In today's competitive business environment, a letter of interest is a vital supplement for a successful job search. There is a difference between a letter of interest vs. cover letter. A cover letter is used to apply for a specific position while a letter of interest requests time with an employer who's not actively advertising job openings. Here's more on how to write a letter of interest and how to catch the eye of a leader at an interesting company.
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. Avoid sending your letter to a general email address.
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
Interested in Opportunities at ABC Media - Aimee Miller
Aviation Weekly News Feature - Informational Interview Request
Your 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
When it's time to move on to your resume, check out these Resume Writing Examples. They'll help you develop every component of your resume, from your objective to your work experience.
In this first example, a soon-to-be college graduate is seeking an opportunity to work with a consulting group.
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 by this honor, since my associate Nicole Robinson raves about her positive experience working with your company.
I wonder if you have any open positions for 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. If interested, I've attached my resume for additional information about my background.
The following letter of interest example comes from a person with some local experience, and she would like to explore working with a larger organization. Note the specificity of the "hook" she includes in the first paragraph.
Dear Ms. Jones,
I'm 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.
If you have time, I would love to gain your insight on a few pieces from my portfolio. Perhaps my skills can be used in your newsroom. I've attached two pieces here for your convenience, as well as my resume.
Thank you for your consideration.
Elizabeth C. Edwards
Here is another example of referencing a recent, specific news story as a means of capturing the recipient's interest:
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 KMTV 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.
Seeing how our values align, 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! Thank you for your consideration.
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.
Since your resume will accompany your letter of interest, be sure to review these Examples of Resume Objectives. The right objective will kickstart your resume and just might catch the eye of the perfect hiring manager.