Reach Out to Potential Employers with a Letter of Introduction
By Paula Fitzsimmons
Searching for a solid way to reach out to potential employers? Consider sending a letter of introduction. As a freelance writer, I use LOIs to reach out to editors and clients, and ultimately land paying gigs. They’re an essential part of the professional freelancer’s arsenal, but they can also be used to land a job in just about any field, including animal welfare and care.
Read “8 Ways for Animal Lovers to Find a Dream Job” for ideas on how to get hired.
Good reasons to send an LOI . . .
• A well-written LOI helps put you on an organization’s radar. So even if you’re not a good fit at the moment, they may consider you for future positions. This is provided, of course, you’ve crafted a well-written letter.
• Even if the organization you’re interested in isn’t hiring, they may be able to refer you to another organization that is.
• Sending an LOI shows you’re motivated, and it gives you a chance to showcase your skills, experience, and insights into the organization and issues. And you get to show them you can write and communicate.
The components of a good LOI . . .
• It’s addressed to a real person, not to a sir, madam, or hiring manager. Do digging on the organization’s website, LinkedIn, or call to get proper contact information.
• It’s written professionally, but isn’t stiff or formal. And it doesn’t resemble a form letter you’ve just sent en masse to other organizations.
• It focuses more on them than on you. You’ll want to highlight your skills and experience, of course, but do it in a way that shows how your talents can benefit them.
There are different thoughts and variations on how to write a good LOI. The following basic outline is one way of approaching it. For more samples, check out Alison Doyle’s About page.
I’m including just the outline, and not an actual sample, because it’s important for you to create something unique. If everyone sends a variation of the same letter, it’ll likely backfire.
First paragraph: Show your familiarity with the organization. What do you admire about its mission and accomplishments? Be sincere.
Second paragraph: Mention why you’re writing (are you a fundraiser, communications person, care giver?) and that you’d like to be considered for future openings.
Third paragraph: Tell them about yourself, your skills, your experience, and why you’d make a good team member.
Fourth paragraph: Closing, ask if you could send them your resume or CV. If you’re a writer or designer, offer to send samples to your work – although I include links within the body of the letter.
Website address and/or LinkedIn page
A letter of introduction is not a guarantee you’ll get the job, but it’s a feasible way to make initial contact with potential employers. Put a lot of thought into your letter – show the organization you understand what they’re about, and that you can be an asset to the team. Your well-crafted letter could very well be the entryway to your dream job.