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How to Write a Letter of Inquiry

When an open position is posted, most applications come from job boards. However, only a few of the hires come from those same job boards. That tells us that despite being advertised publicly, most jobs are filled via other channels like internal hires and referrals. Suppose you can discover a great opportunity on your own and connect with the hiring manager. In that case, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of the millions of people who are searching on sites like Indeed and CareerBuilder for their next job. One way to get this advantage is through a letter of inquiry. 

What is a letter of inquiry?

A letter of inquiry is an email that expresses your interest in working for a company and inquires about available jobs. It’s sent to employers you have a specific interest in working for, like brands you admire, companies where your skills would be an asset, or organizations you’ve heard, are a great place to work. 

Unlike a cover letter, which is sent together with job application materials, a letter of inquiry is sent before a position becomes available. Its goal is to establish a relationship with a hiring manager and learn about upcoming opportunities that may be suited to your qualifications.  

Why it’s important to send an inquiry letter

The most successful job seekers are those who are proactive. A letter of inquiry is a great way to take the initiative when you’re looking for a job with a certain company or in a specific role. Being proactive in reaching out to an employer can put you at an advantage over other candidates with similar qualifications who only apply to open jobs. 

Letters of inquiry are also useful for building your professional network. There won’t always be a job available with your desired employer. Still, by opening the door with a polished letter, you’ll establish rapport with one of the decision-makers who could help you get a job or let you know about an opportunity in the future.

When should you send an inquiry letter

When you’re looking for your next opportunity

A letter of inquiry is especially useful when you’re not just looking for any job but are aiming to do something specific in your career. Maybe it’s taking on a leadership role or doing a certain type of work you’re passionate about. Your letter is a stepping stone that goes beyond sending out dozens of job applications.

When a job isn’t publicly advertised

If a position that fits your skills is listed online, you should follow the posted instructions to apply for it. In this case, you would use a cover letter instead of a letter of inquiry.

When companies are likely to be hiring

For some positions, it makes sense to time your letter when the company is most likely looking for applicants. Entry-level positions, for example, are often filled at the end of spring and fall semesters as recent graduates enter the workforce. Companies begin hiring for seasonal roles a few months before peak season. 

It’s also a good time to send a letter of inquiry if a company has just announced a new location or other growth plans. 

What to include in a letter of inquiry

A compelling introduction

Open your letter by stating who you are and clearly expressing your interest in a job. Give some detail about the type of job you’re looking for rather than making the recipient try to figure it out.

Your qualifications

List the relevant skills and experiences that would make you a strong employee for this organization. You can also add personal details, like why you’re passionate about the company’s mission.

Key accomplishments

Build interest by giving some examples of things you’ve achieved for past employers, like exceeding sales goals or brainstorming innovative ideas.

Your resume

Include it as an attachment.

A call to action

Conclude your letter by inviting the reader to contact you. Don’t forget to thank them for their time.

What you should omit

  • Uncertainty. You want to be confident and assertive that you’re the person this company wants to hire. 
  • Vagueness. Don’t try to obscure the fact that you’re looking for a job. Make your intentions clear at the start of your letter.

Sample letter of inquiry

Ms. Masters, 

My name is Benjamin Arlington, and I’m a project manager with Heritage Builders. I’m writing to learn about employment opportunities with Lennar Corporation.

From coordinating contractors to overseeing budgets, I’m skilled at keeping projects moving and on time. In my current role at Heritage, I lead a team of five full-time staff and oversee over 150 contractors while managing an average of 60 projects yearly. Last year, my efforts to consolidate vendors and negotiate contracts resulted in cost savings of ~$6 million for my firm. 

For many years I’ve admired Lennar’s reputation as one of the top residential producers, and it would be a privilege to be part of that team. My resume is attached for your consideration. 

I would love the chance to talk with you further about your project management opportunities or any other areas where you think my skills might be a good fit. I can be reached at 555-7890. Thank you very much for your time.


Benjamin Arlignton 

Don’t be afraid to follow up if you don’t hear a response within a few days. It can often take a second or third attempt before you finally make contact, but the results can be well worth the effort–especially if it lands you a job.