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Letters of Introduction for Jobs
Submitting a letter of introduction to companies is a way to find unlisted job openings or to get a potential employer to keep you in mind when openings arise. That said, you must write your letters of introduction carefully for them to be effective. Otherwise, a letter meant to impress might actually ward off or even offend a potential employer.
Establish a Connection
A letter of introduction must generate excitement and buzz in fewer sentences than a cover letter. This means you need to be concise yet effective in the words you use and information you relay. Likewise, you should fill a letter of introduction with action verbs and stock it with industry-related jargon that indicates your potential. It is also imperative to thoroughly research the history of any company to which you intend to send a letter of introduction. Knowing how long a business has existed, what industries it is connected with, and what the company achieved can help determine specific details to highlight in the letter. For instance, noting that you wish to work with an industry leader that has set used vehicle sales records for the last 30 years is preferable to simply noting an interest in working for a used car dealership.
Secondly, job seekers must research the short-term and long-term objectives of a company and discuss in the letter how their expertise and goals match well with those objectives. The process of hiring someone is strenuous and expensive to say the least. Consequently, hiring managers are looking for potential employees that will likely stay with a company for more than three to five years. In the letter of introduction, job seekers should indicate an eagerness and willingness to invest time into a company, which is something that will catch the eye of a potential employer.
Companies often hire a variety of employees ranging from accountants and supervisors to janitorial staff and administrative assistants. Regardless of the job you seek, a letter of introduction should clarify specific education and experience relative to the position you desire position. Since this should be accomplished in one or two sentences, you need to be specific. In sending a letter to a law firm, for instance, you would be wise to indicate that you have a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and served as an intern for a state Supreme Court justice. Using space to mention two years of employment as a lifeguard would not be a wise move, unless the law firm only represented lifeguards.
If you were advised to contact a company or hiring manager at the suggestion of a company sponsor or supporter, it may be worth mentioning in the letter of introduction. For instance, if a member of the board of directors advised you to send the letter, a hiring manager will likely give you serious consideration. That said, the mentioning of connections could backfire. If the hiring manager just happens to despise that particular board member, your resume could end up shredded. Ultimately, you should ask your connections to whom you should specifically address the letter. If the connection does not supply a name, it is probably wise to not mention anything in the letter.
The purpose of a letter of introduction is to get you noticed and to encourage an employer to keep you in mind should a job become available. Consequently, it is gracious of an employer to read your letter, let alone remember you. Ending the letter with a show of gratitude will leave a better impression than just ending with the line “I will be expecting your call.” A more appropriate choice would be “Thank you for your time and consideration.”
Neil O'Donnell began writing in 1998. He has published articles and short stories in "North American Archaeologist," "The Encyclopedia of Anthropology" and "Beyond Centauri." O'Donnell is also the author of the fantasy novel "People of the Sword." In addition to being a certified master tutor trainer, he earned a master's degree in anthropology from Binghamton University.