Each person on the job search will have his or her own preferred method for making contact. Some people are great over the phone. Simply calling a prospective employer can work. Over-the-phone also works well if you are simply attempting to get some information from a friend or other contact.
Some people are bold enough, and can think quickly enough “on their feet,” to simply walk into a prospective employer’s place of business and ask about openings. This can work.
If the job has been posted on either an online site or in the Sunday paper, the method for applying is usually very straight-forward: send in a resume with a “cover letter” or statement of interest (If you apply by email, your email will be your “cover letter,” although you may attach a hardcopy, in letter format, as well.). If you’re writing in order to apply for a job, CLP has a good collection of cover letters on their website, here:
CLP also has a helpful handout called Job Search Correspondence. You might use this collection of samples as a guide for your letter.
When you write, as creatively and energetically as possible, write to communicate: 1) what you want, and who referred you if applicable; 2) why you're good—your background and experience; 3) why you're interested in the particular organization, and; 3) what you'll do next (usually follow up with a phone call). This process will go a lot easier if you took the time to plan your conversation, as described in the last section.
If you’re contacting a person for an informational interview, you might use the “request for information” samples on the CLP website (see above) to get started. In this letter tell where you obtained the contact’s name, and briefly, what kind of information you’re seeking. If you’re contacting someone with whom you’re familiar, avoid being overly formal; a simple phone call for assistance might help.
Keep copies of all correspondence on file or disk. These copies will serve as reminders of whom your contacts are, and also may be used to note times when phone calls were made, what occurred during ensuing conversations, and so forth.