A letter of interest, also known as a prospecting letter or inquiry letter, is sent to prospective employers that may be hiring, but haven't listed a specific job opening to apply for. On occasion, inquiring letters are written in response to a job listing to discuss additional opportunities, but the vast majority are sent to investigate potential employment unadvertised by a company.
These letters indicate your interest in the company as a prospective employer and serve as a formal request to consider you for any potential opportunities that may be a good fit based on your education background, skill set, and prior experience.
Letters of Interest vs. Cover Letters
A letter of interest should not be confused with a cover letter. A cover letter is sent in addition to a resume when applying for a particular job posting. In a cover letter, you focus on your skills and experiences that are directly related to the job listing.
As opposed to a cover letter, a letter of interest can be sent at any time, whether or not the company is in the market for new hires.
Prospecting letters are introductory in nature. Rather than focusing on your skills and experiences that are related to a job listing (since there is no job listing), a letter of interest should highlight your marketable qualifications and skills that would be easily transferable between a number of positions.
Tips for Getting Your Letter Noticed
Letters of interest are becoming more common, so it is imperative that you make your letter stand out from the applicant pool. Employers do not have lots of time to read long letters of interest. Therefore, be sure to keep the letter concise. Do not write more than a single page.
Find the right contact person:
Try to find a specific person to send the letter to, rather than sending it to the office or to a general company email address. If there is a department you are particularly interested in working for, send it to the manager of that department. If you have a contact at the company, send it to him or her, or ask your contact for advice on whom you should send the letter to.
Focus on the company:
Your letter should contain information on why the company interests you and why you would be an asset to the organization. Researching the company and type of work the company does will help you get a better sense of life and culture at the company and why it might be right for you.
Explain how you would add value:
Unlike an opening-specific cover letter, you are not listing the relevant qualities you possess to match the specific opening. Instead, try to indicate that you would be a good fit anywhere within the organization. Focus on transferable skills and employable skills that you have that would make you a strong asset to the company. If you are trying to get a job in a specific department, emphasize skills you have that would help you fit in there. Try to demonstrate successes you have had at previous companies, and explain that you want to bring similar successes to this company.
Provide the next step:
Provide information on how you will follow up and how the employer can contact you. You might include your resume as well, to provide more information for the employer.
Sample Letter of Interest / Prospecting Letter
This is a letter of interest example. Download the letter of interest template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Sample Letter of Interest / Prospecting Letter (Text Version)
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
September 1, 2018
Human Resource Manager
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321
Dear Ms. Lee,
I read about Acme Sales retail management training program in College Graduate Magazine and I would like to inquire about the possibility of openings. I am interested in a career in retail management and am planning to relocate to the New York City area in the near future. I would be interested in learning more about the company and about available opportunities.
I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Business, as well as three years of retail experience as a Sales Associate and Key Holder. In addition, I completed two internships focusing on retail management. I received an award for Intern of the Year at one of the companies, due to my sales skills and professionalism.
My resume, which is enclosed, contains additional information on my experience and skills. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss the training program with you and to provide further information on my candidacy. I can be reached anytime via my cell phone, 555-555-5555.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you about this exciting opportunity.
Nick Jones (signature hard copy letter)