The Evolution of the Cover Letter


The Evolution of the Cover Letter

By: Amara Der | Co-op Special Projects Assistant
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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 LetterThe 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 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 help 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.

Beyond The Article

Posted on March 07, 2011