Writing an unsolicited cover letter can lead to networking and, eventually, a job offer. Not all companies advertise their openings. If you are interested in a particular organisation, you do not need to wait for a position to become available. An unsolicited cover letter must not only market your unique strengths, but reach the right person in the organisation. It should intrigue the reader enough that your application is considered for a current or future position.
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Begin your unsolicited letter as you would a normal cover letter. List your contact information (full name, phone number, location and e-mail address). The salutation should be addressed to the person most likely to be interested in arranging your hire. This might be a recruiter in human resources, the direct supervisor for the position or someone within the organisation who is already familiar with your work. Researching who might be interested in your abilities reduces the likelihood of your letter going unread.
Use your first paragraph to explain why you have chosen to contact the organisation. This paragraph is the only one significantly different from a normal cover letter. Make clear who you are, why you are interested in the organisation and what you feel you could do for them in a few concise sentences. Research the company so that you may tailor your statements to the organisation goals, company culture and work ethic.
Describe your skills in one or two paragraphs and how they may fit into the company's needs. Your letter may receive less attention than a normal cover letter, so give specific, but short, examples of your abilities that will entice the reader to hear more. Your cover letter tells how the experiences listed on your resume shaped you into someone the company must hire.
Close the letter by reaffirming your usefulness to the organisation, thank your reader and request that your information be shared with others in the organisation who might be interested in your skills. You should neither expect nor demand a response. Including a time line to follow up your letter is appropriate, if you then carry out your stated intent. Sign off with your full name and attach your resume.
Tips and warnings
- Research the company before sending an unsolicited application. Some companies list openings on their websites but not in classified advertisements. Other companies do not accept unsolicited applications.
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