Cover Letters - Contacting Employers Who Haven't Advertised
In addition to applying for advertised positions, it's also wise to contact employers directly who have not placed an ad. But, to be effective you need to avoid cold call letters that generate a poor response rate.
Many executive outplacement firms help their clients send out hundreds, sometimes a thousand, cold call letters. Yet, cold call letters often have very low response rates much like direct mail does.
One leading outplacement firm says you should expect these response rates when using cold call letters: About a 3% to 4% response rate for positions under $40,000; a 2% to 3% response rate for positions in the $40,000 to $60,000 range; a 1% response rate for positions above $60,000; and a .5% response rate for positions at the $100,000 range.
That means that for a $40,000 to $60,000 position about 2 or 3 inquiry calls will come from 100 letters. This response rate is not much better than direct mail which usually generates about a 1.5% to 2% response rate.
When a direct mail piece is sent to uninterested and unqualified mailing lists the response rate is even lower. The same is true with cold call letters. Cold call letters generate a poor response because they are often sent to inappropriate companies or to the wrong decision makers. Since they are sent without doing any research they usually do a poor job of matching skills to each employer's needs.
Many job seekers spend from $3,500 to $5,500 with outplacement firms and still haven't landed a job
within 6 months to a year's time. After spending the time and money to send out several hundred, or a
thousand cold call letters, many job seekers become extremely discouraged. The solution is to avoid using cold call letters.
By analyzing ads or job descriptions, identifying each employer's needs and explaining how you meet those needs -- you can create targeted cover letters that land more interviews.
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