That awful feeling after going through countless job postings with no luck. Nothing fits. Nothing is available.
A lot of people have been there.
The job search can be stressful and exhausting and can feel fruitless. No matter how hard you try, there seems to be a closed-door in the way.
A letter of interest may prove to be the key that unlocks this door.
By the end of the article, you will have all the information that you need to write a great letter of interest on your own.
People may often mistake a letter of interest for a cover letter, but we will explain the distinctions.
A letter of interest (also known as a “letter of inquiry” or “prospecting letter”) can be sent to a company that may be hiring but just doesn't have a specific job listing relevant to you yet.
It is an unsolicited attempt to get your foot in the door at an organization.
Sending a letter of interest is a fantastic way to at least get you on the radar of your potential employer, and can even lead to employment.
Applying for jobs that are not posted yet will involve a lot less competition.
If you write an effective letter of interest, you might be rewarded with a job that others didn’t even know existed.
Most employers are interested in locating strong candidates.
Even if there isn’t a job open at the time, you can get your foot in the door.
A letter of interest is one of the best ways for you to accomplish this when a job opening is not formally posted.
The worst that could happen is that the letter will get discarded.
However, if it lands you a job, that was definitely time well spent.
A cover letter is a document that you send with your resume when applying to specific jobs.
Those specific jobs will have openings and an advertisement.
You explain why you are a good candidate for that specific job.
A letter of interest can be submitted at any time to any company. The organization does not need to have jobs open, or even to be hiring at the time.
You can see it as a means by which you can introduce yourself to a company.
As opposed to applying for a specific job, a letter of interest seeks to demonstrate that you would be an asset to the company in general.
(If you need information on how to write a cover letter, check out How to Write An Amazing Cover Letter.)
A poorly written letter of interest is not going to harm your future prospects, but it will be time wasted.
Invest your time wisely, make a good impression with your letter of interest, because a first impression is crucial in this case.
What You Need Before Writing
Obviously, you need to have the specific contact information of your recipient. An example of who to contact may be an executive in the department that you are interested in.
You can find this information through LinkedIn, the company website, their social media presence, or through networking.
Additionally, if you have a contact within the company, it will be very helpful for them to give you a recommendation on who to contact. Being informed about the company, its competitors, targets, ethos and similar will only prove to be useful.
Do your research!
How to Start a Letter of Interest
The best way to begin a letter of interest? With a hook.
Just getting in touch is not enough.
You have to show that you are worth the time.
If you submit a letter with a bland opening, it will be put to the side.
Remember that the recipient is not expecting to hear from you.
Catch the attention of your reader right away.
A short and powerful statement is more than enough.
As an accountant, the following sentence makes perfect sense:
“I have worked as an accountant for 12 years. I am driven, a good team-player, detail-oriented, focused and hard-working.”
But this is a lot more eye-catching:
“I spearheaded a 60% raise in efficiency in my department.”
As a teacher, it might be easy to say this:
“Over the years, I have gained a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t work.”
But it is a lot more appealing to just put a number out there, like this:
“I improved the average exam grade of my students by 35%.”
The rest of the letter doesn’t matter if it is not read.
Save fine details for when you have more words.
So it is crucial to make it obviously worth reading from the start.
Top Tip: Are you having a hard time thinking about a good hook? Look at your resume and see examples of your key achievements.
What to Include
The quality of your letter of interest will be the crucial difference between getting your foot in the door and remaining behind it.
Because of this, here is a list of things to remember when writing your letter of interest:
- Know the needs of where you are applying. By knowing the needs, you can show that you are the ideal fit to meet all of these needs. It does not help you to just give bland allusions to your skills. Show exactly how you are a great fit. Back up what your skills with specific proof.
- Always tailor your letter to the recipient. It may not be on the same level as a cover letter applying for a specific job. However, you have a recipient, so write with them in mind.
- Concentrate on value. Show that you add value, and show why they value the skills that you have. Show that you check the boxes.
- Ensure that the letter has a clear intro, body, and conclusion. If everything that you write is not arranged in a correct and tidy format, you make your letter less appealing and attractive.
- Quality over quantity. When choosing what to say, it is better to give highlights than an extensive list. Key accomplishments are preferred to a lot of smaller details.
These details are not complicated.
They make a huge difference, though.
Remember these, and you will certainly be in a great position to write a letter of interest that actually works.
What Not to Include
There are many ways in which you can make your letter of interest a bland read.
With a limited word count, every word has to matter.
You should avoid the following at all costs when creating your letter of interest:
- Too much text. For a note that is not expected, the recipient is incredibly unlikely to read what you write if you are very long-winded. Keep things clean and concise.
- Being vague about details. You are trying to convince the reader that you are the ideal fit for a position that may come up. Therefore it does you no favors to be vague. Say exactly how you are an ideal fit, say how you are exactly what they need.
- Irrelevant details. Your two years working as a barista when you were in your early twenties is great. But when you are in your late thirties, writing to the VP of Finance, you have no need to go into these details.
