Skip to main content
Co-operative Education
Special Projects Assistant

empty
a woman in the office smiling on her phone
Credit
pexels.com

The cover letter has changed dramatically.  There is no longer one style of cover letter, today there are three different types: solicited, unsolicited, and broadcast. Read on about each distinctive type and learn how to choose the most suitable to stand apart from the competition.

The Solicited Cover Letter or Invited Letter

The solicited cover Letter typically corresponds with a job posting which includes what the company is seeking and a description of the position. Target your letter according to the content in the advertisement by demonstrating how your specific skills to match the position. Details are a significant part of any cover letter; break down the position requirements and call attention to the important points in the cover letter.

The Unsolicited Cover Letter or Cold Call Letter

The unsolicited cover letter is used when there is no job posting to demonstrate an interest in a particular company.  Similar to the solicited cover letter, the unsolicited cover letter, addresses the employer and continues to relate corresponding skills and experiences to the position.  Nothing is lost from introducing yourself in a friendly cover letter, even if the potential company does not appear to be hiring, they maybe have future openings. Eighty percent of available job openings are never posted or advertised; writing an unsolicited cover letter helps you to stand apart from the competition and enable you to tap the 'hidden' job market" (Ryerson University 2007).  Introduce yourself to your dream company and follow-up a few days later to ensure they received and had the opportunity to look over your package.

The Broadcast Letter

A broadcast letter has a similar format to the unsolicited cover letter.  You are not required to personalize the employer letter, instead the content is general.  This cover letter is much simpler and can be distributed to several companies.  However, it is not nearly as effective.  The primary reason to write a broadcast letter is industry exposure in hopes of finding an employer seeking your skills and talents.  The best way to think of a broadcast letter is as a marketing tool.  If you are seriously securing a good job avoid the broadcast letter format.  Instead, write an unsolicited letter because the results will prove to the most successful.

The choice of which cover letter to use depends on the type of employment sought.  For example, a job at the mall may only require a broadcast letter, whereas a position as technical support for a large company requires a solicited or unsolicited cover letter.  The amount of time spent on the cover letter will directly reflect the type of job you win.

Co-operative Education
Special Projects Assistant

You Might Like These... Academic Success, Communication, Cover Letters, Resumes

Group of people gathering around a table, looking at a document together.
Details Matter – In Defence of Grammar Police

Grammar police can be annoying. Infuriating, even. Yet, I can’t help but feel a small triumph whenever someone exposes themselves as actually caring about proper spelling and grammar.

A girl is looking at the computer screen.
Cover Letters: The Beginning Is All or Nothing

Has someone ever told you that your cover letter needs to have an “eye-catching” and interesting beginning? Well, this is no myth.  Recently, my sister who works in Human Resources has told me horror stories about the cover letters that she is subjected to reading.

a flatlay of a book that said "Failed It"
Top 10 Reasons I Won't Hire You

Ever wished you could get into the mind of an employer to find out what not to do during an interview and what might cause your résumé and cover letter to be relegated to the “not worth considering” pile? Co-op employer Shona Taner lists her Top 10 tips on how to avoid that fate.

You Might Like These... Seeking

Student searching for work on computer
Seek and Ye Shall Find: 5 Tips for Co-op Job Seekers

Truth be told, finding the first co-op job can take a very long time. Don’t panic! Here are 5 tips to help keep you on track, motivated and increase your competitiveness in your co-op job search. 

Person writing in a book
How To Write Your Way Into Grad School

Harsimran Kaur is a Career Peer Educator with SFU Career Services, and a third year student studying health sciences, kinesiology, and psychology. Her passions revolve around helping people, and she aspires to a career in emergency medicine and epidemiology.

two people laughing while having a coffee together
The Cover Letter Blind Date

We’ve all been there, wanting to impress our cute blind date -- feeling great in the moments when the conversation flows – and not so much in the moments when it stalls out.