A reader writes:
I recently had an idea to email employers with a short message prior to sending in my resume. I’ve pasted it below:
“My name is ____ and I am very interested in the job offer you’ve recently posted on Craigslist. I was hoping to find out a little more about your company. With this knowledge in hand, I would be able to effectively shape my cover letter and resume, demonstrating why I am a quality candidate for the job.
I was also hoping to learn whom I should be addressing the cover letter to. I look forward to a reply from you. Thank you for your time and consideration.”
I’ve only sent this out to employers whose ad did not include any information on their company but only a list of duties and requirements. Do you think this is a good idea? I am tempted to compose a cover letter outright but I’m hoping reaching out will show initiative and help in composing a cover letter that addresses the companies’ needs more directly.
Nope, don’t do it. They don’t want to spend time answering questions about the job when they don’t even know yet if you’d be a strong candidate. If you are, they’ll answer your questions if they invite you for an interview — but this request at this stage, rather than showing initiative, will make you look like you’re not as self-sufficient as other candidates. It will also annoy them (because you’re asking them to go out of their way to help you strengthen your candidacy) and will just be ignored in a lot of cases.
Besides, unless it’s a completely blind ad where you can’t tell what company it is, you can do your own research about the company — and asking them to to answer something you can find out on your own is a bad idea. Even if it is a blind ad, though, this is still a bad idea — because they’ve included the info they’ve deemed necessary at this stage, even if you happen to disagree.
They also don’t care if you address the cover letter to a specific person or not. They just want you to submit your application using the instructions they provided.
Write a great cover letter using the information they provided about the job itself. Good luck!