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How do I Write a Cold Cover Letter?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

There are a number of techniques and tips you can utilize to help you write a cold cover letter that will be noticed. One of the most important parts of your cover letter is the salutation, since it is the first part that will likely be read and will effect who actually ends up with your cover letter and résumé. The body of your cover letter should clearly and concisely demonstrate what skills you have that may be valuable to the company and how you can help improve the company. You should close with a statement that is strong and assertive, to emphasize your value to the reader.

A cold cover letter is a cover letter typically sent along with a résumé to a company that is not actively advertising a desire to hire new employees. This type of cold application can be quite effective, since it is more likely to stand out alone without dozens or hundreds of other résumés and applications. With good timing, a cold cover letter can also reach an employer when he or she is in need of new employees, but before the company has begun actively recruiting.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The first part of your cold cover letter, the salutation, is also one of the most important. You should make an effort to research the company you are sending your letter to and determine who you should contact for potential hiring possibilities. This will allow you to address your letter directly to that person, ensuring the letter does not become lost or discarded as an unsolicited advertisement. If you cannot find the name of a hiring manager, then you should address your cold cover letter to “Dear Human Resources Manager,” rather than “To whom it may concern.”

You should also spend a good amount of time refining the body of your cold cover letter to be as effective as possible. The body should be strong and assertive, indicating what skills you have that are valuable for the company. Research in this area can be helpful, and you should try to mention specific information about the company. This can include a recent article about the company in a magazine or an announcement the company has made about growth opportunities.

As you conclude your cold cover letter, you should continue to be assertive, perhaps even aggressive. Keep in mind that you are contacting a company that did not ask for new applications, so you should be polite but assert your value. Conclude your cover letter by thanking the person you are contacting, and indicate that you will contact him or her in the future, rather than passively requesting him or her to contact you.

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