An Engineer's Guide to... cold outreach?!

by Jared Meyers on 02 Dec 2020

"I'll handle the business side"

We've all heard it before - your friend (or acquaintance or even some random person on the internet you've never met before) - wants you to do all of the hard work to bring their ideas to reality.

Oh, I forgot to mention you'll get a whopping 10% of the company since they came up with a revolutionary idea.

I'm also an engineer at heart – I love building and everything that goes into it.

I love solving problems and cold outreach is a very interesting one. It's vital to building a business. "Build it and they will come" just doesn't cut it.

Let's start by defining the problem

  • There is someone with knowledge, experience, or status that would really help me
  • Talking with them would give me a huge jump-start on what I'm working on
  • They are busy and have no clue who I am

Problems involving people are interesting – that's why I chose biomedical engineering. Cold outreach is just that, we want to get in touch with a person who knows nothing about us.

I did this at scale with as many as 300 people at a time each week and got over 2x the industry standard response rate. How did I get this to work?

Much like physics or programming, let's dig into our key principles:

  • Provide value in everything you do
  • Make it personal (and personable)
  • Keep it short, sweet, and to the point

Using these principles (and one unifying theory), we can talk to anyone.

Here's an example from my sales work:

Hey {first name},

Saw you've worked in talent at {company1}, {company2}, and now {current company}, and wanted to reach out :)

My name's Jared. My team and I build tech for high growth recruiting teams.

We've built a fully autonomous AI recruiting assistant. Twice a week, you get 10-15 candidates to your inbox for one of your open roles -- each candidate has context of why they were chosen, and a full set of customized email templates & follow up messages (both emails & text messages) based on their resume and the role. Just click a button to start sending.

Right now, we're working with {list of 3 current clients}, and hitting 40% reply rates on outgoing messages.

Most teams set interviews in their first week. Would love to do a free pilot with {your company} to see if this might be a fit.
We fully integrate with {company's applicant system}. Quick link to our site: {link to our site}

Have time this week to jump on a call and discuss?


P.S. Pretty cool that you studied marketing -- how'd you get into recruiting?

And here's the response I got:

Thanks for reaching out Jared!

I'm not interested but I do love your email! It's great!

Have an awesome day and a great holiday :)

This works because I satisfied the problem:

  • Provide value - in this case, I demonstrate how helpful our product is for other teams and that it could help them as well.
  • Make it personal - I used LinkedIn to do my research. I knew the companies they had worked for and also what they chose to study in college.
  • Keep it short, sweet, and to the point - I didn't write a doctoral thesis. Each paragraph is 1-2 sentences which makes it easy to read on mobile phones.

An added bonus here is that I ended with a call-to-action: "have time for a call?"

This makes sure they know exactly what I'm asking for and makes the communication super clear.

Let's go with another example, an investor I wanted to get in touch with for advice. This is a LinkedIn connection message:

Hi {investor name},

Congrats on opening {fund} for business!

I'm Jared, I'm a biomedical engineering undergrad at Georgia Tech and I co-founded Augment Health (

Do you have 15 mins to hop on a call? I'd love to hear how your time as a Marine translated to business :)


I sent this message after seeing a post that he had just opened his new fund.

Email me {his email}

Success! My advice meeting actually turned into us pitching their fund, which was really cool.

Take a moment to think about how the 3 principles are working in this context.

Once again:

  • Provide value - In this case, I'm looking for advice so the value I'm providing isn't as clear. For the startup community in general, people are open to helping and I'm giving someone an opportunity to help and expand their network. I also have my own startup, so it could create an investment opportunity for them.
  • Make it personal - Here I focused on his work history (Marine -> business) and investment fund.
  • Keep it short, sweet, and to the point - LinkedIn limits you which makes this perfect. 3-4 sentences is plenty.

Again, include your call-to-action to make it super easy for someone to say yes.

This information is great, but you need to apply it

Think about who you want to reach out to. Is it:

  • A potential mentor or advisor
  • Someone who can show you a problem that needs to be solved
  • Your future co-founder
  • A potential friend!

Find their email, LinkedIn profile, other social media, or any contact info you can!

Next, write your message. Follow the principles:

  • Provide value - show the person something that will interest them
  • Make it personal - show that you're reaching out to them and not to everyone
  • Keep it short, sweet, and to the point - make sure it's quick to read and say yes. If it's too long and convoluted, they won't read it.

Now there's one step left, use our unifying theory to solve!


Shia LaBeouf just do it meme.

Send the message! Get on out there, find the people you want to talk to and talk to them!

Big thanks to Murtaza Bambot for introducing me to the world of sales and Keith Ferrazzi (even though we haven't met, yet) for writing Never Eat Alone, the book that totally changed how I view networking.

Also huge thanks to my team at Augment Health that has helped so much with both the tech & business side.

If you're interested in hearing more from me, I'm experimenting with an email list – I promise I won't spam you and you'll only receive the best content from me :)