2 December 2019

How to Get a Part-Time Job in New Zealand Using Cold-Emails | Study With New Zealand

Matthew Le
Bachelor's student

International student Matthew Le landed his first part-time job in New Zealand by sending a well-crafted email.

Okay…before we get started, I want you to know that this is not a blog about “How to write a CV?” or “What to put in your LinkedIn profile?”

If that’s what you’re looking for, then click off to YouTube or do whatever you have to :)

After all, knowing how to write a good CV as well as making your LinkedIn look good are very essential to getting a job too!

But if you have decided to stay, you’re about to learn a new thing - an unconventional and not-at-all-proven method to land a part-time job: COLD-EMAILS.


Okay so… it all started like this:

At the beginning of 2019, I was accepted into the University of Auckland studying Commerce. And as you could tell, “getting a part-time job” was one of the most talked-about topics amongst “freshers” like us.

I’m serious - my friends literally wouldn’t shut up about it. Basically, in their “UNI101 dictionary”, you will find that:

“Having a job” = “Being independent”; “Making money”; “Being the cool kid with a job”; “Having enough money to go on dates”; etc.

As you can tell, I was peer-pressured into finding myself a part-time job. However, I didn’t just want any part-time job.

I wanted the part-time job that was related to my passion; the one that would get me excited to go to work.

So naturally, I thought of Photowarehouse - the store on Queen Street that sells cameras.

You guessed it - my passion was photography.

One problem: I did NOT have any prior experience working in retail NOR any knowledge about the camera industry.

So, frankly, if I were to wait for a job ad to be posted on TradeMe/Facebook, I would have to compete with others with who-knows how many years of experience they had got under their belts.

I realised that I needed an edge to make this happen - something that would impress Photowarehouse so much that they would have to take a chance on me. That was when I thought of WRITING A COLD-EMAIL.

Essentially, cold emails are the type of email that I would send to people (who I don’t know personally) to ask for a favour or make a proposal - in exchange for something.

Yup, it’s quid pro quo these days. You want something, you have to offer something first.

I only knew of “cold-emails” from a book that I read earlier that week - The Third Door by Alex Banayan. So the cold-email template below is entirely credited to him.

Dear So-and-So, I know you're really busy and that you get a lot of emails, so this will only take sixty seconds to read. [Here is where you say who you are: add one or two lines that establish your credibility.] [Here is where you ask your very specific question.] I totally understand if you're too busy to respond, but even a one- or two-line reply would really make my day. All the best, Tim

Following this exact template, this was I what I sent to the Photowarehouse.

43 minutes later (at 13:18), I received an email from the General Manager of Photowarehouse saying that he’d love to interview me as soon as possible that week.

Now, if you are going to use this cold-email thing as an attempt to get a part-time job at a company, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Learn about the company

Spend as much time as you possibly can to learn everything there is to know about that company. Not only to find out the best email address (in case the companies have different departments); but also to thoroughly understand the company’s goals, strengths and history, etc. This could later be sprinkled into the cold-email to show that YOU CARE about them.

For example: Knowing that PW (Photowarehouse) wasn’t producing many videos about their products on social media compared to their competitors (PBTech or Noel Leeming), I tied that info nicely into my film-making ability and offered that unrefusable package of goodness - giving them exactly what they need.

2. Make it concise.

Get to the punchline quickly. Don’t beat around the bush. That’s exactly how you’re gonna capture their attention - being bold. 

3. Include THIS sentence:

“Yes, I’m very much aware that this is a long shot and I don’t know if you guys have ever employed someone via email but… There you go - if you’re reading this, it means that I have shot my shot. It’s now entirely up to you to make the call.”

This is a psychological trick that would often encourage people to make an exception for you. Works pretty well in my case :)

4. Clickbait ‘em.

Yes, you heard me right.  For your email to stand out - for them to click on your email, MAKE YOUR TITLE INTERESTING. A good way to do this would be: Imagine what kind of email titles they usually get and make yours drastically different from it.

5. Be yourself.

This was never a technique - more of a life philosophy. Express your personality through your writing. This is a very nice way of letting them know who you are - as a person - not just an email.

Alright, this blog has gotten a little too long already. 

To sum things up, everything said above was collected from my own experience of trying to get a part-time job. Not only that, I have applied this exact cold-email template in different occasions in my life (winning a scholarship or getting free trips). Some worked out - some didn’t :) Life moves on anyway.

It is also important to note that this method is NOT fool-proof. The possibility of you landing that job has a lot to do with your writing style, your personality, the company’s employability and on top of all that - your luck.

Once the email is sent, for me, I would personally move on.  There’s really no point to stress or to obsessively wait on it. You have done your best - well done - now move on to the next thing ;)

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About the contributors
Matthew Le
Bachelor's student

Hey, I’m Matthew. Born and raised in Vietnam. I spent the last 2 years in high school here in New Zealand. And now, I’m an international student at the University of Auckland. I am turning 19 soon. And I don’t like that. So… I’ve decided to live the last few months of being 18 by the "Theory of YES". Saying YES to things that scare the heck out of me.