This may come as a surprise to some, but job searching isn't only about sending job applications to job openings. Taking the initiative to create your own opportunity with a company you like is also another job search strategy. This initiative can take the form of sending a company you have your sights on a letter of interest. A letter of interest is also referred to as an expression of interest, statement of interest, letter of intent, letter of inquiry, or prospecting letter. Regardless of what it may be called, it's a business letter that expresses your interest in a company to learn if any job openings are available.
This article will go over what a letter of interest is and how it differs from a cover letter. We'll then walk you through a practical guideline to learn how to write a persuasive letter of interest that will grab the recipient's attention, showcase your skills, and help you land a job at a company you admire.
A letter of interest serves as a formal letter to showcase your relevant skills, qualifications and work experience to a hiring manager and human resources of a potential employer you admire. Job seekers send a letter of interest when a company they wish to work for hasn’t posted a job opportunity to a position to wish to apply for. It’s a letter candidates send to companies that expresses their interest in learning more about the company and any employment opportunities that may be available.
A letter of interest needs to be concise and persuasive, effectively showcasing why you’d be an excellent fit for the company. Once you’ve caught the hiring manager’s attention and piqued their interest, they can then check if any current or upcoming open positions best suit your skills and work experience.
Also, because titles, roles and job descriptions for specific jobs can vary from company to company, a letter of interest helps recruiters better evaluate your skills to align with their particular hiring process and needs. If you are able to connect and hit it off with a company’s hiring manager or recruiter before sending your letter of interest out, they may even advise you to include their name or another manager’s name in your letter of interest to increase your chances of landing an interview.
While a letter of interest and a cover letter may sound similar, they are quite different. A cover letter is sent along with your resume in response to a specific available job position, in the hopes of landing a job interview. On the other hand, a letter of interest is not tailored to any specific job post and is sent unsolicited to a company to express your interest in working with them and why you’d make a great addition to their company.
A cover letter typically showcases your skills and qualifications relevant to a specific position you’re applying for. However, a letter of interest is typically more general and focuses on your overall skill sets, the reasons you wish to work there, and why you’d be a great fit.
A letter of interest is the type of letter that serves as your one shot at impressing your target company, so it needs to be persuasive. An effective letter of interest format consists of three parts, each a paragraph in length: introduction, body and a closing statement.
The first paragraph of your letter of interest serves as the opportunity to introduce yourself. It shows how and where you heard about the company and why you are contacting them. This opening paragraph allows you to make a good impression, so you need to be convincing with your reasons for contacting them.
The body section is where you persuasively showcase your skills, experience and qualifications that make you highly valuable to the company. Even though a letter of interest is broader than a cover letter, you still need to use this section to clearly state what type of job position you are seeking and why it best suits your skills.
The closing statement serves as your battle cry. In this closing paragraph, you need to be direct with your desire to speak more about any open positions available. If the company does not currently have any open positions that best fit your qualifications., you should make it clear that you’re seeking an informational interview if a new job opening isn’t available.
For any of these three sections to be persuasive, make sure to personalize each section as much as possible. For example, find a way to grab the reader’s attention in the introduction section by explaining your background, highlighting major skills and experiences that could potentially fit with the company’s needs.
Show them that you’ve done your research about the company and mention current issues they are facing. Then highlight how you can add value by working there and help address and solve their current problems.
Mentioning a common connection can also be a real game-changer for a letter of interest. This is where your in-depth research on the company comes into play. Find an event, person or project you have in common and that connects the two of you.
Lastly, make sure to be as specific and concise as possible. Identify the skills and traits the company seeks and be persuasive with why you’re the perfect fit. Keep in mind that the reader is not expecting to hear from you, so you must keep it short, direct and concise.
An effective letter of interest should be a maximum of three paragraphs and not exceed a single page or more than 200 words.
A letter of interest should be about what you have to offer, not what you’re looking for in a company. Don’t make it seem like money is your primary motivator for working for the company.
Some great times to send a letter of interest include: