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26-year-old CEO shares his No. 1 trick for getting noticed by the world's top companies

CNBC logo CNBC 19/6/2017 Benjamin Snyder

Brian Wong, the 26-year-old founder and CEO of mobile advertising company Kiip, knows the "answer to all of life's problems": Cold emails.

Wong is the author of "The Cheat Code," a book aimed at helping young people just starting their careers. His company is on track to rake in an estimated $20 million in revenue this year, and he's been featured on Forbes' 30 under 30 list.

He recently spoke with CNBC's Marguerite Ward, recalling how cold emailing helped his career. When hunting for a job several years ago, Wong targeted a number of companies he wanted to work for, saved up enough money to fly to California, and reached out asking if he could come in for an interview.

"I actually pinged a whole bunch of companies," he says. "I cold emailed a lot of entrepreneurs and VCs." His strategy worked. One of his messages led to an interview with news aggregator Digg, where he was eventually hired.

Here are two tips for making sure your cold emails have the desired impact:

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Use the BCC field when figuring out the proper email address

Sometimes, the first step is simply figuring out how to get in touch with someone at your dream company. Wong has a solution.

"You can cold email pretty much anyone in the business world by guessing their email," he says.

In the BCC field, he says to try "every combination you can think of." Why? "That way when you send it, they don't know how desperate you were to reach them," he says.

By doing that, you'll get bounce back errors from the emails that didn't properly send, and you'll find out which address worked by process of elimination. Then, he says, you'll be able to infer everyone's email in the company using the same protocol.

Wong also recommends trying a simple Google search in case the person's email address was publicly posted somewhere online.

Offer something and pick on something in the message

Once you have the person's email address figured out, the next step is crafting a message that will get the executive's attention.

Wong says his trick is to "offer something and then pick on something." That way, the person will quickly see how you can bring value to his or her company by skimming the email.

For example, Wong talks about how he once emailed the CEO of American Express, Kenneth Chenault. He sent him a message with a compelling subject line and wrote about what he could personally do to help American Express thrive, including areas for improvement.

Now, the company is an investor in Kiip — all thanks to that initial cold email.

And never be intimidated to send that message, Wong says. It'll only make you stand out. In fact, most CEOs appear intimidating and don't regularly receive cold emails, he says. When they do get one, they're likely to respond if the message is compelling.

But you'll never know if you don't try. "Take initiative," says Wong. "Get on top of things."

See also:

25-year-old CEO shares the career-killing mistake many young professionals make

How to find your superpower, according to a 26-year-old CEO and self-made millionaire

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