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Resume Cover Letter For General Employment Opportunities

Most positions are never advertised. A cold cover letter is an uninvited inquiry to an employer, recruiter or other hiring manager regarding possible job opportunities.   

Cold cover letters' potential advantages include creating a job that didn't previously exist, gaining early consideration for a position that hasn't yet been advertised and expanding your network of contacts. By sending a letter to an employer who's not soliciting candidates, your resume will not be buried in a pile of hundreds of others.

Success Stories  

  • Heather secured a marketing director position after sending a cold cover letter. She read about the company's expansion goals in a trade magazine and sent a letter that outlined how she would help the company achieve its objectives. The company was impressed by Heather's enthusiasm, knowledge of the company's mission and ideas for successful expansion.
     
  • Stuart compiled a list of his dream companies and contacted them directly. His letter arrived at the right time at one of the companies -- a network engineer had just given her notice and a position became available. The company benefited from hiring Stuart and saving on recruitment costs.
     
  • Mark is a salesperson with a passion for sporting goods. His favorite retailer did not have a presence in his local market, so Mark sent a cover letter outlining how he would establish a local presence. After reading the letter, the company flew Mark in for an interview and hired him on the spot.
Before You Write

  • Know Yourself: You are contacting a company that hasn't asked to be contacted. So what do you offer? Why should the company take an interest in you? What skills, abilities and credentials would be desirable to the organization? 
     
  • Research the Employer: Find out as much as you can about your target company, including past performance, goals and competitors so you can knowledgeably write about how you would help the operation.
Components of Your Letter 

  • The Salutation: Since you are writing an unsolicited letter, it's crucial that you address a particular person. Do some research so you can get your resume in the hands of the manager most likely to be interested in hiring you. 
     
  • The Opener: You can use a number of different techniques to open your letter. Here are two examples:

    The Value Proposition:If you have identified goal-surpassing revenue and market-share growth among your goals for this year, my credentials will be of interest. Allow me to introduce myself: A marketing executive with 15 years of experience within Fortune 500 environments...

    The News Angle:After reading of your consulting-services expansion in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, I am eager to join your team as an accounting manager. You will benefit from my top credentials, including CPA with Big Four experience and multilingual fluency (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian)... 
     
  • The Body: Summarize the key strengths you bring to the table. A great strategy is to include a bulleted list of achievements and qualifications that would benefit the company. Provide an overview of your main selling points and examples of how you have contributed to your current or former employers. 
     
  • The Close: End your letter with an action statement, promising to follow up to explore the possibility of an interview. This is a much stronger closing than, "I hope to hear from you soon."

General / All-Purpose Cover Letter Sample

When you apply for a job, many times you will be required to submit a cover letter with your resume. Your cover letter should highlight points on your resume that make you a superior candidate for the position you are seeking. It should not simply review your resume, but rather point out details and expand on specific key assets which are essential for success in the job.

Information to Include in the Letter

Think of your cover letter not just as an introduction or a statement of intent to apply for a job, but as a golden opportunity to market yourself, your skills, your qualifications, and your training to an employer.

As a powerful marketing document, its primary purpose is to persuade a hiring manager to give a closer review to your resume than the typical six-second scan.

Sometimes a job posting lists the name of the hiring manager, and in that case, you should address your letter to him or her.

In cases where a name isn’t listed, you should make an effort to find out the right person to whom to address your letter. It’s always better to address your application materials to the appropriate hiring manager. If you can’t find their name by reviewing their corporate website or calling their front office, you may use the address of the company and an alternative salutation, such as “Dear Hiring Manager." Here are tips for how to address a cover letter.

The body of your letter should contain pertinent information about how you were referred to the opportunity, your interest in the position, your qualifications for the job, relevant training, and why you would make an excellent candidate.

In closing, you can include your plans for following up with the hiring manager: “I will call next week to follow up on the status of my application.” You should also thank them politely for their time. Use a business-like closing, such as “Sincerely,” “Best Regards,” or “Yours Truly,” followed by your name and signature (on a hard copy).

General / All-Purpose Cover Letter Sample

Your Name
Your Address (Optional)
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email

Date

Name
Title
Organization
Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:

I am writing in reply to the classified ad you posted seeking to fill the position of Graduate Student Advisor for the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree program at ABC College.

Having earned my Master of Arts degree in Academic Advising from XYZ University, I understand the importance for informed academic counseling and program planning in a higher education environment.

I have also experienced, first-hand, the comforting effect of being able to contact an adviser who genuinely cares for the professional growth and success of students.

Prior to my graduate studies, during my career as an electrician, I was elected Chairman of the Executive Board which sat as the union’s representatives to the apprenticeship advisory board. In this capacity, I was able to be an effective advisor to apprentices who were experiencing scholastic problems which threatened their future in the industry. I particularly enjoyed working with older apprentices who were seeking a career change and had problems adjusting to the obligations of work, school, and family life.

I believe that both my educational background in Academic Advising and my work-related duties of counseling and advising students enrolled in learning programs qualifies me for consideration for the position of Graduate Student Advisor. I look forward to discussing how my skills can be of value to ABC College as it prepares to move into the new millennium. Thank you for your time, consideration, and forthcoming response.

Sincerely,

Your Signature (hard copy letter)

Your Typed Name

More Sample Cover Letters
Follow this link to review cover letter samples for a variety of career fields and employment levels, including an internship cover letter sample, as well as entry-level, targeted. and email cover letters.

Cover Letter Articles and Advice: Top 10 Cover Letter Writing Tips | What to Include in a Cover Letter | Email Cover Letters | Targeted Cover Letters

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