If you are currently in the process of searching for a new job, you may have come across job listings that request a letter of intent- but what does that mean? If you are unfamiliar with what a letter of intent is, why you should write one, or how to craft the perfect letter of intent, we are here with the answers! In the context of looking for a job, a letter of intent is fairly similar to a cover letter. Basically, it includes information on why you are the most qualified candidate for any position you may be applying for.
Whenever an employer asks for a letter of intent in a job listing, you should be sure to write one. This letter can be sent to a potential employer along with your resume and any other required application documentation. That being said, sometimes the purpose of writing a letter of intent is also to express interest in working for a company that isn’t advertising any open positions. In this case, you can use a letter of intent to explain why you would be an ideal fit for the company in the event that a position becomes available.
Today, we will be answering all of your questions surrounding creating the perfect letter of intent. With the information found in this article, you will feel better prepared to create a letter of intent that speaks to your qualifications and individual skills. Let’s get started!
Why Should You Write a Letter of Intent?
So why exactly should you write a letter of intent? Letters of intent are basically used as a means to introduce yourself, personalizing your overall application, and helping to grasp the attention of a hiring manager. Letters of intent make it easier for a potential employer to see your qualifications right off the bat and, when written well, can make all the difference between a hiring manager reading your resume and simply passing over it.
A well-written letter will go a long way in getting your application noticed while simultaneously providing important details about your qualifications. Think of your letter of intent as your chance to make a great first impression. It allows you to introduce yourself, state your qualifications right away, and argue your case for why you’re a better candidate than any other. When a letter of intent is written with attention to detail and professionalism, it can make all the difference between never receiving a phone call and landing a job interview on the spot.
What Should You Include in a Letter of Intent?
Now that you have a basic understanding of what a letter of intent is as well as its purpose, it’s time to talk about its contents. In order to write the perfect letter, it is crucial that you have a grasp on what is generally considered the best information to include. Let’s talk about each of the sections that should be included in any well-written letter of intent.
The first thing you need to include in your letter of intent is a salutation. Your salutation should be a professional greeting that addresses the employer or hiring manager by name. If you don’t know the name of the employer or hiring manager, find it and include it in your salutation. In the worst-case scenario, call the office directly to find out. Addressing the person who will be reading your letter of intent by name demonstrates professionalism and is the perfect start to your letter.
After your professional salutation, it’s time to write your introductory paragraph. In this section, introduce yourself by name and explain the purpose of why you are writing. In the event that you are responding to a specific job listing, make sure to include this. If you are not, simply explain that you are interested in working for the company in question.
In your introduction, you can also explain in more detail what kind of work you are interested in. If you are looking for a secretarial position, for example, make sure to include this. That being said, you don’t have to get incredibly specific. Just offer a general explanation of the type of role you are looking for.
Your Relevant Skills
After your introductory paragraph, it’s time to get to the meat of your letter of intent: your relevant skills. In this section, you have the opportunity to connect your skills and abilities to the specific job listing you are responding to. This means you should take some time to carefully review the job listing and think more deeply about why you are the perfect candidate for the job. Mention one to two of the specific requirements outlined in the job listing in this section. Explain how you will meet those requirements and, if applicable, provide specific examples from previous work experience.
If you are not responding to a job listing and are instead simply expressing interest in working for the company, use the relevant skills section to explain why your skills would make you a great fit for the company. Remember, the more closely that you align your skills to the requirements or overall mission of the company, the better your chances of getting asked to interview!
A Call to Action
Every letter of intent should be concluded with a brief paragraph on how you will follow up. Think of this as a call to action. In the event that the job listing specifically states not to follow up, you can instead state that you look forward to hearing from the employer. A call
A Good Closing
Finally, the last section to include in a letter of intent is a good closing. In this closing, you should be as professional as possible by including phrases such as “Sincerely” or “Best”. We highly recommend that you submit a printed letter when applying for a job and, for this reason, your closing should also include a handwritten signature followed by your name typed.
That’s it! You’ve successfully created a professional letter of intent!
Why Do Companies Ask For a Letter of Intent?
Now that you know how to craft the perfect letter of intent for your job application, you may be wondering why exactly employers ask for a letter of intent in the first place. Put simply, there are a few different reasons for this.
For one, employers may have several jobs posted at once for a specific department. In this case, they ask for a letter of intent from applicants because they are, perhaps, unsure about what kind of person they really need to fill those gaps. In this way, a letter of intent gives applicants an opportunity to really wow them, helping them make a more informed choice.
Secondly, letters of intent are also frequently used to hire freelancers and contractors who aren’t your typical W2 employees. This is because if a contract falls through, companies will be more readily able to fill that position with the next qualified candidate for the job. Put simply, a letter of intent widens a candidate pool.
Finally, this type of letter can also vary across different sectors. In most cases, more distinguished and established companies tend to ask for cover letters. Startups and nonprofits, on the other hand, are more focused on job candidates that can jive with their more mission-focused approach to business. In this way, a letter of intent tends to be the best option for them.
A Few Tips For Writing a Letter of Intent
To conclude this article, we thought we would share a few of our biggest tips for writing the perfect letter of intent. Following these tips, you can create a letter that makes you stand out among any number of applicants, increasing your chances of landing that coveted job interview.
Tip #1: Follow Formatting Guidelines Closely: The key to writing a letter that earns you a job interview, apart from including the necessary sections, is formatting. A letter of intent should be formatted in the business letter format. Start with your contact information, the date, and the employer’s contact information at the head of your letter.
Tip #2: If Sending an Email, Include a Subject Line: In the event that you will be sending your letter as an email, be sure to include a clear subject line that demonstrates the reason that you are emailing. If you are applying for a specific job, it’s best to use your name and the job title. If you are simply expressing interest in working for the company without a job listing, use a phrase like “Job Inquiry”. Make it easy for an employer to see why you are emailing them from the beginning. This also makes it much more likely that your email won’t be passed over completely.
Tip #3: Keep It Short: Letters of intent should never be longer than a page in length. The longer the letter, the less likely that a potential employer will even read it in full. Keep it short, concise, and to the point.
Tip #4: Proofread Your Letter Carefully: Once you have completed your letter, you’ll want to take plenty of time to go back over it and proofread carefully. There’s nothing worse than applying for a job with a letter that contains typos, grammatical errors, or formatting issues. This would make you look unprofessional and unqualified for the job role. You can also consider asking a family member, friend, or colleague to read over your letter to ensure it is free of errors.
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