How to Write a Cover Letter for an Unadvertised Job
Cover Letter Sample and Writing Tips for a Job That's Not Advertised
Not all companies advertise job openings. Some companies get plenty of applicants without advertising. Other companies may not be in hiring mode but will consider applications from qualified candidates if they anticipate an opening in the near future.
Sending a resume and cover letter to an employer even though you aren't sure if there are available jobs, is a way to get your candidacy noticed. It may also get you advance considered for positions that have just opened up.
If you have skills the company is in need of, it may even get you considered for a brand new position.
When you know an employer has an opening, don't hesitate to apply. If you have a company you'd love to work for, consider taking the time to reach out and connect regardless of whether the organization is currently hiring.
Tips for Writing a Cover Letter for an Unadvertised Job
What's the best way to apply for unadvertised job openings? It depends on whether you know there is a position available, but the company hasn't listed it, or if there's a company you want to work for and you don't know if there are open jobs.
When You Know There is a Job Opening
If you know the company is hiring but hasn't advertised the position, write a traditional cover letter expressing your interest in the open position at the company. Be sure to specifically relate your qualifications to the job.
When You Don't Know if the Company is Hiring
Writing a cover letter for an unadvertised opening (also known as a cold contact cover letter or letter of interest) is a little different than writing a cover letter for a job that you know is available.
With this type of letter, you will need to make a strong pitch for yourself and how you can help the company.
Below are some tips for how to write a cover letter for an unadvertised opening.
- Mention your contacts. If you know someone at the organization, mention this at the beginning of the cover letter. Having a contact at the company is a great way to get your foot in the door, even if the company isn’t actively hiring.
- Use paper or email. You can send you letter via paper or email. Sending an old-fashioned paper letter works well for this type of letter, because it may have a better chance of being read than an email, which could be deleted without even being opened.
- Include a resume. Whether you send your cover letter via paper or email, be sure to include a copy of your resume. Make sure you tailor your resume to the company and the type of job you are looking for.
What to Include in Your Cover Letter
Below is detailed information on what to include in your cover letter, along with links to example cover letters.
Your Contact Information
City, State, Zip Code
If you can find a contact person at the company, direct your letter or email message to them. Here's how to find contacts at companies.
If you can't locate a contact person, address your letter to "Dear Hiring Manager" or leave out this section and start with the first paragraph of your letter.
Body of Cover Letter
The goal of your letter is to get noticed as a prospective employee even if the company isn't hiring immediately. Your letter should explain the reason for your interest in the organization, and identify your most relevant skills or experiences and explain why you would be an asset to the organization.
The first paragraph of your letter should include information on why you are writing. If you know someone at the company mention it now. Be specific as to why you are interested in this particular company.
The next section of your cover letter should describe what you have to offer the employer. Again, be specific as to how you can help the organization.
Conclude your cover letter by thanking the employer for considering you for employment.
Best Regards, (or choose another closing from the examples below)
Handwritten Signature (for a mailed letter)
When you are sending an email letter, be sure to include all your contact information in your signature.
Cover Letter Example for a Job That's Not Advertised
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. Contact,
As an Information Technology professional with high-level management experience in the IT industry, I learned that the best way to achieve success was to motivate the resources I had with well-defined objectives and empowerment.
A management belief based on integrity, quality, and service, along with a positive attitude, an aptitude for strategic thought and planning, and the ability to adapt quickly to new ideas and situations allows me to achieve consistent and significant successes in multiple industries.
My personality profile says:
- A confident, driven individual who reacts quickly to change.
- A self-starter with a strong sense of urgency who responds positively to challenge and pressure.
- A fast learner who is a practical and ingenuous problem solver.
- A fluent and articulate communicator, flexible and responsive. A self-directed, goal-oriented doer.
My former managers' say:
"…The Information Technology Analysis will serve as a guideline for making positive contributions …your management style provided a footprint for younger members of our organization… a very positive impression of the contributions you made to our business and its growth." Gregory Hines, President and CEO, Information Data Technology.