- Being vague about the recipient. Do not address the letter “to whom this may concern”. You are not getting any bonus points that way. Also do not address it to “Dear Mr/.Ms. Manager”.
- Being boring or lazy. Mistakes or bland content are not going to help your results at all.
- Not tailoring your letter of interest. It is a short letter. If it appears to the recipient that it is the same document that you sent to multiple companies, it will harm how it is received. Show that it is a letter written specifically to the one recipient.
Keep your letter of interest concise and to-the-point.
How Long Should a Letter of Interest Be?
You do not need to ramble for a long time. In fact, doing so would be detrimental. Find a balance between conveying the essential information, and keeping it brief.
However, you still want to show that you would be a great addition.
It is not useful to sell yourself short, but a letter that is too long will put its reader off.
Consequently, it is advised to keep your word count to about 200 words.
How to Prepare If This Leads to an Interview
You should look to close your letter of interest with an invitation to talk.
If you are taken up on that, be prepared.
On the occasion that the company wants to know more about you, be ready to substantiate any claims that you have made.
Also, be ready to provide a more extensive background on yourself.
In addition to this, you definitely want to prove that you have done your research on the company.
It is a lot easier to look like you have done your homework in a 200-word document than in a conversation.
It may not be the same kind of interview as one for a specific job, but you can still expect your individual credentials to be explored.
(For more assistance on preparing for an interview, read our article Common Interview Questions: 50+ Questions and Answers.)
Before we provide a number of letters of interest templates, we have a few last things for you to bear in mind.
Throughout your letter, consider if it would catch your interest.
If you don’t personally think it is engaging when proofreading it, you cannot expect the recipient to feel differently.
Ask friends and family for their opinions as well.
These letters of interest examples will help you prepare a document that is eye-catching.
Additionally, remember that this does not mean that you should end your hunt for a job.
Sending a couple of letters is not an acceptable reason to stop looking through postings.
In the section below, you will see an effective and an inadequate method of writing a letter of interest.
General Letter of Interest Sample
Here is a sample of an effective letter of interest:
In the above letter, all of the guidelines are followed.
The letter of interest immediately hooks the reader with a key achievement.
It backs up the achievement and shows an understanding of the employer’s needs.
It shows that the applicant can fulfill this need.
Towards the end, the applicant seeks to arrange for the conversation to continue.
There are clear guidelines to follow within your letter to boost your letter’s effectiveness. They are as follows:
Dear [Name of recipient],
[Insert your hook to catch attention.]
[Back up your hook and show an understanding of the needs of the employer.]
[Show that you can meet that need.]
- [Use bullet points to highlight accomplishments.]
[Ask for the conversation to continue.]
[Thank them for their time, say you hope to hear back.]
For comparison, here is an ineffective and inadequate letter of interest sample:
It just doesn’t work.
There is no hook. There is no proof.
When the claims are substantiated in this letter, it is with feeling rather than fact.
The company’s needs are not shown to be understood.
At the end of the document, saying “let me know” puts the power entirely in their hands.
Imagine the next step like a carrot on a stick. Show that you can meet their needs, and then say that you would love to have the opportunity to talk more.
Even though the inadequate example is shorter than the effective example, the effective example is more inticing to read by far.
White space, bullets, and an eye-catching hook make the effective example a far more attractive read.
Keep reading to see good letter of interest examples for some other positions or in some other contexts.
Teaching Letter of Interest Sample
Here is a sample letter of interest that a teacher can use:
As with the good example above, all the bases are covered.
For a school that wants to improve achievement, a teacher coming out and plainly saying that they have already accomplished that is a lot better than taking a chance on someone else.
Letter of Interest for a Promotion Sample
Now we get to letter of interest examples that are a bit different.
You are either already working in the company you are writing to, or have little to no previous work experience.
Do not fret. There are examples just for you as well.
Below is an example of what a letter of interest for a promotion might look like:
See how this is different?
More emphasis is placed on how you have already added value to the company.
Not just that, but the achievements listed are geared towards what they are applying for. In this case, these achievements are leadership-oriented.
You are not someone off the radar trying to catch this employer’s attention.
You aren’t just on the radar, you are already employed.
That is why it was said earlier that your letter of interest must be tailored to who will be reading it.
Letter of Interest for an Internship Sample
As a student, your work experience is likely quite limited.
However, you can still have key achievements.
From volunteering to university societies, remember to talk yourself up!
Below is an example of how you may do this:
Like the other samples, this example is flexible.
Are there potentially administrative apprenticeships at a certain company?
Then base your letter of interest on this example, and tailor it to your recipient.
To briefly sum up the key information that we have covered:
- Tailor your letter of interest specifically to who will be reading it.
- Include a hook to make your letter eye-catching.
- Substantiate every claim you make.
- Show a clear understanding of the company’s needs, and how you can fulfill it.
- Invite them to continue the conversation.
And that is it!
You are now informed as to how to submit a quality letter of interest that can lead to a potential employer wanting to see your resume.
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