How to Write a Letter of Intent (With Examples and Writing Tips)
Much like a cover letter, a letter of intent is a general overview of your industry-specific skills and experience as well as the reasons you are interested in working with an employer. In this article, we’ll explain what a letter of intent is, how it differs from a cover letter and when you should use it. We’ll also outline what a letter of intent should include with an example letter and tips.
What is a letter of intent?
A letter of intent, also known as a “letter of interest,” is an introductory letter to employers you’re interested in working for. Typically, you would send a letter of intent to hiring managers or recruiters at a company that has not posted jobs relevant to your background. Although similar to a cover letter, a letter of intent provides less detail related to a specific job. Instead, a letter of intent is designed to express your interest in working at an organization, why you’re interested and what skills and experiences you have that the employer might find valuable.
How does a letter of intent differ from a cover letter?
While you might submit a cover letter when applying for a posted position, a letter of intent is best when you want to show an employer you’re interested in working at their company, even if there are no job openings listed. A letter of intent can be sent at any time and may not result in clear next steps, versus a cover letter which typically results in an interview and subsequent job offer.
When to use a letter of intent
A letter of intent is appropriate when:
You’re submitting resumes to employers at a job fair
You’re researching companies and find an employer who you believe best fits your interests and career goals
You’ve heard or have been told that an employer is looking to hire, even if there are no jobs posted
The employer has jobs posted for other positions but also employs workers in your area of expertise or with your skills and experience
A letter of intent makes it easier to submit your resume to an employer even when there are no specific jobs in your specialty. This provides the employer with an opportunity to see your value and interest in their company and might encourage the employer to assess whether the company has a need or role you can fill.
What to include in a letter of intent
While your letter of intent should be unique to your own set of skills, experiences and qualities, there are five main elements you should include in your letter:
Letter of Intent Format
Greeting or salutation
Introduction: Include your name, brief summary of your background and your reason for writing.
Body: Include your qualification and achievements as it relates to your job.
Call to action: Politely express your interest in the position and the company with a specific action you want the reader to take.
Closing and signature.
Let’s take a closer look at these five elements and what information you should include in each.
1. Greeting or salutation
should be professional and follow formal greeting formats.
For example, you can use standard greetings, such as “ Dear Hiring Manager ” or direct the letter to a specific individual within the company. While you might be able to find HR personnel to address your letter to, if you’re unsure, choose a more general greeting like “ Hello. ”
However, avoid being too familiar or informal with your greeting (“ Hey, ” or by including only the addressee’s first name). The letter of intent is designed to provide a positive and professional first impression that might lead to hiring opportunities.
Use the first one or two sentences of your letter to formally introduce yourself. This section should include your name, a brief explanation of your current experience level and your reason for writing.
For example, if you are a recent graduate, include information about your degree and areas of study. If you’re currently employed and seeking work at another company, include your job title and why you are interested in the company you’re writing to.
It’s best to avoid putting any negative information in your letter. You do not want to explain that you’re interested in switching employers because of bad experiences with your current employer, for example. Instead, simply state why you are interested in the company or other positive reasons, such as career advancement or the opportunity to pursue a different role.
Use the body of your letter to elaborate on your skills and experiences. This is a good opportunity to provide more details about why you would be a valuable addition to the company in one or two paragraphs.
Include specific examples of times you achieved a goal or contributed to an organization’s success in some way, and quantify your achievements with numbers when possible. When expressing interest in an employer, you should provide emphasis on how your skills and experiences align with the employer’s vision and needs.
is your final paragraph where you explain what you want the employer to do as a result of your letter. For example, you might use this space to thank the employer for taking the time to read your letter and to contact you about potential job opportunities. You might also include your contact information in this section instead of after your signature.
The closing should be a standard business letter sign-off. For example, you might simply close with “ Sincerely, ” or “ Thank you. ” As with the introduction, it’s best to avoid being informal here, so avoid sign-offs such as “ Cheers ” or “Yours truly.”
Letter of intent example
Below is an example letter of intent using the template above. Use this sample as a starting point for your letter of intent:
To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Jen Woo. I’m a recent college graduate from the University of Wisconsin with a B.A. in Journalism. WritersPress has a truly impressive portfolio of work with an honorable mission to write for all people, no matter their background. Please consider my request for employment on your writing team.
During my time at the University of Wisconsin, I studied different aspects of journalism and copywriting, including APA style editing, long- and short-form web content, editorial writing and human interest writing. I also took courses on content marketing, including search engine optimization and search engine marketing. I completed all coursework with a 3.85 GPA. During my time as an undergraduate, I also worked as a staff writer for the University of Wisconsin student newspaper and interned with several local newspapers as a copywriter. During my free time, I also earned income as a freelance writer for several blogs.
As WritersPress, Inc. focuses heavily on high-quality web content, I believe my skills and experience will make me a valuable part of the team. Should WritersPress, Inc. be in the market for new copywriters, please consider me for any entry-level writing positions that become available. I am also including my resume, which has more details regarding my skills, experiences and interests.
Thank you for your time,
Email letter of intent example
Below is another sample letter of intent using the best practices above, but formatted for email.
Subject: Introduction – Jacob Groutman
During my 12-year tenure in sales and sales management for ABC Inc., I have always been impressed with your company’s excellent sales record and reputation for exemplary customer service. I believe my experience and sales knowledge would make me a valuable asset to Company XYZ as your next sales manager.
In the past year alone as sales manager for ABC Inc., I’ve built a new sales team from the ground up and increased sales by more than 15%. In my prior role as sales team lead, I oversaw the day-to-day activities of a 30-person sales team, where we used data to establish clear goals and objectives. I provide coaching and training to nurture a high-performance team. I also created a comprehensive training manual to reduce the onboarding process from 90 days to two weeks.
I am a great match for Company XYZ because I am both data-driven and customer-focused. I am passionate about motivating employees to achieve sales goals, and I am skilled at uncovering actionable insights with data to drive customer loyalty and provide outstanding customer care.
I’ve attached my resume to this email for you to review. Thank you for your consideration—I’m excited to learn more about this opportunity from you.
Letter of intent tips
There is no one way to write your letter of intent. However, there a few best practices that you may want to follow to help increase your potential in the letter.
Follow a professional business letter format if you send a physical copy of the letter. This means you should include your name, email and job title at the top.
If you are emailing the letter, include your contact information in your signature under your first and last name.
Do not speak poorly of your current or past employers—focus on yourself and the potential employer.
If you’re seeking career advancement opportunities, include the level at which you want to be hired using exact language, such as “senior-level positions” or “management.”
Do not include a desired salary range. This should always be discussed with the recruiter or following a successful interview.
It’s OK to mention a friend or colleague who also works at the company as a reference, but only if that individual knows they will be mentioned.
Use active language when you describe your skills and experiences, such as “strong communicator” or “experienced writer.”
Keep your skills and experiences relevant to the employer. Refer back to similar job descriptions for skills the employer might be looking for.
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