Most positions are never advertised. A cold cover letter is an uninvited inquiry to an employer, recruiter or other hiring manager regarding possible job opportunities.
Cold cover letters' potential advantages include creating a job that didn't previously exist, gaining early consideration for a position that hasn't yet been advertised and expanding your network of contacts. By sending a letter to an employer who's not soliciting candidates, your resume will not be buried in a pile of hundreds of others.
- Heather secured a marketing director position after sending a cold cover letter. She read about the company's expansion goals in a trade magazine and sent a letter that outlined how she would help the company achieve its objectives. The company was impressed by Heather's enthusiasm, knowledge of the company's mission and ideas for successful expansion.
- Stuart compiled a list of his dream companies and contacted them directly. His letter arrived at the right time at one of the companies -- a network engineer had just given her notice and a position became available. The company benefited from hiring Stuart and saving on recruitment costs.
- Mark is a salesperson with a passion for sporting goods. His favorite retailer did not have a presence in his local market, so Mark sent a cover letter outlining how he would establish a local presence. After reading the letter, the company flew Mark in for an interview and hired him on the spot.
- Know Yourself: You are contacting a company that hasn't asked to be contacted. So what do you offer? Why should the company take an interest in you? What skills, abilities and credentials would be desirable to the organization?
- Research the Employer: Find out as much as you can about your target company, including past performance, goals and competitors so you can knowledgeably write about how you would help the operation.
- The Salutation: Since you are writing an unsolicited letter, it's crucial that you address a particular person. Do some research so you can get your resume in the hands of the manager most likely to be interested in hiring you.
- The Opener: You can use a number of different techniques to open your letter. Here are two examples:
The Value Proposition:If you have identified goal-surpassing revenue and market-share growth among your goals for this year, my credentials will be of interest. Allow me to introduce myself: A marketing executive with 15 years of experience within Fortune 500 environments...
The News Angle:After reading of your consulting-services expansion in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, I am eager to join your team as an accounting manager. You will benefit from my top credentials, including CPA with Big Four experience and multilingual fluency (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian)...
- The Body: Summarize the key strengths you bring to the table. A great strategy is to include a bulleted list of achievements and qualifications that would benefit the company. Provide an overview of your main selling points and examples of how you have contributed to your current or former employers.
- The Close: End your letter with an action statement, promising to follow up to explore the possibility of an interview. This is a much stronger closing than, "I hope to hear from you soon."
Searching for a job takes time and planning. When looking for a new job, you may find that some companies you are interested in working for do not have openings. Instead of avoiding those companies, introduce yourself by writing and sending a cover letter of inquiry along with your resume. Before you write your letter, take time to learn about the company. Write your letter carefully to present your skills and experience in the best light.
Set up your letter using the proper business format. If you are sending a hard copy of the cover letter, put your name and contact information on the top of the stationary. Include your e-mail address and a phone number where the employer can reach you.
If emailing a letter, begin the letter by greeting the person using a formal greeting. For example, do not begin the letter with “Dear John,” but instead use “Dear Mr. Smith.” Close your letter using “Sincerely.” Remember to physically sign your letter if sending a hard copy.
Send your letter to a specific person within the organization. Check online or call the company and ask who manages the department you would like to work in. Ask for the proper spelling.
If you cannot find the information, address your cover letter to the Human Resources Director of the company. Avoid sending a generic cover letter addressed to “Dear Sir or Madam” when writing a letter of interest. Taking the time to find out whom to send the letter to shows the employer you are serious about your job search.
State the reason for your letter in the first paragraph. Begin your letter with a phrase similar to, “The purpose of this letter is to express my interest in working for your organization.” Change the wording to be specific to the organization or company you are writing.
Continue the first paragraph by communicating why you are interested in the company. Mention something that you admire about the organization. For example, mention its level of commitment to the environment, its innovative products or its reputation for excellent customer service.
Summarize your skills and experience in the middle paragraph. Keep your sentences short and focused. Let the reader know why you would be a good fit for the company by focusing on your strengths. Include any supervisory experience you have.
If you are willing to relocate, let the potential employer know. Do not be shy about highlighting your accomplishments, as this may be your only communication with the employer.
Close your cover letter by thanking the person for taking the time to read your letter. Continue the last paragraph by telling the person to whom you addressed the letter that you will be calling in the next week to follow-up. If you are going to be in the area, tell the employer you are planning on visiting the office and would like to meet. Indicate that you are looking forward to hearing back from the company.