What’s a letter of interest? When you do you need to write one? During your job search, you may wish to inquire about a job at a company you would like to work for, but that does not have an appropriate job posting currently available.
In this case, you would want to send a letter of interest expressing your desire to meet with or talk to a hiring manager about what opportunities might be available to you.
What is a Letter of Interest?
This document is called a letter of interest because you are writing to advise a prospective employer that you're interested in working for their organization. This type of letter is also known as an inquiry letter or cold contact letter.
Letters of interest can be sent via email, LinkedIn's messaging system, or paper mail. Even though paper mail might seem outdated, it’s a way to get your letter and resume noticed and read.
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 on how your skills and experience make you an excellent candidate for such roles. Your goal is to engage the hiring manager and to get them thinking about you as a prospective employee.
You should include the reasons you feel you would be a great fit for the company in your letter of interest, as well as any pertinent recommendations you may have from someone connected with the employer.
It is helpful if you know, or can find, the name of a specific individual in the hiring department or of a manager in the department that interests you.
This will help give your letter the best chance of being seen.
If possible, identify a manager in the department where you would like to work and send a copy of your letter to that individual. You can also send a copy to the company's human resources department.
Look for a Contact at the Company
Before you write your letter, review your network of contacts to determine if any of your associates have a connection with 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 alma mater's 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 to learn more about the company. If you hit it off 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 writing a letter of interest and would like to write in your letter that they recommended 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 open your letter by alluding to a company development, new product, or relevant news that sparked your interest and motivated you to write this letter.
It's very important to articulate the type of position and department you are targeting, or your communication may get lost in the email or paper shuffle.
Your letter should start with a professional greeting. If you have a contact person, address it to them personally.
Your first paragraph should begin with a strong thesis statement noting two to four key assets that would enable you to make a solid contribution to the role you are targeting.
Your subsequent paragraphs should reference concrete examples of how you have used those strengths—as well as two to four additional assets—to achieve success in past jobs, volunteer work or academic projects.
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.
Letter of Interest Template
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 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)