How To Write An Inquiry Email
for a Job or Internship or Opportunity
I get questions about writing inquiry or exploratory emails to potential employers or businesses quite often so I want to provide some tips and an outline.
Before we get started, please know that every situation and company is different and you need to decide what is appropriate for your situation.
If the company is well-established and corporate in its functioning, you need to be professional. Even when they respond in a relaxed and friendly tone, STAY PROFESSIONAL!
If the company is small (you still need to be professional) you need to do your homework and know what is going on with the company or person. Smaller businesses are often more personal – you should be too.
Don't be afraid of these emails. Just because there isn't an internship or job posting online for a specific company, does NOT mean they are not looking or in need of someone.
Take the initiative and contact them. It can only help you.
The worst that could happen is that they don't respond.
(Hint: if you haven't heard back from them in 1 week - check in with them!)
BEFORE YOU WRITE
1. Research the company or person so you can be clear about what you are inquiring about. Do not write an inquiry email that is vague. Tell them what areas or positions you are interested in at their company.
2. Find a person to write to.
Search on the website for a person’s name and email.
Use the connections you have to be find a name or email address.
Utilize LinkedIn to search for people who work at the company.
Last resort: call the company and ask who you should email about opportunities.
3. Always include a resume. You get one chance to grab their attention. Make sure you have provided them with information so they can learn more about you.
Make sure you resume is updated and saved as a PDF. Refer to the resume in the email.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated so you can add the link to your email signature. (Free LinkedIn Checklist HERE)
If you have a website or digital portfolio, make sure it is updated and include it.
Free LinkedIn Checklist HERE
INQUIRY EMAIL OUTLINE
Below you will find an outline for writing an inquiry email. I have provided some example sentences to help you write. This is just ONE way to write an inquiry email - many different styles are appropriate.
Once you have written your draft send it to at least 1 person to review - you can even send it to me!
Example for Students: “Summer 2019 Merchandising Internship Inquiry”
Example for Professionals: “Potential Collaboration: Your Business Name”
Finding the person's name is ideal. It may take some digging but your chances of getting a response increases if you know their name. If you can't find a name, "To Whom It May Concern:" will work.
Opening Paragraph (about 3-4 sentences)
If someone recommended that you contact them, mention their name immediately. If you know someone in the company, mention them immediately.
Example: “My name is Eloise Stewart and I was encouraged by Sally Smith to contact you about ….”
Example: “After meeting Sally Smith at the recent Young Professionals Event last week,…”
Tell them why you are writing. Express interest.
Example: “I am writing to express my interest in ______ (company name) with hopes of discussing upcoming _______ (type) internship opportunities."
Tell them how you heard about the company (if smaller).
Or talk about what interested you on their website/ social media as it relates to the job you want.
Or talk about an area that the company is growing and you want to be apart of.
Tell them what you are doing now/pursuing.
Example: “Currently a student at Auburn University, I am studying Apparel Merchandising and Design Production with a focus in Merchandising. With this major, I hope to pursue (internship/job) in or at (specific career/company)...”
Example: “As a ________ professional with ____ years of experience, I am eager to…”
Lead into next paragraph with 1 summary sentence about why you feel you are a good fit for this internship/job. (Your education, experiences, focus, etc.)
Example: “I am confident my ______ (education/training), experience in _______ , and __________ skills enable to excel in the _________, _______, and ________ tasks required of the _________ (position) at ________ (company name).”
Explanation of Experience Paragraph (4-5 sentences)
The purpose of these paragraph(s) is to sell yourself. You need to provide examples from your experience and how it is related to this job or internship.
DO NOT write blanket sentences that anyone could write.
Bad Example: “I have a great work ethic and I work well in a team setting."
1. Pick 1 or 2 experiences that directly apply to this company or position.
Remember, you don’t need to talk about everything right now. Just peek their interest.
Ask yourself the following questions to make sure you make it unique to YOU:
What can I talk about from my selected experience that will explain how I am qualified?
Where did I excel?
What did I learn / was exposed to / understand better?
2. Don't forget to include your skills/strengths that will be essential for this job.
Think of an experience where you used each skill. Don’t talk about all of your skills. Pick your top 2 or 3.
Make sure they are different from what you talked about previously.
Refer to your resume throughout this paragraph. (Attach your resume to the email as a PDF)
Use terms and words that are found in similar job/internship postings.
Closing Paragraph & Invitation (3-4 sentences)
Refer to something you know about the company (what they offer, what they do, how they are growing, etc) and connect it to why you want a job/internship with the company.
This is where your research comes into play!
Invite them to contact you and welcome the opportunity for an interview.
“I would appreciate the opportunity to interview with you to learn more about your needs and explain my qualifications in more detail.”
“I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss the possibility of ….”
Lead them to more.
Direct them to view your resume, LinkedIn profile, website, portfolio, etc.
“Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.”
If you are including other documents or sharing links let them know.
Attached: “Resume” or “Media Kit” (attachments need to be in PDF format)
Portfolio Links: “www.eloisedesignco.com”
Go to your Email Settings and create a custom email signature. You can use this blog post to do so.
Include the following information:
First and Last Name
Title and Company or Major and University
LinkedIn Custom URL
If you found this helpful, share with a friend.
Email Eloise at Eloise@eloisedesignco.com