, the lessons I learned and experiences I had a during that pivotal time in my college and professional career are crystal clear. Here are some tips that will help make your internship a success:

  1. Set goals. Having personal and professional goals can help you make the most of your summer, stay on track, and know if you have achieved what you set out to do.
  2. Ask questions. An internship is a learning process and you may need to seek clarification along the way.
  3. Participate in all intern and company activities that you are invited to. It’s a great way to meet fellow interns and people at the company who are investing their time in your experience.
  4. Share your ideas. People want to know what you think, so speak up!
  5. If you finish your work, ask for more. By taking initiative, you may end up with an awesome project or learning experience.
  6. Pack your lunch. You’ll save money and calories. It’s absolutely fine to join your colleagues and treat yourself to lunch every once in a while, but you will thank yourself at the end of the summer if you don’t blow your paychecks on takeout sushi.
  7. Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Always be sure to follow the dress code. Make sure your clothes are clean, neat, and pressed
  8. Get a good night’s rest. If you’re used to going to bed at 2 a.m., the sound of the alarm at 6 a.m. is going to be a rude awakening (literally and figuratively). No one at your workplace will care if you’re tired, so don’t look or act tired.
  9. Consider your internship a three-month interview. This is your opportunity to make the most of each day with the potential of getting a job offer at the end.
  10. Ask people if you can be of help to them. You might think you don’t have a lot to offer, but perhaps one of your colleagues has a child that is considering your university and would love to hear your perspective.
  11. Explore the city…and the food. If you’re in Cleveland, don’t miss the West Side Market and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. St. Louis is famous for fried ravioli. In Houston, be sure to try the BBQ.
  12. Exercise. Take a brisk walk, ride a bike, run, do yoga! Do whatever you like, just get moving!
  13. Drink water. That’s what the water coolers are for! Eight 8-ounce glasses day is what’s recommended, but if that sounds like a lot, just start with a couple glasses a day. It also helps to get a water bottle that you really like.
  14. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it, find a way to fix it, and move on. Don’t make excuses.
  15. Connect with alumni from your school. Use your university’s alumni club. Tap into the LinkedIn Find Alumni tool.
  16. Check in regularly with your parents, family members, and friends and let them know how your internship is going….they will appreciate it.
  17. Say please. It’s amazing how many people will be willing to help you if you ask nicely.
  18. Follow all computer rules and lock your computer when you step away from your desk. Also, if your company has a social media policy, refrain from posting on Facebook during work hours.
  19. Ask for feedback. Some supervisors will be good at giving you positive and constructive feedback, while others may be less forthcoming. If they know it’s important to you, they may be more likely to give it.
  20. Avoid office gossip. If someone talks about others to you, they are probably talking about you to others.
  21. Pay attention to your experiences, reflect on them, and jot down a few notes. Your worst on-the-job experience may someday be your best interview story. The trick is remembering all the details.
  22. Wear sunscreen. Seriously
  23. Be present and enjoy the experience!
  24. Keep in touch. Don’t wait until you need something to e-mail your former supervisor. Send an e-mail every once in a while to check in and let them know how you’re doing.
  25. Thank people and let them know how they impacted your life and career. A handwritten note is a very nice touch.

Sarah Steenrod is Director of Undergraduate Career Consultation and Programs in the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

How to Make the Most of Your Summer Internship

By Kaitlin Bressler, Undergraduate Career Consultant

With summer right around the corner, there is no better time than the present to determine how you will make the most of the journey you are about to embark on. Here are some tips to help you be most successful before, during, and after your internship.

Preparing for your Summer Internship:

Set Personal Goals

Before your summer internship, write a list of goals you hope to achieve over the summer. These goals can be work related, such as completing a certain type of project, or these could even be some personal goals you’ve set for yourself. For example, getting out of your comfort zone, or simply meeting new people and creating new relationships this summer. It’s a good idea to document these goals so that you can go back at the end of your internship and do some self-reflecting and hopefully realize that you’ve grown a lot throughout the course of your internship experience.

Seek out Alumni

It is always a good idea to reach out to alumni at your organization, or even just in your city so you have someone you can look to as a resource. Before you begin your internship, set up an initial coffee or lunch meeting. Have a list of good conversation starters prepared for when you meet up, such as “How did you originally find your position?” or “What do you enjoy the most about working at _____?” This person will likely be a great resource or mentor for you, especially if you are moving to a new city for your internship.

Dress Successfully

Make sure you know the office dress code expectations for the summer. If dress is business professional, you will want to make sure you’re prepared with the appropriate attire before the summer internship starts. Companies have different dress policies, so it’s a good idea to reach out to your HR representative to make sure you’re aware of the company dress policies before you start the internship.

Things to Consider During your Internship:

First Impressions/Confidence

It’s always important to maintain a good first impression. Make sure to be on time, and always be prompt to meetings, even if everyone else is not. During your internship it is important to remember that you are being observed under a magnifying glass, so try to minimize errors, but realize it is always ok to ask for help or clarification on projects. Try to find opportunities to contribute your ideas in group meetings, and find a way to be indispensable.

Track your Internship Projects

It is a good idea to keep track of all the projects you work on this summer. Good documentation of these assignments will help you in the future to remember what exactly you worked on (which will come in handy during future resume writing or interviewing).

Solicit Feedback

Make sure you have frequent check-in meetings with your internship supervisor and seek out feedback on your goals and achievements. Knowing your progress will help you be a more successful professional in the long run.

Handling Social Situations

Build the right kind of reputation by maintaining a high level of professionalism throughout the summer internship. Make an effort to get to know many people at your internship location this summer, and try to be friendly and open when communicating with colleagues or peers.

Stay in Touch with Internship Contacts

Staying in touch with contacts is extremely valuable. You never know when you will need a good recommendation, or need to consult someone about a new project you are working on. Because past colleagues can be great resources or references, it is good to maintain relationships so you can reach out to them if you’re ever in need.

Don’t forget to take that Buckeye Pride into your interview…

Last week, the Fisher Futures class was given the opportunity to listen to Jeff Rice, the executive director of the Office of Career Management. While there were many “pearls of wisdom” in his talk, the single most important piece of advice he gave us was to remain confident in the job search and to take pride in ourselves as Buckeyes. As we prepare for our futures and begin to journey toward internships, interviews, and other challenges, it is very important to keep in mind Jeff’s message of confidence building. Often times, we will be competing with students from other schools who misguidedly believe they have the upper hand in competing with us and we need to keep Jeff’s thoughts in mind and maintain our internal self-confidence regarding the quality of our school and Fisher College of Business.

Fisher is a premier business school, recognized by Businessweek as the 34th and 12th best public business school for undergraduate and graduate studies, respectively. Beyond that, Businessweek states we are the 9th best worldwide for the executive MBA. Our business school produces CEOs of companies and leaders around the globe. These statistics and confidence builders are so important to remember as we go forth. Jeff was very astute in telling the Fisher Futures class that, as Buckeyes, we must be proud and understand there is no geographical constraint to our job search and the opportunities are infinite.

Katherine Stith – Fisher Futures Program