In today's competitive business environment, a letter of interest can be a vital tool for a successful job search. Unlike a cover letter, which is used to apply for a specific position, a letter of interest is used to submit your resume to or request a meeting with an employer who is not actively advertising job openings. Read on to learn how to write a letter of interest.
The first step in writing a letter of interest is to find the most suitable recipient. The best approach is to use your existing professional or alumni network to find contacts at companies you'd like to work for. If your network can't provide a lead, research the company online to find the contact information for a department manager who can tell you more about what types of jobs may be available.
Increasingly, printed letters of interest are being abandoned in favor of email messages. A brief, personalized email is more likely to be read by the recipient and is less time-consuming to respond to.
Always send your letter of interest from a professional-sounding email address. Create an email signature that can be used to display links to your LinkedIn profile, portfolio, blog, website, or other resources relevant to your job search.
Subject lines are an important, yet often overlooked detail. Choose a descriptive subject line that explains what you're looking for and distinguishes your message from spam. For example:
Referred by Molly Johnson -- Informational Interview Request
Interest in Opportunities at ABC Media -- Aimee Miller
Aviation Weekly News Feature – Informational Interview Request
Your letter or email should cover the following topics:
Why you're interested in this company, such as because they're a leader in their field or you're a fan of their products
Who referred you to this contact person, if applicable
A brief description of your qualifications, including education and relevant work experience
A request for a meeting or additional information
Dear Mr. Hoover,
The Boston Consulting Group was recently recognized as one of the best places to work in the country, due to its commitment to work/life balance and opportunities for junior level staffers to build their professional skills. I was not surprised in the least by this honor, since my associate Nicole Robinson raves about her positive experience working with your company.
I'm a results-driven professional with skills in business strategy, strategic planning, and program management, honed through both private sector and military positions. I will receive my MBA from the University of Maryland in June 2019 and would love to meet to discuss where my skill set would be of the greatest benefit to your company. Please refer to my resume for additional information about my background.
Dear Ms. Jones,
I am an avid reader of The Washington Post and admire your dedication to providing fair and balanced information about current education policy. Your recent story about the value of media literacy training for high school students was particularly impressive.
After earning my journalism degree from The University of Iowa, I accepted a position as a staff writer at The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. Two years as a general assignment reporter helped me discover my passion for the education beat.
I would love an opportunity to get your opinion on where my skills and abilities would be of the greatest value and to inquire about possible job openings with the newsroom. For your convenience, my resume is attached to this message.
Thank you for your consideration.
Elizabeth C. Edwards
Dear Mr. Kampman,
As a long-time resident of Sioux Falls, I have heard great things about North Jackson Elementary's commitment to educational excellence. I was particularly impressed with the recent KIMTV news report on the sixth-grade classroom's effort to collect t-shirts to be turned into cloth diapers for children in Haiti. I firmly believe that teaching children to be caring global citizens is just as important as developing a mastery of core academic subjects.
After earning my Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 2010, I accepted a position as the fifth-grade language arts teacher at River Hills Academy. My lesson plans were designed to accommodate a wide range of learning styles while encouraging curiosity and creative self-expression. One memorable class project involved interviewing prominent local citizens and writing short biographies that were published in the community's alternative newspaper.
I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss any teaching positions that may be available in the upcoming academic year.
I look forward to speaking with you in the near future. Thank you for your consideration.
Although the letter of interest is not used by all job seekers, it's a worthy tool to have at your disposal as you search for a position that meets your needs.
Whether you're a recent graduate or an experienced professional, taking the effort to learn about positions before they're formally advertised can help you get a leg up on the competition.
If you'd also like to develop a strong cover letter to supplement your resume submissions, feel free to read Examples of Cover Letters.
A well-written letter of interest shows that you're proactive about your job search and have a sincere desire to work for the company. With a little luck, it can help you make the networking connections you need to become the top candidate when a position does become available.