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How to write a perfect job inquiry letter

Here at PaperPerfect, we often get letters asking whether or not we are hiring freelance editors; many of them are just quick memos – to which we inevitably reply that we have a full staff already. However, the following letter caught my attention for being extremely professional, benefits-driven, and engaging. For anyone job-seeking or trying to find employment, who has been sending out inquiries, take a good, long look at this letter and learn from it:

I just stumbled across your site and was delighted at the wonderful way you address writers’ concerns re editing. I’m a Contributing Editor of Harper’s Magazine, where I was a hands-on developmental editor for 20 years. I’m currently a freelance book editor, working with agents and publishers to get manuscripts and authors they’d like to work with up to speed. So far, I’ve edited more than 30 books, in every genre, and I’m wondering if I may be a resource you’d like to offer on your site.

I’d make a great complement to your services because I create solutions to editorial problems not usually addressed by copy-editing—namely problems of story arc, characterization, focus, pacing, narrative vs. dialogue, and the like, as well as coaching for writers who want to learn more. In addition, I’m sure that my connections in the publishing world could be useful to some of your clients. Authors I’ve worked with include David Foster Wallace, George Saunders, Ethan Watters, Michael Chabon, T.C. Boyle, Joyce Carol Oates, George Plimpton, Rick Russo, Pico Iyer, Tony Hendra, Fred Busch, Padgett Powell, Jack Hitt, and Lewis Lapham. I’ve also worked with emerging writers, as well as with MFA students around the country. In addition, I’m a published fiction writer, and wrote the first 20 years of the Harper’s Index, as well as two books based on the feature.

Because of this broad range of experiences, I am expert at getting the best out of writers, at selling necessary changes, creating fresh solutions, and improving each writer’s skills for life—especially when it comes to self-editing. I hope you’ll let me know how we can keep in touch and work together to offer writers the widest possible complement of services. Best of luck in the new year!

-Charis Conn

First of all – it never asks whether or not we’re hiring: it starts by a) complementing what we do and b) providing information about how this person can enhance our customer/client experience. It also grabs our attention by stating some pretty impressive qualifications in the letter.

How to write a perfect job inquiry letter

If you’re sending out job inquiries, copy this format:

1) Say specifically why you like/appreciate/understand what the company does.

2)Name drop – mention your biggest professional successes in the inquiry

3) Never ask for a job or ‘are you hiring’; offer to be used ‘as a resource’ or to ‘work together to provide customers best service’

4) Think outside the box: don’t pigeon hole yourself into finding a job; try to make yourself of value to the company and let them decide in what capacity you can work together; or suggest something to them.

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