You’ve found your dream employer, but there’s just one problem: they don’t have any job openings (or at least, any job openings that fit your qualifications).
Before you resign yourself to waiting for a suitable opening to appear on their corporate jobs site, get proactive. By sending a letter of interest, you can make a good impression on the hiring manager, learn more about the organization and the candidates they seek, and maybe even find a job that never made it to the listings phase.
The Unadvertised Job Market
It’s not as crazy as it sounds: nearly 50% of jobs are learned about through word of mouth from friends, and 37% are discovered via professional networking. Many positions aren't advertised, and this hidden job market may yield a role that’s a better fit than anything you would have found through searching job boards.
What to Include in Your Letter
Simply put, this message expresses your desire to meet with a hiring manager in order to learn about opportunities that might be available to you. In your letter of interest, you should include the type of job you are seeking, and how your skills and experience make you an excellent candidate.
You should also include the reasons you feel you would be a great fit for the company, and any pertinent references or recommendations you may have.
It is helpful if you know, or can find, the name of a specific individual in the hiring department, or a manager in the department that interests you, to give your letter the best chance at being seen.
Sample Letter Asking About Job Openings
This is an example of a letter asking about job openings. Download the job opening letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or review the text version below.
Sample Letter Asking About Job Openings (Text Version)
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
August 26, 2020
Chief Technology Officer
The American Company
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321
Dear Ms. Lee,
The American Company has been recognized as one of the best places to work in the country for IT professionals. You have deliberately set out to create this culture, and it shows! It is my understanding that you have been deluged with resumes since Computerland released their list of the best companies at which to work.
Mine is one more, but I do have some experience that is hard to come by and sets me apart from my peers.
My IT experience gives me a unique ability to apply technology, in all its forms, to business processes. Some of my business process knowledge includes accounting, finance, facilities, inventory control, budgeting, vendor management, and various operational processes.
I have experience with merger/acquisition events, high growth challenges, technology replacement projects, and IT process improvement.
I have delivered large technology projects on schedule/on budget and in alignment with the business strategy. Companies I have worked for include ICM, HEP, IBX, and SED.
I would appreciate an opportunity to talk with you or someone in your organization to see where my skill set would be of the greatest benefit to your company.
Derrick Rodriguez (signature hard copy letter)
Sending an Email Job Inquiry
There are some clear advantages of sending your letter via email instead of through the regular mail. For one thing, it’s easier for your contact person to respond to you. For another, they may be more likely to do so: while a physical letter has undeniable charm, most business correspondence takes place electronically these days.
The substance of your letter will be the same, regardless of how you send it.
However, there are a few differences to keep in mind when you send your message via email:
- Skip address paragraphs and the date. Jump right to the salutation.
- Choose a subject line that will get the reader’s attention (and that stands a chance of getting through an email filter). Sample subject lines: “Referred by Peter Smith – Informational Interview Request” or “Interested in Opportunities at XYZ Corp – [Your Name].”
- Don’t be too casual – e.g., “What’s up?” or “Hi!” – and don’t leave the subject line blank.
- Keep your message brief and to the point. Attention spans are short where email is involved. A few paragraphs should suffice.
- Send your letter from a professional-sounding email address, ideally one containing your name. Skip the cutesy handles and steer clear of anything NSFW.
- Use your email signature to display links to your website, social media accounts, and/or online portfolio, so that the contact person can dig deeper into your qualifications more easily.