Letters of Inquiry
A letter of inquiry describes your strengths and explains your job goal. Sending these letters (sometimes called "broadcast" or "marketing" letters) to the companies or employers you have targeted can help uncover unlisted employment opportunities.
A good inquiry letter can add to your list of job leads. Written communication is an essential tool in uncovering "hidden jobs" - jobs that aren't advertised. By writing letters you'll build a relationship with the hiring officers, increasing your chance of getting a foot in the door. All letters should be followed up with a phone call which hopefully will result in face-to-face meetings with potential employers.
Elements of a successful letter of inquiry should comprise:
- A first sentence telling the reader why you are writing.
- In the body of the letter, market your accomplishments. You might describe a problem relevant to the industry. State how you handled it and what results you achieved. Use some of the statements from Part One to describe your skills.
- Close the letter with a positive statement and request a face-to-face meeting.
You can view samples of inquiry letters by clicking on the below links, or visiting our Sample Resumes.
Letter of Inquiry Final Checklist
Use the following checklists before mailing your letters to a potential employer.
- Ask for consideration in a strong opening sentence that identifies your interest
Mention source of referral or posting
- Demonstrate enthusiasm and energy through use of language and style appropriate to your field
- Use words that are simple and direct
- Do not simply reiterate information on your resume, but quantify experiences and expand on accomplishments
- Appeal to the employer's self-interest by demonstrating that you researched the organization
- State how you can fulfill their needs
- Bring up challenging ideas to spark employer's interest in talking with you
- Give positive, truthful accounts of accomplishments and skills that relate directly to the position
- Request to have a talk, discussion, or meeting, rather than an interview
- Individualize and personalize letter
- Send original copy of letter without errors or corrections
- Address letter directly to the interviewer
- Double-check all spelling, grammar, and punctuation
- Write only one page (or two pages maximum, if absolutely necessary)
- Use a high-quality (24-lb./watermarked) paper that matches resume and envelope
- Write in traditional business letter format
- Write date in planner to make a follow-up call
- Retain a copy for your records
- Sign your name (a lot of people forget to do this)