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Video:Learn ESL: How to Write a Letter of Inquiry

with V. Victoria Shroff

Writing a letter of inquiry is a great step to take towards getting a new job, as long as it's done correctly. This video from About.com will explain how to write a letter of inquiry.See Transcript

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Transcript:Learn ESL: How to Write a Letter of Inquiry

Hello, I'm V. Victoria Shroff in Vancouver, B.C., with Shroffcommunications@yahoo.ca for About.com. In this video, you will receive tips for how to write a letter of inquiry.

This topic is for intermediate students who have achieved at least moderate proficiency in business English.

What is a Letter of Inquiry?

There are several kinds of letters of inquiry. For our purposes here, we are referring to a business letter of inquiry - a written approach to a company by a person who is seeking a job.   

Before you begin writing a letter of inquiry for a job, you should ask yourself three basic questions:

  1. What is the intended purpose of the inquiry that I intend to write?
  2. Who is the intended recipient? 
  3. How can I let the company know that I am a suitable candidate for the job?

Writing the Inquiry

After you have carefully thought out your responses to the above three basic questions, you should be ready to write your inquiry.

An inquiry will showcase your communication skills so it should be written in clear, succinct sentences. When writing, keep in mind, the K.I.S.S. principle, which stands for "keep it short and simple."

A letter of inquiry is formal. Usually, an inquiry is done by letter and then mailed, rather than by email, unless indicated by the company in its advertisement. Proper grammar, etiquette, spelling, punctuation and an organized style will show you to be an able communicator and potential asset to the company where you are seeking to work.

You may want to prepare a draft of your letter of inquiry and have a friend proof read it before you mail it.   

Components of a Letter of Inquiry

Generally, there are 6 basic parts to a letter of inquiry:

  1. Your name, address and contact information should be at the top of the page. Under your name, write the date. The recipient's company, name, position and address, should be written just under the date.   
  2. Your letter should begin with a formal address of "Dear Mr./ Ms." or "Sir" or "Madame."
  3. Introduce yourself and your purpose in the first paragraph. Keep this paragraph brief.
  4. The next paragraph should have your inquiry, i.e. that you are approaching the company for a job and any questions that you would like answered about the company or the job.
  5. The final paragraph should have a specific reference to your resume or curriculum vitae where you highlight why you would be a good fit with the company. Highlight one or two of your skills. You may want to insert your email or telephone number here again for ease of reference. The next paragraph should end by saying thank you.
  6. Signature line. The letter should close with Sincerely or Yours truly. 

Final Points to Remember for Letter of Inquiry

Your business letter of inquiry should be no more than 1 page in length. Put the correct address on the envelope and the person to whom your inquiry is directed. You can often find this information on the company website. 

Thoroughly proofread the letter before you send it out. Use good quality stationary for both your letter and the envelope. You may want to follow up your letter of inquiry after about 10 days by email or phone, but this will depend on the circumstances.

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