55 Instructions for Letter of Inquiry

Write a letter asking for information about a product or service or program related to one of your organizations or your personal needs. Don’t write a letter of complaint. You’re asking for help/information.


The information must not be readily available in an advertisement or brochure. In other words, you are going to be asking your reader to do some leg work (remember our bad-news formula). You are going to have to convince him/her that replying to you is worth the effort.


Consider the following guidelines when designing your letter:


*Express your needs with specific questions.

*Use a tabulated format and bullets.

*Follow the bad-news formula.

*Keep your reader and your purpose in mind.


Follow this outline:



Introduce yourself (NOT “my name is…”).

Tell why you are writing, what your plans are.


Body of letter:

Explain what you want the reader to do.

Offer an incentive, if possible.

Write a question for each kind of info you need.

Use good indenting and spacing.



Be politely specific about when you want the info.

Express your appreciation.


The following student paper may be beneficial to you. Your book also describes different kinds of block format. Be consistent with which kind you choose.


86 Needham Hall
Southern Polytechnic Institute
Bailey Springs, MS 39320
March 14, 2003
Mr. Robert Bradley
Vice President of Personnel
Ace South Transport, Inc.
100 By-Pass I-440
Memphis, TN 31111
Dear Mr. Bradley:
As an industrial technology student at Southern Polytechnic Institute, I am writing a paper for one of my courses on how firms such as yours screen recent graduates of college programs for employment.
I have done considerable library work on the subject, but I want to augment my reading with information collected from some of the larger industrial firms in the tri-state area. The results of my study will be shared with my classmates. I would also be happy to send a copy to you.
Would you please spend a few minutes answering the following questions about the way your firm screens potential employees:
  • What priorities do you place on a candidate’s academic performance, experience and on-campus or in-plant interviews?
  • What do you expect of a candidate’s behavior and dress when they report for an interview?
  • How much importance do you place on recommendations from faculty, school officials and previous employers?
  • Do you give any standard or in-house tests to candidates? If so, how much weight do you give to the scores?
My paper is due April 10. I appreciate your taking the time to read my letter and hope to receive a reply from you in early April.
Jill Kehoe

Now turn to the Assignment Document: Letter of Inquiry/ With Cover Sheet to complete this assignment.


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