How To Write a Letter of Interest
During your job search, you may want to inquire about a job at a company you would like to work for, but that does not have an appropriate job posting for you to apply for. In this case, you will want to send a letter of interest, expressing your desire to meet with a hiring manager about what opportunities might be available to you.
It's called a letter of interest because you are writing to advise a prospective employer that you're interested in working for the organization. Letters of interest can be sent via email, LinkedIn's message system, or paper mail.
How To Write a Letter of Interest
In your letter of interest, you should include information on the type of job you are seeking, and how your skills and experience make you an excellent candidate. You should also include the reasons you feel you would be a great fit for the company, and any pertinent references or recommendations you may have.
It is helpful if you know, or can find, the name of a specific individual in the hiring department, or a manager in the department that interests you, to give your letter the best chance at being seen. If possible, identify a manager in the department where you would like to work and send a copy of your communication to that individual. You can also send a copy to the company's Human Resources department.
Who You Know
Before you write your letter, review your network of contacts to determine if any of your associates have a connection at your target company. LinkedIn is an excellent tool for identifying people who are once or twice removed from you. If you're a college graduate, check with your career office to see if they can put you in touch with alumni at the company. Belong to a professional association? You may be able to find a contact there.
Ask for an Introduction
If you identify a suitable individual, ask your contact for an introduction and approach the person for an informational interview. If you hit it off well with them, ask if they would suggest that you reach out to any of their colleagues in departments of interest. If they say yes, be sure to mention that you are you are writing a letter of interest and would like to write in your letter that they recommended that you inquire about employment opportunities. Here's how to ask for a referral.
What to Include in Your Letter
A letter of interest should begin with a compelling statement regarding the basis of your interest in that employer and industry. You might allude to a development at the company which sparked your interest. It's very important to articulate the type of position and department you are targeting or your communication will get lost in the email or paper shuffle.
- Greeting: Your letter should start with a professional greeting. If you have a contact person, address it to him or her personally. Here are examples of letter greetings.
- First Paragraph: Your first paragraph should begin with a strong thesis statement noting two - four key assets which will enable you to make a solid contribution in the role which you are targeting.
- Middle Paragraphs: Your subsequent paragraphs should reference concrete examples of how you have used those strengths (and two - four additional assets) to achieve success in past jobs, volunteer work or academic projects.
- Final Paragraph: You should express a strong interest in meeting with the employer to explore opportunities in your final paragraph. You might also mention that you would welcome an exploratory meeting even if there are no formal vacancies at the time of your inquiry.
Sample Letter of Interest
This is an example of a letter of interest. Download the letter of interest template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Sample Letter of Interest (Text Version)
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
September 1, 2018
The American Company
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321
Dear Ms. Lee,
The American Company has been recognized as one of the best places to work in the country for IT professionals. You have deliberately set out to create this culture, and it shows! It is my understanding that you have been deluged with resumes since Computerland released their list of the best companies at which to work. Mine is one more, but I do have some experience that is hard to come by, and sets me apart from my peers.
My IT experience gives me a unique ability to apply technology, in all its forms, to business processes. Some of the my business process knowledge includes accounting, finance, facilities, inventory control, budgeting, vendor management and various operational processes.
I have experience with merger/acquisition events, high growth challenges, technology replacement projects, and IT process improvement. I have delivered large technology projects on schedule/on budget and in alignment with the business strategy. Companies I have worked for include ICM, HEP, IBX and SED.
I would appreciate an opportunity to talk with you or someone in your organization to see where my skill set would be of the greatest benefit to your company.
Jenna Jones (signature hard copy letter)
When You're Sending an Email
When you're sending an email letter of interest, be sure to include your contact information in your signature (email address, phone, LinkedIn Profile URL, if you have one) so it's easy for the reader to get in touch with you. Here's an example:
LinkedIn URL (optional)