Dear Sir or Madam, you don’t know me, but…

That headline sounds like I’m sending you a poison pen letter. Which is interesting, because the crux of this is how you can and how you should give someone a certain impression within a very few words. Just hopefully a good one. Hopefully a good impression that leads to work. For this is about those times when you approach a company or a person cold. I want you to see an article from Contently that talks about how you do this approach.

But first, note that it is an American article. That shouldn’t matter except that it does have certain assumptions about freelance life that I think are particular to the States. Even its central tenet has a term, “letter of introduction or LOI” which I’ve not heard before today. That could be me being thick. But then it could also be me being the person who hasn’t written an actual letter to a company in over twenty years.

I think all this still applies to emails of introduction, or I wouldn’t be suggesting you read it, but just take a look and see what you think. Here’s how the article starts:

The letter of introduction, or LOI as it’s known among freelancers, is our written equivalent of an elevator speech, the 20-second blast job-seekers use when shaking hands at interviews. Instead of pitching a new story idea—the classic way freelancers seek work—a written intro describes a story you already know by heart: your professional experience.

LOIs can be vital assets to freelancers because they initiate a relationship instead of a single assignment. And to get results, they should be precise, not flowery or filled with your life story.

Freelance Formal: How to Write an Intro Letter That Maximizes Your Chances of Scoring Work – Holly Ocasio Rizzo, Contently (17 October 2014)

Read the full piece.

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