By Sharon Fleshman
This semester, I’ve talked to a few students who are interested in particular jobs that they’ve seen posted, but wonder whether it’s too soon to apply since they’re not graduating until May. Maybe that’s your dilemma. Or perhaps you know that you have your heart set on working at a particular organization, but at the moment, there is no position posted that matches your skills and interests. What to do? You may assume that correspondence with a potential employer has to be in response to a given opportunity. Not so! In both cases, you can send a “letter of interest,” a type of cover letter that will allow you to express your enthusiasm about a given organization or position.
Let’s start with the first scenario I mentioned. You see the posting for an ideal job, but suspect that the position would need to be filled sooner than your graduation date. Of course, your letter would highlight your interest and qualifications, but it can also include something like “I was excited to see that you had an opening for Position X. I will be graduating in May 2011 and I hope that you will consider my application for this position. However, I realize that you may need to hire someone sooner. If that is the case, please consider me for any future similar opportunities that arise.”
In the second scenario, let’s say that you simply want to pursue an opportunity with a given organization but there are no current job openings relevant to your background or career interests. You should include much in your letter that focuses on what attracts you to the organization itself. After you bring attention to how you resonate with the organization’s mission and core values, be sure to identify your skills and qualifications as it relates to particular areas and functions of the organization which interest you. As I already noted, you can request that the recruiter consider you for any future opportunities. In addition, you may want to inquire about the possibility of an informational interview.
To get started, check out the resources on the Career Services website on how to write cover letters. Once you develop a draft, feel free to make an appointment with a Career Services advisor who can help you tweak your letter and networking strategy.