How to Write an Unsolicited Cover Letter
by Kevin Donlin
Here's a question I hear frequently. "I want to work for a company that is not advertising any openings on the Internet or in the newspapers, but I can't figure out how to write my cover letter. Any suggestions?"
The good news is, you don't have to wait for a job opening to apply to a company that interests you. In fact, simply identifying a target company puts you ahead of most job seekers, who know only that they want a job ... and not much else.
Use this to your advantage.
Start by defining what you want to do for your desired company. What department do you want to work in? Sales? Information Systems? Customer Service?
Next, find out the name of the person you'd be working for. You can look through the company's Web site for organizational charts, often found under "About Us" or a similar link. Or, just pick up the phone and call to get that manager's name.
Once you have the name of your potential boss, it's time to write your cover letter.
The more customized and specific your cover letter is, the better. So, try to research this firm to ferret out as much as possible about their problems and opportunities.
When writing, be sure to include the contact person's name and mailing address at the top. If you have a potential answer to a problem the company faces, try to start your letter with that information.
To get you started, here's an example cover letter for the position of Customer Service Manager, sent unsolicited to a targeted employer. It's from my e-book, Guaranteed Cover Letters:
Dear Mr. Jenkins,
How often have breakdowns in your customer service resulted in lost business and costly headaches?
I can help you.
I've been following your firm, ACE Electronics, for some time. As you will see from my enclosed resume, I know how to manage teams of customer service reps for maximum productivity.
My experience has shown me how to train and motivate staff to identify and meet the needs of even the most demanding customers. This will greatly increase loyalty among your XE-400 customers in particular, given the fact that your competitor, Dynamic Systems, has recently introduced a lower-priced, similar product.
Because you will undoubtedly need expertise of this kind, I hope you will be able to take my call next Tuesday at 10:00 to discuss your needs and how I might benefit ACE Electronics.
John Q. Public
Print your cover letters on plain white typing paper. Sign at the bottom, neatly. That's it.
Best of luck to you!
Kevin Donlin owns and operates Guaranteed Resumes. Since 1995, he has provided resumes, cover letters and online job-search assistance to clients. This article and hundreds like it on topics ranging from networking to resume writing to finding internships also appear in The Last Job Search Guide You'll Ever Need, a self-help job guide.