You know what job you want. You have your resume ready to go and your interview talking points prepped (and if your resume is not in shape yet, upload it here for feedback). Now you just need to wait for the job to be advertised. Right?
Not necessarily. If there’s a position — or a company — you’re particularly interested in, you don’t need to keep refreshing the job search page until the right opening appears. Most experts agree that at least 70% of available jobs are never advertised, which means that if you aren’t being proactive, you’re potentially missing out on your dream job without even knowing it.
The solution? Send an inquiry letter!
An inquiry letter is an email you can send asking about job openings. You can send an inquiry letter to any of your contacts — this could include a friend or acquaintance, an ex-colleague, or even a recruiter or hiring manager you’ve located on LinkedIn. An inquiry letter is essentially a sales pitch, except the product you’re trying to sell is yourself.
Like any other emails you’re sending as part of your job search, an inquiry letter should be short and to the point. This is especially important if you’re sending a cold email to someone you don’t know personally — you’re asking them for a favor, so try not to take up too much of their time. Keep it professional (which doesn’t mean robotic — you want to be friendly and show some genuine interest, too).
Your inquiry letter should include a bit about your background and why you’re interested in that particular company or position. Ideally, do a little research and tailor your email to increase your chances of success. Attach your resume, and if you’re sending it via email, also include a link to your LinkedIn profile. We’ve put together a few inquiry letter templates you can copy and paste to get you started.
My name is [Your Name], and I’ve a long-term admirer of the work [Company Name] is doing. I recently followed with interest [recent company or industry developments].
I’m a [describe your position] at [Your Company]. [Describe in 1-2 sentences your top skills or achievements and what you can bring to the company.] I’m currently looking for a new opportunity to [briefly describe the kind of role you’re interested in] and [Company Name] is doing exactly the kind of work I want to be a part of. I’d love to apply for any positions that could be a good fit.
I’ve attached my resume for your convenience and you can also find me on LinkedIn [link]. I look forward to connecting and hope we can stay in touch if any positions become available in the future. Thank you so much for your time.
This email strikes a good balance between enthusiastic and professional. It establishes why you’re interested in this company specifically — a must when you’re cold emailing — and briefly describes why they might be interested in you in return. It also establishes your long-term interest in case no positions are currently available but something relevant opens up in the future.
My [describe your relationship, eg. former coworker], [Contact’s Name] suggested that I ask you about potential openings in [the department or role you want to work in]. I’ve been following [Company Name] for several years and I really admire the work you do in [your field].
I’m currently a [describe your position] at [Your Company]. I’m currently looking for a new position that would allow me to put my [describe 2-3 relevant skills] to good use. [Briefly describe your top accomplishments, eg. leading a team, increasing sales, technical expertise].
I’ve attached my resume and you can view my LinkedIn profile [link]. I’d love to discuss how I can bring my expertise to your team. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions and I look forward to connecting with you!
If you have any kind of connection to a company, it’s best to start with that as your lead-in. This email shows genuine interest in the company and shows off the skills or expertise you can bring to the table without becoming overly pushy.
How are you? I heard about your new position at [Company], congratulations!
I wanted to reach out to you because I’ve been looking for a position [briefly describe what you’re looking for]. I love the work [Company] has been doing and was wondering if you know of any openings that I might be a good fit for? Any inside scoop you can give me would be much appreciated!
I’ve attached my resume for reference and I’m also on LinkedIn [link]. Let me know if you hear anything (or if you just want to catch up). Thanks so much!
This email is less formal, since you already have a relationship with the person you’re sending it to. It has a more personal touch and you can customize it to fit your relationship. People who already work at a company may know about upcoming openings before they’re advertised, so it’s always a good idea to start with your existing contacts.