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A letter of interest, also known as a letter of inquiry, is meant to communicate your key skills, qualifications and experiences to a hiring manager when the company has not posted the specific job you are looking for. While a cover letter should communicate your qualities as they are relevant to a specific position, a letter of interest should be more general and focus on the reasons why you’re seeking employment at the company.
In this guide, we’ll discuss when it’s appropriate and how to write a letter of interest, tips to improve your chances of being successful with examples and templates at the end.
What is a letter of interest?
A letter of interest is a document used to get your name in front of hiring managers at organizations at which you’re interested in working, but there are currently no open roles that fit your qualifications. This letter has also been referred to as a ‘letter of intent,’ ‘statement of interest’ or ‘letter of inquiry’. It contains a broad statement indicating that you’re intrigued by a company and hope to find opportunities there. From there, the hiring manager or recruiter can see if any current or upcoming open roles are in alignment with your skills and experience.
Also, because different titles often belong to different roles depending on the company, a letter of interest can help recruiters bridge the gap between your skills and their hiring needs. If you can connect with a hiring manager or recruiter for an informational interview first, they might direct you to include their name in your letter of interest for better chances.
When should I write a letter of interest?
A letter of interest can be sent at any time whereas a cover letter is meant to be sent with your resume in a job application. As many companies don’t advertise all of their open roles, a letter of intent is a way of expressing interest without applying for an open position.
Occasions where you may consider writing a letter of intent include:
- You read an article about an intriguing company that is a good fit for your skillset.
- You see a sign or announcement for a new business opening or expansion that you’re interested in working at.
- A contact informs you of a job opening that hasn’t been publicly announced yet.
- You find a company with an appealing culture, location or mission statement and you want to be the first to hear about opportunities there.
You’re looking for a more specialized position.
Related: How to Write a Cover Letter (Video)
How to write a letter of interest
While each letter of interest should be unique and written specifically for the organization you’re interested in, there are a few key elements you should include in your next letter:
- Your name
- Your contact information
- Employer name
- Employer contact information
- Introduction paragraph
- Two to three body paragraphs
- Closing paragraph
Your name, contact information and information about the employer should be formatted just like a professional business letter. Let’s discuss what information you should include in your body paragraphs.
1. Start with an introduction
In your first paragraph, you should quickly introduce yourself and explain why you are writing. Here, you should discuss the reasons why you are excited at the prospect of working for the company and why you admire its goals, products, marketing or other relevant quality.
2. Include recent skills you’ve developed
Much like a cover letter, your first body paragraph should include specific soft and hard skills you gained from your most recent professional endeavor as well as any key accomplishments. Include numbers to measure your impact when possible.
3. Describe your employment background
Use the second body paragraph to explain key skills and accomplishments from another professional experience. If possible, select an important project or story about when you reached an important milestone, reached a large goal for your organization or made some other impact.
4. Explain why this job is the right fit
Use the last paragraph to tie your most relevant skills and values back to the company and why you want to work there. Express excitement about possible next steps and gratitude for their time and consideration.
Letter of interest tips
Writing a letter of interest can seem like sending a note into a black hole. Here are a few tips to increase your chances of hearing back from employers.
Research the company
Having a deep understanding of the company, its goals and values can help your letter seem more relevant to the audience. By reviewing their mission statement, social media, recent press releases and other company news, you can tie your own core values into your reasons for expressing interest in the company.
Finding connections that work at the company you’re sending a letter of interest to can help you get additional tips on making your letter stand out. If possible, ask your connections for an informational interview to learn more about the company and their role there.
Learn your audience’s name
Including the name of your reader in the greeting can quickly make your letter stand out. Doing online research or asking around your network can help you learn about hiring stakeholders that might be responsible for vetting letters of interest. It is even better if you have the chance to connect with them over email, a networking event or an informational interview. If you’re unsure, it is acceptable to address them as “Dear Hiring Manager,”
Include versatile skills
Unlike a cover letter where you can use keywords from a job description to emphasize relevant skills, a letter of interest should serve as a more general record of your most impressive accomplishments. Highlight the skills, qualifications and experience that sets you apart from peers in your industry and that you’re looking to continue utilizing moving forward.
Letter of interest format
For your letter of interest to be clear and impactful, it needs to have good formatting. See below for an example of how to format your letter of interest:
Second body paragraph Insert your previous experiences and how they also align with the position.
Letter of interest examples
Here are a few letter of interest examples based on the tips and format above. There are not meant to be an exact template, but rather a general source of inspiration as you create your own letter:
May 1, 2018
Crane & Jenkins
555 Cherry Lane
Dear Hiring Manager,
My name is Cody Fredrickson, and I am a marketing manager interested in open opportunities at your company. Crane & Jenkins has a reputation in the community for creating innovative marketing campaigns based on a foundation of strategic market research. With more than five years’ experience at leading agencies, I’ve cultivated a talent for developing creative and successful marketing strategies. I’m looking to combine my skills and my desire to serve the community with Crane & Jenkins’ extensive nonprofit client portfolio.
During my previous role at Cloud Clearwater, I developed three of the agency’s top-producing advertising campaigns. My work included a rebranding campaign that generated a 57% increase in response rates, an email win-back strategy that netted more than $1 million in renewed accounts, and a CLIO-nominated mobile retargeting campaign for the company’s biggest client. I was commended by my manager for demonstrating strong skills in developing high-value client relationships, inspiring innovative creativity, and finding new ways to grow revenue in key target verticals.
As someone who has led more than 20 major digital marketing campaigns in the last two years, I prioritize the need to stay on top of the latest trends and remain adaptable in the rapidly changing digital marketing environment. I am strongly committed to continuing to refine my skills, and my passion for technology has kept me on the cutting edge of mobile marketing strategies.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I have long admired Crane & Jenkin’s dedication to making a difference both for their clients and ultimately for the underserved in the world. As these are values I carry into my own work, I am eager to have the opportunity to join your team. I believe my digital marketing skills will bring a competitive advantage to Crane & Jenkins, and I hope to meet with you to discuss how we can best work together.
May 1, 2018
777 Willow Road
Dear Patricia Moore,
My name is Sofia Flores and I am reaching out as a regular patron of Cloud Clearwater. I love the inviting atmosphere and warm smiles I receive when arriving at your coffee shop. As an experienced barista, I wanted to introduce myself and explore if there are any opportunities available for me to join your staff. I am not just another young adult looking for a job at a coffee shop. I live and breathe coffee, and I absolutely adore Cloud Clearwater.
At my last position as Barista for the coffee shop at Retail Ocean, I perfected our signature coffee swirl in a record two weeks. In 14 days, I learned to not only make the lattes themselves but also craft an absolutely perfect ocean wave atop the steaming cup, and I know that I could quickly learn to craft any foam creation for this new position. Beyond that, I would love to branch out from my coffee interests to pastries, teas and the other menu items offered at Cloud Clearwater.
I am outgoing, extroverted, and would easily blend with the already vibrant staff employed with Cloud Clearwater. I work extremely well under pressure, and I can grin on cue despite the morning and evening rushes that might stress some people out. In addition to all of these skills, I also have a fantastic memory and have been known to memorize drink orders to faces, therefore speeding up clogged lines. Along with these behind-the-counter talents, I am also dedicated to the tasks that aren’t coffee related too. Stocking can be fun, and I would love to join the team to be the Barista you need when you need it!
Thank you so much for your consideration, and I hope to hear from you soon. I can be reached at either [email protected] or (123) 456-7891.
Common letter of interest mistakes to avoid
Keeping it too generic
Employers typically have many candidates reaching out to them with resumes, cover letters or letters of interest. If your letter of interest isn’t specific to the position you’re applying to, the employer may think that you’re not taking the opportunity seriously.
Being overly confident
Confidence is great, but overconfidence can cause concern to an employer. While you should demonstrate your belief that you’re a good fit for the position, you should avoid saying things such as, “You’ll surely regret it if you don’t hire me,” or “No one can compare to what I can bring to the table.”
Using humor to stand out
While it’s great to have a unique edge to your cover letter, using humor can come across as unprofessional or offensive.
Typos in your cover letter can come across to employers as not having attention to detail and unprofessional. Proofread your cover letter multiple times before sending it out. Try reading it out loud or sending it to a friend to peer review.
Not following up
If it’s been over a week and you have not heard back from the recipient, try reaching out one more time to follow up. Be proactive and ask for an informational interview.
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