How to write a speculative cover letter

Updated April 12, 2017

Cover letters are a way job seekers can introduce themselves to potential employers. Cover letters usually include an expression of gratitude for having the opportunity to apply for a job, an overview of qualifications and a list of actions the applicant wishes to take, such as scheduling an interview. A speculative cover letter is sent to an employer that may not have posted any open positions. In this case, the applicants are asking about vacancies and submitting themselves to be considered for any upcoming openings.

Format your cover letter like a formal business letter. Type it and print it on your company or personal stationery. Place the recipient's address as well as the date above the salutation, with a full line of space in between each.

Use a formal greeting to open the body of the letter. Direct the letter to the human resources manager, contact at the company or anyone you may have spoken directly to on the phone about available positions. Personalised letters are often better received by managers.

Write your first paragraph as an introduction to the connection you have with this company. Either thank someone for taking the time to talk with you prior to sending the letter, state that you learnt about the company at a job fair or let the recipient know where you saw an advertisement for the company's products or services.

State your interest in working for the company and list a position you feel qualified to fill. Be as specific as possible, describing exactly the kind of work you want to do. These hiring managers do not know you, so they have no idea whether you are qualified to be a secretary or an engineer. Write several paragraphs explaining your relevant experience and qualifications for the position you want, including where you went to school or college.

Imply that you are aware that this letter is speculative without directly saying so. State that you are submitting your enclosed resume for consideration of positions that may become available. List what time frame of employment you are seeking: temporary, summer, full-time or part-time. Let the recipient know you are available to start immediately, if that is the case.

Close your letter on an upbeat note, stating that you hope there is a future for you at the company. Mention that you look forward to a reply soon. Use a formal closing, such as "Sincerely."


Keep your cover letter to one page. You will only have time to briefly explain your main qualifications in the letter, so include a copy of your resume, which the recipient can refer to for more detail.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Word processing software
  • Printer
  • Letterhead
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About the Author

Bailey Richert is a 2010 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a dual bachelor's degree in environmental engineering and hydrogeology, as well as a master's degree in systems engineering. After several years in the environmental consulting industry, she is now attending MIT for graduate school. An accomplished traveler, she has visited 23 countries and published her first book about international travel in 2014.