Prospecting letters are similar in format and sometimes content to the application or cover letter, but the purpose of prospecting letters is different. Prospecting letters are often used in long-distance job searches but are used also to contact organizations that may not currently have a listed position. We have a few tips to offer concerning writing prospecting letters.
Tip #1: Write to a person. While it’s good advice in an application or cover letter, writing to an individual within a company is a must with a prospecting letter. You’ll want to use this person’s name within your salutation (i.e. Dear Mr. Phillips).
Tip #2: Indicate your interest and tell how you learned about the company. Generally, you’ll want to begin your letter by discussing how or why you became interested in working for the company. Obviously, several possibilities exist here—you may have read about the company, a colleague might have referred you, and so on. Also, indicate what kind of position you are interested in.
Tip #3: Indicate your major areas of qualifications. You want to indicate two or three major areas of qualifications that relate to the kind of position that you’re interested in.
Tip #4: Create a tailored prospecting letter by describing how your qualifications would contribute to the company. It may be tempting to create just one prospecting letter to mail out to everyone. However, mass-produced letters look like impersonal or generic letters and are usually thrown in the trash. Your prospecting letter should be tailored to the company and type of position that you’d be interested in. Your goal is to show how your background and skills can be beneficial to a particular company by describing and providing examples from your background and skills. You may need to research the company to create a tailored prospecting letter.
Tip #5: Suggest an action plan and express appreciation for the employer’s consideration. Suggesting an action plan will involve two parts—you want to request an interview from the employer, and you want to indicate that you will call the employer to discuss interview possibilities. You also want to thank the potential employer for his or her consideration.
Tip #6: Include a resume. Finally, send a resume along with your prospecting letter.