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An inquiry letter is similar to a cover letter. The big difference is you send it uninvited (or as a cold contact) to an employer.

Use an inquiry letter to ask about working for an employer who has not advertised a job opening. In the letter, match your qualifications to their needs and show your interest in, and knowledge of the employer.

To find out the needs of an employer, use employment advertisements, position descriptions, phone conversations, and informational interviews. This format can be effective to show how well you fit:

Your Needs My Qualifications
Detail-oriented, experienced Administrative Assistant Four years Administrative Assistant experience with responsibility for numerous detailed reports
Assist Customer Relations Manager Assisted Customer Relations Manager for two years
Corporate experience with major clients a must Regularly served purchasing agents at Fortune 500 companies
PC knowledge a plus Hands-on experience with Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect on IBM-PC

In addition, an inquiry letter should include:

  • A specific contact name and title at the company
  • An introduction with why you are writing
  • A polite request for a follow-up meeting or phone call
  • A thank you to the reader for his or her time
  • Your signature — blue ink is best to show the letter is an original
  • Your resume as an attachment

View a sample inquiry letter for layout and format suggestions.

Source: Creative Job Search, a publication of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

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