"…the most important source of growth in our data technology business …able to focus the team and manage the product to a successful introduction …due in large part to his own personal commitment ...excellent IT project management and operational management skills." Pauline Hallenback, CTO at Information Systems.
"…your strengths as a manager are many and varied …all issues are confronted in a timely manner …management by objectives comes as a second nature to you…" Jackson Brownell, Director of Operations, Denver Technologies.
ABC Company is a company that would provide me with the opportunity to put my personality, skills, and successes to work. At a personal meeting, I would like to discuss with you how I will contribute to the continued growth of your company.
Proofread Your Documents
Carefully proofread both your resume and cover letter before you send them. Here are proofreading tips for job seekers.
How to Send Your Letter
When sending your letter via email, write your letter in the email message and attach your resume to the message. In the subject line, put your name and the reason for writing (Your Name - Introduction).
How to Send Your Resume With Your Cover Letter
Here's how to send your resume with your cover letter:
Letter of Interest Samples
How to Write a Letter of Interest
Let’s face it, a blanket cover letter just isn’t going to cut it these days. So how can you make the best use of your time while maximizing your results? Here are a few simple steps to customizing your cover letters.
(And if you don’t think you SHOULD customize your cover letter for each application you submit, then we have bigger problems than I thought…)
The Perfect Cover Letter For Any Job Has…
A Memorable Opener
Here’s a mistake I see more and more job seekers making: the opening line on their cover letter reads, “Please accept this in response to the (position) advertised on month day, year.”
What’s wrong with this kind of opening line? Everyone uses it. The point of your job search is to stand out from the crowd—not get lost in the midst of it. Instead, try using something similar to your branding statement. You can easily tweak your branding statement to be a customized opening line.
For example: With more than 10 years of profit-driven project management expertise…
What’s different about this opening line? I’m already addressing the company’s need for a bottom-line-driven project manager; sharing my years of experience; and hitting the job title on the dot. That’s three big points you’ve scored in the first line alone.
Facts That Support Requirements
After you’ve written your opening lines (which express your interest in the position and introduce you to the prospective employer) immediately jump into how you can meet the organization’s needs based on the requirements the company posted in its online ad or job description.
“I see you are interested in hiring someone with strategic-change management experience.” (Or whatever the key requirement of the position is—highlight it here). Then tell—or even better, SHOW—the reader why you have that experience: “In my present role with ABC Distributors, I did XYZ, which resulted in JKL.”
Showing the potential employer—right off the bat—you possess a desired attribute or requirement for the position will prompt the hiring manager to invest more time in reading your resume. If your cover letter states—in so many words—“I am the perfect match for your opening, and I can meet/exceed your needs,” then, you immediately get my attention, and I’m more likely to invest time in reviewing your resume.
Here’s a tip: Do not use bullet points or material word-for-word from your resume; provide the hiring manager with fresh information on your cover letter.
Details Are Important
Here are a few small details to remember when crafting a cover letter to fit a specific opening:
- Make sure that your cover letter heading matches your resume’s.
- Include your branding statement with your header at the top of your cover letter. It enforces your brand and provides a polished touch.
- Include a quote from a former employer if relevant and hard-hitting. This is a great way to “sell” what you’re capable of accomplishing for an organization. If the prospective employer has a specific requirement in its job ad—and you’ve already done that somewhere else and have a great recommendation or quote from a previous supervisor to back it up—WOW! There really isn’t any better sales/marketing material than that. Not much can beat a quote about your results.
Close With Contact
Always offer at the close of your cover letter to follow up with the employer/hiring manager via phone, e-mail, snail mail, whatever… within a specific time frame (be it one week or two or whenever). Also, be sure to include your contact information so they can reach out to you. Keep the closing professional, polished, and concise. You don’t want to appear desperate or unprofessional on your cover letter… ever.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock