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What Is a Letter of Intent? Examples & Writing Tips

Cover letter vs. letter of intent — what’s the difference? Here’s everything you need to know about writing a letter of intent.

Maria Correa Profile
By Maria Correa 3 minute read

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What is a letter of intent?

So, you clicked on a job opening and read that they want you to submit your resume and a letter of intent — not a cover letter. Is there a difference between the two? The short answer is yes. A letter of intent is a nonbinding statement of interest in working for a company. Instead of saying you’re applying for a specific position or dream job, you’re letting prospective employers know you’d be interested in any job opportunity they have available. A cover letter, on the other hand, is more job-focused. You found a job opening as an administrative assistant and you want to express your interest in that job.

Letter of intent: 5 key tips

Use the following tips to create a professional letter of intent for a job:

  • 1. Focus on the company.

    Because a letter of intent is company-focused — not job-focused — you need to explain what it is about the company that makes you want to work there. Is it their mission? Do your own beliefs align with their goals? Has it always been your dream to work there as an adult? Whatever the case, focus on the company and not so much on what they can do for you.

  • 2. Feature your top abilities and qualifications.

    It might be a little tricky to tailor a letter of intent the same way you would tailor a resume or cover letter, but it’s possible. Mention valuable skills and experiences that match what the company has to offer. If they work in the tech industry, highlight your top strengths relevant to this industry and what they do; if it’s financing, focus on your experience in that field. You’re letting them know what skills and experience you have in the hopes you’ll match with a job.

  • 3. Be specific about your past achievements and top responsibilities.

    It’s your time to impress. Instead of writing every single thing you’ve done or listing mundane details, feature past accomplishments and major responsibilities. Talk about projects you’ve worked on and give examples of their positive results by using numbers or quantifiable metrics. You want to wow hiring managers and recruiters.

  • 4. Explain your goals.

    There’s a reason why you want to work for that specific company. Express how your career goals and passion match the company’s; explain why you believe joining their team is the right move for your career and how excited you are to contribute to their goals.

  • 5. Proofread for grammar and accuracy.

    Your letter of intent must be written well if you want to be taken seriously. Typos, grammatical mistakes and formatting errors can really leave a sour impression on recruiters and hiring managers, regardless of how impressive your skills and experiences are. Read your letter carefully before submitting it or ask someone else to proofread it.

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How to write a letter of intent in 5 steps

  • 1

    1. Header and salutation

    The letter header should include your name and contact information. If possible, you should address the hiring manager by name — using “Dear Mr.” or “Dear Mrs./Ms.” as a salutation is ideal. If you are genuinely unable to find the name of the hiring manager during your research, or you are addressing a team of people, you can opt for a general but professional salutation such as “Dear Human Resources.”

  • 2

    2. Opening paragraph

    A letter of intent should be more focused on the company than a cover letter would be. As such, you should open your first paragraph with a statement that explains your interest in a company. For example, you might talk about something that was recently in the news about that company to show you have an interest in their performance. Take a look at this sample letter of intent:

    Dear Mr. Smith,

    With a strong background in [mention relevant skills, such as software development, data analysis, project management, etc.], coupled with a proven track record of exceeding metrics and driving results, I am confident in my ability to contribute significantly to your team and help XYZ Tech Solutions achieve its ambitious goals.

  • 3

    3. Body paragraphs

    Like writing a cover letter, you should provide an overview of your skills and qualifications. If possible, you should discuss this in terms of the interest you have shown in the company. Discuss specifically what you can do for them and give examples of what makes you perfect for the job.

    Whether you work in real estate, medicine or customer service, analyze the company’s website or the job description attached to a job posting you want, and take note of the goals, skills and qualifications the employer needs. Mirror the language of the website or posting where possible, and emphasize skills and experiences you have that match what the company values.

    Over the past [number] years, I have honed my skills in [mention relevant skills, e.g., software development, data analysis, etc.] and consistently delivered exceptional results. At my previous role at [Previous Company Name], I spearheaded a project that resulted in a [specific metric, e.g., 20% increase in efficiency, $500,000 cost savings, etc.]. This experience not only showcases my ability to lead successful initiatives but also demonstrates my commitment to delivering tangible value to my employers.

    What excites me most about XYZ Tech Solutions is your commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology and driving innovation in the industry. I am eager to join a team of like-minded individuals who are passionate about leveraging technology to solve complex challenges and make a positive impact on society.

    Furthermore, I am deeply impressed by XYZ Tech Solutions’ dedication to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. I firmly believe that diverse teams drive creativity and innovation, and I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to a company culture that values and prioritizes these principles.

     

  • 4

    4. Closing paragraph

    The end of your letter of intent should bring all of these elements together. Make a specific offer of help to the hiring manager, referencing the skills and qualifications you have already mentioned. The idea is to show you have a genuine interest in that company and position, and that you are acting in good faith. Create a call to action to encourage further discussion, and more opportunities to trade ideas on how you and the company can proceed.

    I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to bring my unique perspective and skill set to XYZ Tech Solutions. Thank you for considering my application. I am eager to discuss how my experiences align with the needs of your team in more detail.

  • 5

    5. Sign off

    Finish your letter with a professional closing. Use a simple formal closing such as “Sincerely” or “Best regards,” before typing your full name.

    Sincerely,
    [Your Name]

Cover letter vs. letter of intent

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Letter of intent

  • Expresses interest in the company.
  • Goes into greater detail about your overall qualifications, touching on major accomplishments.
  • Can be used to apply for graduate school or scholarships.
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Cover letter

  • Expresses interest in a specific job within a company.
  • Provides a brief overview of your skills and experiences relevant to the position.
  • Mainly used for job applications.

FAQ: Letter of intent

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Generally, a letter of intent is a formal document that expresses your serious interest in a company, graduate school or even a business agreement. The seriousness of the letter will depend on the context, however, it should be taken seriously regardless of the situation, as it can lead to other steps.

In the context of a job application, a letter of intent demonstrates your sincere interest in joining a particular company and serves as a formal introduction. It’s typically submitted along with a resume and depending on how it’s written and what you include, it may influence a hiring manager or recruiter into wanting to get to know you better.

No, a letter of intent (LOI) is not typically considered an offer or a legally binding agreement. When it comes to a job application, a letter of intent is a document where you express your interest in a company and formally introduce your qualifications to hiring managers and recruiters. You’re letting them know who you are and that you want to work for them possibly, so they consider you for any job opening that requires your level of experience and skills.

If you’re unsure where to start, take a look at our letter of intent templates and examples. You’ll see how our experts worded their document and its layout.

A formal letter of intent is a document expressing your interest in pursuing a particular course of action, such as entering into a business agreement, applying for a job or seeking admission into an academic program. The way this letter looks and what is written in it will depend on the contact but generally, when you’re writing a letter of intent for a job, you’re letting employers know that you’re interested in joining their company.

Unlike a cover letter, where you market yourself and your skills for a specific position, a letter of intent works by detailing your qualifications so recruiters think of you when a job that needs your skills opens.

You should send a letter of intent when you see a job opening you are interested in or when you are interested in working for a specific company. You can send more than one LOI, too. As these are nonbinding statements, there is no need for exclusivity, especially considering that there is no guarantee that a job title will become available at your chosen company.

Your letter of intent should be concise, like your resume. The ideal length is one page or less. If you can limit your LOI to half a page, that would be for the best. Just remember to maintain a typical business letter format to ensure it remains professional.

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Maria Correa Profile
WRITTEN BY Maria Correa

Maria Correa is a Puerto Rico-based Content Writer with ample background in digital marketing and copywriting. She graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a B.A. in English and enjoys making information accessible to others.

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