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How to Track Down Anyone’s Email Address Using Your Gmail

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Most of us associate networking with industry events, shaking hands with a friend of a friend of a former co-worker, and grabbing coffee with someone you’d like to get to know better. But it’s 2015, and building a relationship can happen just as easily through email. And, yes, I’m talking about the slightly nerve-racking, but potentially very rewarding, act of sending cold emails to professionals you don’t personally know.

Taking the initiative to message influential people in your industry can reap huge benefits. You can ask for advice based on their career path, secure partnerships for your company or side project, or eventually even get a foot in the door with someone who works at your dream company.

No matter what your request is, however, there’s no way to make it unless you have this person’s email. That’s why I’ve used—and will share with you—the guess-and-verify strategy that has helped me find and connect with successful entrepreneurs like Mashable’s CEO, Spoon University’s founders, and Arianna Huffington.

I will say upfront, though, that this strategy usually doesn’t work if you’re trying to contact someone who’s Beyoncé-level famous, or if his or her email is arranged in an uncommon format (more on this later). (Also, the app required for this technique is currently made only for Gmail.)

With that said, I’ve used this strategy for two years now, and it has worked more than 90% of the time. Follow these simple steps and you, too, can contact the inspiring professionals you’ve been dying to connect with.

Your first task is to download Rapportive, an extension that shows you everything you need to know about your contacts. Once it’s downloaded, you can start guessing possible formats for the contact’s email address.

To do this, you only have to know the contact’s full name and company domain. With this information, you can arrange (and re-arrange) these elements until you find a real email address.

Google's New Headquarters Looks Like a Giant Glass Forest

This rendering shows a restored natural habitat around Permanente Creek, near the proposed Landings project. You can’t tell, but a consolidated parking structure is hidden below this landscaped garden. By consolidating parking, traffic congestion is reduced in the area, making it safer and more attractive for people to walk and bike.
This rendering shows a restored natural habitat around Permanente Creek, near the proposed Landings project. You can’t tell, but a consolidated parking structure is hidden below this landscaped garden. By consolidating parking, traffic congestion is reduced in the area, making it safer and more attractive for people to walk and bike.dbox/Google
This rendering shows a restored natural habitat around Permanente Creek, near the proposed Landings project. You can’t tell, but a consolidated parking structure is hidden below this landscaped garden. By consolidating parking, traffic congestion is reduced in the area, making it safer and more attractive for people to walk and bike.
This rendering shows the entry lobby of the proposed Landings building. Consolidated parking sits below the building, helping us reach our goal of Net-Zero parking. Once at Landings, visitors can easily connect to the rest of campus through one of several walking and biking paths.
This rendering shows the west side of the proposed Shoreline building. The canopies along Shoreline Boulevard open onto a public plaza with retail spaces. Along the street, buildings are 2 or 3 stories, with taller areas toward the center of the structures.
This bird’s eye view shows Google’s proposed new campus and its surroundings.
The building’s translucent canopy lifts up to allow the public Green Loop to go through the center of the building, with cafes and local shops on the lower levels.
Mountain View’s Precise Plan encourages the creation of a diverse network of public and private open spaces such as plazas, parks and trails. This rendering shows the Green Loop, a circuit for bikes and pedestrians that weaves through urban and natural areas. A solar canopy produces energy and also protects bicyclists from the rain.
This rendering shows the inside of the proposed Charleston South building looking west. Within the canopy, building segments operate like furniture—light, tactile and reconfigurable. These segments form small villages where employees can work or relax. The Green Loop goes through the building. The rim of the canopy provides structure as well as biking and walking paths.
This rendering shows the west side of the proposed Huff project. At ground level, the environment is newly restored. Employees will be drawn from offices to the outdoors, to work alongside waterways and under trees. Mountain View residents can walk or ride along green corridors, eat at cafes, shop, play in parks, or work in the public community gardens.
Large, translucent enclosures blur the boundaries between inside and out. These canopies regulate climate, pollution, and sound, while freeing spaces from traditional architectural limitations like walls, windows and roofs.
This rendering shows the northern half of the proposed Landings project. In place of parking lots and other underutilized sites, we will establish revitalized native ecosystems, including re-oaking and wetlands.
This rendering shows a restored natural habitat around Permanente Creek, near the proposed Landings project. You can’t t
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Let’s say, for example, that you’re trying to connect with Kevin Systrom, CEO and co-founder of Instagram.

Here are some potential arrangements for his email. (Pro tip: The larger the company, the higher the chances that the email will use both the first and last name.)

  • kevin@instagram.com
  • kevins@instagram.com
  • ksystrom@instagram.com
  • kevinsystrom@instagram.com
  • kevin.systrom@instagram.com
  • k.systrom@instagram.com

With these guesses in mind, you can start the verification process. Open up a new message in Gmail, and insert a potential email address in the recipient slot. If your contact’s LinkedIn profile shows up to the right—congratulations! The email you guessed is active, and you can move on to messaging him or her.

kevin-systrom-email Kat Moon—The Muse 

And how can you tell if you’ve inserted an incorrect email? Let’s suppose that I guessed ksystrom@instagram.com and pasted that in. As you can see in the below image, nothing appeared in Rapportive—meaning I can eliminate that address from my list.

email-error Kat Moon—The Muse 

Now, not every company’s domain is as straightforward as @instagram.com. If you can’t verify a contact’s email after trying different first and last name arrangements, it’s possible that you don’t have the correct company domain.

When this happens, I go to CrunchBase—the world’s most comprehensive dataset of company activity, covering every organization from Microsoft and Amazon to the newest startups. CrunchBase gives you the most updated domain of whichever company your contact works at. For instance, I had to contact the founder of London-based startup Deliveroo. All of my email guesses ended with @deliveroo.com, but CrunchBase showed me the company domain is actually @deliveroo.co.uk. Sure enough, I verified the correct contact information moments later.

Guess and verify with Rapportive—it’s really as simple as that! Once you have an inspiring professional’s email, be bold and reach out. But before shooting off your message, check out my piece on effective elements that will increase the chances of your cold email getting a reply. No, you probably won’t receive a response for every single email you send. But you know what they say—you’ll never know until you try.

This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article above was originally published on The Muse.

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