How to Hustle

Dec 06, 2016

1: Defining your Goal

Finding the right role

  • Consider the skills you already have, and those which you wish to develop
  • Don’t undersell yourself, you’re capable of learning anything you need to
  • Be realistic with what you think you can accomplish, but still don’t be afraid to shoot for the moon
  • Consider the steps you will need to take to get there (if you’re interested in working at Google, but have little experience with software, perhaps an internship at a less competitive organization or personal project first?)
  • Talk with people about your goals, sharing them only legitimizes them and forces you to really think about them more

Finding the right company

  • Take a look at a company’s mission statement and core values. Make sure they resonate with you.
  • Look to see if the company has a structured internship program in your field. It’s not necessary, but it makes applying much easier, although perhaps more competitive. Take Google’s student programs for example.
  • Look at specific examples of work previous interns have done there, to make sure it fits well with the role you want to be in
  • Don’t feel like you have to work for a well known company just for the sake of it. Pay more attention to the work you will be doing and how the experience aligns with your career goals

If you’re unsure about what the kind roles are even relevant to you, or don’t know what the name of the position you’re after would be, try checking out articles like this to help give you an idea of what to look for.

Check Out:

YNCN even has a portal of current positions for students just like you. Explore here !

2: Finding Warm Leads

  • These are the people you already have a connection with. They don’t have to be really close to you, but they should recognize your name and could pick you out in a room.
  • Reaching out to them doesn’t have to be super formal. Sometimes just messaging them on Facebook to meet is enough.

Important: A warm lead doesn’t have to work at the company you’re interested in. They might also be someone who can connect you to someone at that company, or connect you with someone who could put you one step closer to achieving your goal.


3: Finding Cold Leads

A cold lead is someone who you have never interacted with before. Because of this, these messages need to be more formal. Email is probably your best bet to reach out to these people, as you won’t be friends on Facebook, and they may live very far away from you.

Finding a cold lead is a little more challenging than a warm one. Because they aren’t already in your network, you’re going to have to do a little digging to come up with some names, as well as how to get in touch with them. Thankfully, there are some great tools out there to help you!


Linkedin / Alumni Tool
Linkedin is a very powerful search tool for finding people relevant to your industry or area of interest. Think Facebook for jobs. The Alumni tool allows you to find U of T grads and students who work at your companies of interest. Using that connection can get you far! More on the alumni tool here


Meetup / Networking Events

Another great way to reach out to people is finding those with similar passions to you. Meetup allows like minded people to host gatherings of individuals with common interests (ie Healthtech). It’s like an “all you can network” buffet of new contacts and leads, so check it out. More info

www picture Company Websites

It’s always a good idea to dive into a company’s website or blog to see if you can find some people to talk to. These individuals are close to the source, and are the most able to connect you with the right recruiter, if they so choose. Make sure to look at the “Our Team” section on each website to find out who’s who!

It is important to remember that cold leads don’t have any kind of relationship with you. For this reason, it is expected that the response rate will be much lower than with your warm leads. Don’t let this discourage you. While the response rate is lower, there are many more cold leads out there than warm leads, so don’t let up!

Other interesting tools to check out:

4: Reaching Out

While it can seem intimidating at first, emails are some of the easiest things to write if you understand what you’re trying to accomplish as you’re writing it. An email is not going to get you a job offer. It is designed to get you to the first step in an application process, or even just some 1 on 1 time with a person of interest to you.

The Formula

The Subject Line

  • Don’t over think it! Communicate the purpose of your email, or the action item (i.e.: “Coffee chat about working at TopHat” or “Full-time Robotics Opportunities at Clearpath”)
  • Keep it concise and put the most important parts first so they don’t get cut off in a notification
  • Don’t put your name (your email does that for you). But if you were referred by someone the person recognizes as important, use that network leverage point! (i.e.: “Summer Research Opportunities - Mario Baker’s student”)

Your Message


  • Who are you?
  • Warm: Remind your reader of where you last met
  • Cold: Bring up facts/news about the company you find cool


  • Why are you messaging them?
  • ie.: “I’d like to discuss opportunities at… with you” “I’d like to hear more about your work in … and see if there is any value I could bring to your team”

Action Items

  • Your next steps: Schedule coffee, or a phone call, or a Skype meeting


  • You want to make sure your email is sent at an appropriate time of day
  • Sending right before people will open their emails in the morning (ie 8-9am) will often result in the best response rate
  • Don’t send emails to leads in the middle of the night. No one is in the mood to meet then!

A warm lead email

Here’s an example of a warm email that resulted in an interview:

sample warm email

It is worth noting that is this as long as you would want one of these to be, and aiming for even shorter is better. A more concise message always results in a higher response rate. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that the whole message fits onto the screen of a phone.

A cold lead email

Here is an example of a cold email that resulted in a summer research position:

sample cold email

Again, similar the earlier example, the message is concise and to the point. You want to make the email personal so have some link as to how you find or know them. Similar to that, it is important to state your intention. Your goal shouldn’t be to get a job from the email, the purpose of the email is to get your foot in the door and arrange a conversation.

Attaching your email and signing off

It’s worth noting that attaching your resume isn’t something you always need to do. You’ll have to think back and consider the goal of the message to determine if that’s a required step for you or not. If you are attaching your resume to an email, make you’ve done the following things:

  • Have the file saved as a pdf
  • Don’t name the file “resume” have an appropriate title with your name in it
  • Actually remember to attached it

A professional email signature can add a lot of legitimacy to your message, and ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use your university email! It tells people that you are a student (people are generally more willing to help students), and that you’re affiliated with a great school. Not sure what to include? Having your linkedin at the bottom is always a good idea. Remember at the same time not to over do - there is a fine balance.

5: Keeping Track

It always important to keep track of who you’re getting in touch with so you can things like how effectively your emails are or when to follow up. Often when you’re reaching out to a large number of people, it's also good to have small notes jotted down about the person/what to do for when they reply. A great way to do this is to use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools. A CRM can be something as simple as an excel file where you actively log all of this information.

Here is an example of excel sheet where someone tracked their progress. It should be noted that this is one of five pages they had, which speaks to the amount of cold emailing you will typically need to do.

excel tracking screenshot

If you would like to try out dedicated CRMs, a great option to check it is streak. This software is free and it is integrated with google apps so have it connected with your gmail and other aspects of your google account.

Here you can see an example of a what the software looks like:

Streak tracking screenshot

If you’re interested, you can find more information and download the software here:

Final Ingredient

Now you know you have the tools achieve your goals. These are the same tips and tricks used by many of your peers, and they have resulted in a lot of summer internships, research positions, and even full time jobs. At the end of the day, though, it all comes down to how hard you hustle. It’s important to remember that this is a very challenging process when you start with it, and that it will not be something you master overnight. You will be rejected from jobs, warm and cold leads alike will be unresponsive sometimes. That’s okay. Every connection that you do manage to make, whether or not it results in the goal you were trying to achieve, is a valuable resource that could come in handy the next time you’re trying to do something amazing. Remember that this is a process in which you will constantly be learning and improving; we are by no means pros! No matter how daunting a task this may all seem, remember that you are capable, so keep on hustling!

If you are ever looking for more advice, reach out to us! We’re here to help. Feel free to contact us our emails or at or come out to the Student Development office hours for resume, email or professional development help!

Mohit and Kyle's contact information