How to Ask an Employer for a Job Opening

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Tough economic times call for bold job-hunting moves. While it may have once been possible to score a job by idly scanning the classifieds and showing up for the occasional interview, today’s tight market requires ever-increasing diligence and motivation on the part of potential employees. Learn how to take matters into your own hands by asking an employer for a job opening. There’s a fine line between confident pursuit and pesky aggression, so proceed with caution.

Visit the company website or storefront location prior to asking employers for a job opening if you’re cold calling. The cold-call approach still requires research so that asking an employer for a job opening represents an informed, calculated decision rather than a casual, ill-considered move. Through your reading, learn the name of the human resources director or top-level manager. When calling to ask about job openings, briefly state your background, your specific reason for wanting to work for the company and what you’ll be able to contribute to the company’s overall success.

Write a carefully considered cover letter to potential employers requesting an interview for potential job openings. If there are no listed job openings, request an informational interview to make initial contact and learn about the company. Your cover letter should focus on your positive professional attributes, what you bring to the table and your stated desire to fulfill a specific role within the company.

Avoid voicemail shut-downs when asking an employer for a job opening by including a statement in your message that it's not necessary for him or her to call you back. You'll call back instead within a given time frame. This avoids annoying phone tag and minimizes the chances that your perfect prospective employer will call while you're doing something that can't be interrupted.


  • Save all discussion of salary, schedule and benefits until later in the game when asking an employer for a job opening. Your initial strategy should be to present yourself as readily available and eager to begin. Negotiations can take place later.

    If you’re interested in asking a current employer for a job opening (for example, a transfer to another department or job position that would involve a promotion) send a brief email stating that you’d like to arrange a private, five-minute conversation to make your case for the job. Suggesting a time limit lets your employer know that you consider his or her time valuable and that you feel confident in your ability to make a succinct argument for consideration.