Learn How to Write Cold Contact Cover Letters
Find out What to Include and See Examples
A cold contact cover letter is a document sent with your resume to companies that have not advertised job openings. Sending this letter provides you with an opportunity to be considered by the company for employment. Because writing this type of letter takes time, it's a good idea to only send cold contact cover letters to companies that you are very interested in working for.
What Information You Should Include in the Letter
As with an ordinary cover letter, your goal is to get the company's attention and show that you're a great candidate.
Writing a cold contact cover letter is much harder, however, since you cannot base your pitch off of the information provided in the job description.
In your letter, convey your interest in the organization, identify your most relevant skills and experience, and explain what you would offer the organization. Particularly since you're sending unsolicited correspondence, you should have a strong pitch or thesis statement for why you're worth considering.
For instance, you might say, "From the awards your company has received, it's clear that you make the very best of Widget X. However, the directions on how to assemble Widget X aren't as praised. That's where I can help: As an award-winning technical writer, I excel at explaining complex things in clear, simple language." Here are the basic elements you'll want to include in your cold contact cover letter:
A Good Hook
Start with a strong subject line — this will help ensure that the recipient will open the email, despite not recognizing the sender.
You can try aggressive subject lines like "Why you need a better event planner" or "Increase your sales 10%." Or, try more subtle approaches, such as "Quick request — marketing positions" or "Experienced marketer interested in company X." If you know someone in common, include the person's name in the subject line.
As well, you'll want to have an attention-getting first sentence that conveys both what you want (a job; an informational interview) and what you can offer.
What You Would Offer
Be clear about why you'd be an asset. This is where research comes in: You want to connect the company's needs and goals with your skills and abilities. Show how you're well-suited to help the company achieve its mission, whether that's selling more widgets or making on-time deliveries.
If You're Connected, Mention It
If you have a connection that you can mention, make sure to include that information in the first few sentences of the letter. (Always check beforehand to make sure the connection is comfortable with you including his or her name and prepared to recommend you.)
It's great to say you have a proven track record launching PR campaigns; even better to send a link to an article or press release about the campaign's success. Include link or attachments to your portfolio, writing clips, and any other relevant evidence of your work.
Include Next Steps
Conclude your email by offering next steps, such as a potential time for a follow-up call or a request for an interview or conversation. While your goal may ultimately be a job interview, smaller requests, such as an informational interview, tour of the company, or request for information on the next job fair, may more readily be granted.
Before You Send a Cold Contact Cover Letter
Is it worth it to send a cold contact letters? That's a tricky question to answer. As you can see, crafting a strong cold contact cover letter involves as much time — or even more! — than a cover letter written in response to a posted job description. And even with a strong, targeted letter, there's no guarantee that the company will be receptive to your overture.
However, that doesn't mean that cold contact emails never get results. If you email persuasively and convey clearly why the company needs someone like you, it can be far more attention-getting than one of many emails in a pile of cover letters responding to a posted offer.
Much of the success of a cold cover letter depends on timing, your understanding of the company, and the quality of your letter.
This technique is most likely to be successful when you're truly passionate about a company and believe you'd be an asset.
Before sending a cold contact cover letter, do your research. As well as knowing the company, you'll want to send your letter to the most appropriate person. Use LinkedIn to find out the names of managers or employees in the department where you'd like to work.
Cold Contact Cover Letter Example
The following is an example of a cold contact cover letter sent to an employer that hasn't advertised job openings.
Dear Mr. Paulin,
Independent schools such as Greenwood Elementary require a hardworking, organized administrative staff to ensure that the school runs successfully and efficiently. My administrative experience and organizational skills would help contribute to the long history of success at Greenwood School.
I have extensive administrative experience in an academic setting. For the past two years I have worked at the Early Childhood Center at XYZ College, where I alternated between running activities for the children and answering phones, scheduling parent-teacher meetings, and performing other organizational tasks.
I also served as an intern for the principal of 123 Elementary School, undertaking a variety of office assignments while also observing firsthand the day-to-day duties of an academic administrator.
I have attached my resume, and would love to speak with you regarding how I could make a significant contribution to Greenwood School's daily operations. I will call you within the next week to discuss arranging an interview. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Your signature (hard copy letter)
123 Main Street
XYZ Town, NY 11111
The first thing a potential employer sees in your job application is the cover letter. This doesn't just support your CV – it's an opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd and persuade the recruiter to put you through to the next round.
Be wary of spending hours on perfecting your CV at the expense of your cover letter. If you need some inspiration on what to include and what format to use, here are our helpful guides – just remember not to copy them as exact templates.
1. Standard, conservative style
This is ideal for sectors such as business, law, accountancy and retail. For more creative sectors, a letter like this might be less appealing, and could work against you.
Dear Mr Black,
Please find enclosed my CV in application for the post advertised in the Guardian on 30 November.
The nature of my degree course has prepared me for this position. It involved a great deal of independent research, requiring initiative, self-motivation and a wide range of skills. For one course, [insert course], an understanding of the [insert sector] industry was essential. I found this subject very stimulating.
I am a fast and accurate writer, with a keen eye for detail and I should be very grateful for the opportunity to progress to market reporting. I am able to take on the responsibility of this position immediately, and have the enthusiasm and determination to ensure that I make a success of it.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this application and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
2. Standard speculative letter
This may vary according to the nature of the organisation and the industry you're applying to.
Dear Mr Brown,
I am writing to enquire if you have any vacancies in your company. I enclose my CV for your information.
As you can see, I have had extensive vacation work experience in office environments, the retail sector and service industries, giving me varied skills and the ability to work with many different types of people. I believe I could fit easily into your team.
I am a conscientious person who works hard and pays attention to detail. I'm flexible, quick to pick up new skills and eager to learn from others. I also have lots of ideas and enthusiasm. I'm keen to work for a company with a great reputation and high profile like [insert company name].
I have excellent references and would be delighted to discuss any possible vacancy with you at your convenience. In case you do not have any suitable openings at the moment, I would be grateful if you would keep my CV on file for any future possibilities.
3. Letter for creative jobs
We've used the example of a copywriter but you can adapt it for your profession. The aim of a creative letter is to be original and show you have imagination, but understand what the job entails. Balance is essential: don't be too wacky, or it will turn off the reader.
Dear Ms Green,
· Confused by commas?
· Puzzled by parenthesis?
· Stumped by spelling?
· Perturbed by punctuation?
· Annoyed at the apostrophe? (And alliteration?)
Well, you're not alone. It seems that fewer and fewer people can write. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who can read. So they'll spot a gaffe from a mile off. And that means it's a false economy, unless you're 100% sure of yourself, to write your own materials. (Or to let clients do it for themselves.)
To have materials properly copywritten is, when one considers the whole process of publishing materials and the impact that the client wishes to make, a minor expense. Sloppiness loses clients, loses customers.
There is an answer. Me. Firm quotes are free. You can see some of what I do on my multilingual website at [insert web address]. If you'd like, I can get some samples out to you within 24 hours. And, if you use me, you'll have some sort of guarantee that you can sleep soundly as those tens of thousands of copies are rolling off the presses.
Luck shouldn't come into it!
With kindest regards
Other helpful resources
•How to write a perfect CV and cover letter
•Applying for jobs without experience? How to build and sell your skills
•Five steps to the perfect graduate CV
•School-leavers and graduates: how to write your first CV
•How to write a personal statement for your CV
•CV templates to fit every stage of your career
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