Catie Duyn worked on Twitter’s consumer marketing team, managing Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
But she felt passionate about the company’s unique workplace culture — and she had a feeling she’d be better suited to human resources.
Duyn kept these thoughts mostly to herself. But while making a cup of tea one day in the London office where she worked, Duyn confided in an HR business partner. The HR rep let Duyn know that Jennifer Christie, Twitter’s vice president of people, would be visiting London later that month. She urged Duyn to send Christie an email.
Duyn took her chances and dashed off a few sentences to Christie.
Fast-forward to today: Duyn is the chief of staff for the global head of talent acquisition at the roughly 4,000-person company.
Here’s the email she sent:
Hi Jennifer –
I hope your week is going well. I’ve heard you are making your way to London soon – that’s wonderful!
I’d love to treat you to a coffee and introduce myself. If you are a pastry lover, there is a Nordic Bakery behind the office that I must show you.
I’m on the consumer marketing team, but very interested in training to be in HR. I’d love to hear your perspective and any advice you may have on hand? I know you are very busy so if timing doesn’t work out for this trip, I understand. I really appreciate your time.
Thank you, Jennifer – Take care
Duyn figured the worst case would be that Christie didn’t reply
“I was nervous writing,” Duyn wrote in an email to Business Insider, “but I knew the worst case would be that she [Christie] didn’t reply and I would introduce myself when she was in the office. I was confident in my ‘why’ and just needed a chance.”
As for Christie, she wrote in an email to Business Insider that this particular message stood out among a sea of cold emails and LinkedIn requests she regularly received. “Not only was it thoughtful and direct,” Christie said, “but she had done some homework about when I was going to be traveling to London.”
What’s more, Christie added, “I liked the proactivity and warmth of her message.”
Typically, Christie said, when candidates reach out to her on LinkedIn, they send a request that mentions a shared connection or interest.
Then they follow up and “share the actual reason for them reaching out — looking for an opportunity, insight on a particular role that is posted, etc.”
Christie said, “I would prefer them leading with the pitch in the first place.” Duyn was “direct about what she wanted and I found that compelling and refreshing.”
Indeed, WayUp cofounder and CEO Liz Wessel advises keeping your cold emails as brief as possible, and telling the recipient exactly what you want.”
Wessel also tells professionals not to second-guess themselves. “Don’t question yourself,” she previously told Business Insider. “Worst case, they don’t respond, and then who cares?”
In London, Duyn and Christie wound up taking a long walk, sipping coffee and chatting about their careers. Duyn “was willing to take a risk in order to develop herself and grow, and I loved her energy and passion for the people at Twitter,” Christie said.
Duyn’s best advice for cold-emailing someone influential? “Treat each email recipient like they are human, and write to be read and understood in 20 seconds.” She added, “Be genuine, straightforward with your ask, and respectful of the person’s time.”