How to Write a Cover Letter for an Unadvertised Job
Cover Letter Sample and Writing Tips for a Job That's Not Advertised
Not all companies advertise job openings. Some companies get plenty of applicants without advertising. Other companies may not be in hiring mode but will consider applications from qualified candidates if they anticipate an opening in the near future.
Sending a resume and cover letter to an employer even though you aren't sure if there are available jobs, is a way to get your candidacy noticed. It may also get you advance considered for positions that have just opened up.
If you have skills the company is in need of, it may even get you considered for a brand new position.
When you know an employer has an opening, don't hesitate to apply. If you have a company you'd love to work for, consider taking the time to reach out and connect regardless of whether the organization is currently hiring.
Tips for Writing a Cover Letter for an Unadvertised Job
What's the best way to apply for unadvertised job openings? It depends on whether you know there is a position available, but the company hasn't listed it, or if there's a company you want to work for and you don't know if there are open jobs.
When You Know There is a Job Opening
If you know the company is hiring but hasn't advertised the position, write a traditional cover letter expressing your interest in the open position at the company. Be sure to specifically relate your qualifications to the job.
When You Don't Know if the Company is Hiring
Writing a cover letter for an unadvertised opening (also known as a cold contact cover letter or letter of interest) is a little different than writing a cover letter for a job that you know is available.
With this type of letter, you will need to make a strong pitch for yourself and how you can help the company.
Below are some tips for how to write a cover letter for an unadvertised opening.
- Mention your contacts. If you know someone at the organization, mention this at the beginning of the cover letter. Having a contact at the company is a great way to get your foot in the door, even if the company isn’t actively hiring.
- Use paper or email. You can send you letter via paper or email. Sending an old-fashioned paper letter works well for this type of letter, because it may have a better chance of being read than an email, which could be deleted without even being opened.
- Include a resume. Whether you send your cover letter via paper or email, be sure to include a copy of your resume. Make sure you tailor your resume to the company and the type of job you are looking for.
What to Include in Your Cover Letter
Below is detailed information on what to include in your cover letter, along with links to example cover letters.
Your Contact Information
City, State, Zip Code
If you can find a contact person at the company, direct your letter or email message to them. Here's how to find contacts at companies.
If you can't locate a contact person, address your letter to "Dear Hiring Manager" or leave out this section and start with the first paragraph of your letter.
Body of Cover Letter
The goal of your letter is to get noticed as a prospective employee even if the company isn't hiring immediately. Your letter should explain the reason for your interest in the organization, and identify your most relevant skills or experiences and explain why you would be an asset to the organization.
The first paragraph of your letter should include information on why you are writing. If you know someone at the company mention it now. Be specific as to why you are interested in this particular company.
The next section of your cover letter should describe what you have to offer the employer. Again, be specific as to how you can help the organization.
Conclude your cover letter by thanking the employer for considering you for employment.
Best Regards, (or choose another closing from the examples below)
Handwritten Signature (for a mailed letter)
When you are sending an email letter, be sure to include all your contact information in your signature.
Cover Letter Example for a Job That's Not Advertised
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. Contact,
As an Information Technology professional with high-level management experience in the IT industry, I learned that the best way to achieve success was to motivate the resources I had with well-defined objectives and empowerment.
A management belief based on integrity, quality, and service, along with a positive attitude, an aptitude for strategic thought and planning, and the ability to adapt quickly to new ideas and situations allows me to achieve consistent and significant successes in multiple industries.
My personality profile says:
- A confident, driven individual who reacts quickly to change.
- A self-starter with a strong sense of urgency who responds positively to challenge and pressure.
- A fast learner who is a practical and ingenuous problem solver.
- A fluent and articulate communicator, flexible and responsive. A self-directed, goal-oriented doer.
My former managers' say:
"…The Information Technology Analysis will serve as a guideline for making positive contributions …your management style provided a footprint for younger members of our organization… a very positive impression of the contributions you made to our business and its growth." Gregory Hines, President and CEO, Information Data Technology.
"…the most important source of growth in our data technology business …able to focus the team and manage the product to a successful introduction …due in large part to his own personal commitment ...excellent IT project management and operational management skills." Pauline Hallenback, CTO at Information Systems.
"…your strengths as a manager are many and varied …all issues are confronted in a timely manner …management by objectives comes as a second nature to you…" Jackson Brownell, Director of Operations, Denver Technologies.
ABC Company is a company that would provide me with the opportunity to put my personality, skills, and successes to work. At a personal meeting, I would like to discuss with you how I will contribute to the continued growth of your company.
Proofread Your Documents
Carefully proofread both your resume and cover letter before you send them. Here are proofreading tips for job seekers.
How to Send Your Letter
When sending your letter via email, write your letter in the email message and attach your resume to the message. In the subject line, put your name and the reason for writing (Your Name - Introduction).
How to Send Your Resume With Your Cover Letter
Here's how to send your resume with your cover letter:
Letter of Interest Samples
How to Write a Letter of Interest
Writing a cover letter to a hiring manager even though the company doesn't have any job openings could be a smart move. Such letters, called blind cover letters, often help candidates get a foot in the door because such a small percentage of job openings are actually advertised. As many as 80 percent of job openings are not made public, according to Matt Youngquist, president of Career Horizons. A well-written letter sent to the right person may just get you an interview for one of these desirable yet unadvertised jobs.
1. Call the company's human resources department for the name of the HR manager, director or a senior recruiter. If you know the name of the department you're interested in, ask for the name of that department's leader. Cover all your bases by addressing the letter to HR and to the department where you believe your skills and qualifications are best suited. Use the proper business letter format, whether you're emailing the letter or sending it by mail. That is, type your return address and contact information, followed by the date and the addressee's name, company and mailing address. In the subject line, type "Re: Career Opportunity" or put the specific type of career opportunity you're seeking, as in "Sales Career Opportunity."
2. Write a short introduction in your first paragraph. Explain your reason for writing and what you'd like to accomplish through your contact with the reader. Include a brief statement about your credentials, professional background and interest in the company. For example, you could write, "I read with interest your company's profile in the "Fortune" magazine 2012 list of best companies to work for. Your organization's strength appears to lie in the qualifications of its sales executives and it's for that reason I'm sending you resume for consideration as a sales executive with ABC Corporation. My professional background in sales spans more than 10 years leading territory growth and tapping new markets for pharmaceutical drugs. My undergraduate degree is in communication; I have an MBA as well. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss becoming a part of ABC Corporation's sales team."
3. In your second paragraph, write two to three bullet points that talk about your career and the results you achieved. Use numbers and ratings whenever possible. For example, instead of saying that you were recognized as a top salesperson with your company, write, "During three consecutive quarters, I generated revenue in excess of $1 million each quarter and landed a spot in the top 5 percent of sales reps nationwide."
4. Finalize your cover letter by telling the reader you're interested in a brief meeting. Ask for an informational interview, which is an effective way to get in front of the hiring manager. You're not asking for a job interview, because there may not be current openings. You are simply requesting an opportunity to learn more about the company. Meanwhile, meeting for an informational meeting gives the hiring manager a chance to learn about you and the kind of employee you would be.
- Express your interest in the company based on a recent news article, industry report or company profile. Customize the letter as much as possible so it won't be tossed aside as just another form letter.
About the Author
Ruth Mayhew began writing in 1985. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry" and "Human Resources Managers Appraisal Schemes." Mayhew earned senior professional human resources certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute and holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
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