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Writing A Prospecting Letter

Have you ever heard of a letter of interest?  With all the other job application materials out there, it's usually lost in the fold.  But make no mistake, it can be of great use to you.  Here's a definition of the letter of interest, also known as a prospecting letter, from 

"A letter of interest, also known as a letter of inquiry or prospecting letter, is sent to companies that may be hiring, but, haven't listed a specific job opening to apply for."
The nonprofit job of your dreams may not be hiring now, but that doesn't mean they won't be in the future.  Sending a letter of interest is a great way to get ahead of the competition when the organization does decide to bring in new employees.

So what needs to be included in a letter of inquiry?  While the concept is much different from a standard cover letter, you will find that process is somewhat similar.  The main difference is that you will writing about a position that does not yet exist.

The opening of your letter should describe how you came to hear of the organization and why their mission interests you.  This should be no more than a few sentences.  You should then transition into describing the type of position you would be interested in, and how your skills and experience would be an asset for that job.  This section should be the main bulk of the letter.

The conclusion of your letter should express your desire to meet with the employee you contacted (more than likely, this would be someone in HR) to discuss future employment opportunities.  Make sure to leave all of your contact information at the end so the employer can follow up with you.  After that, you simply send off the letter and the waiting game begins.  Make sure to read my blog post on follow up e-mails to determine when you should contact the employer again if you don't hear back.
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