How To Write A Letter Of Intent For Job
There’s no denying that the processing of hunting for and landing a killer job can be daunting. Different job posts have different requirements to apply. And that’s on top of the vast array of skills the potential employer wants to see. While most people are familiar with applications, resumes, and even cover letters, a few job-hunting tools remain shrouded in confusion.
If you are new to the industry you’re applying in; you may be surprised job postings that ask for a letter of intent. Many young professionals haven’t heard of this tool, but it can prove to be handy for landing your dream job. In this article, we’ll explain what a letter of intent is and how to craft one.
What Is A Letter Of Intent?
If you are already familiar with a cover letter, the letter of intent will likely seem very familiar. To put it bluntly, a letter of intent is precisely what it sounds like. It is a letter, either electronic or physical, addressed to the company you are applying for. In this document, you’ll explain why you are qualified for the position you want and why you want to work for the company.
Letters of intent can also be used to express interest in a company that isn’t currently hiring. In this way, you can introduce yourself and explain why you are so interested in their company.
Whether a job posting asks for a letter of intent or you decide independently to send one, it's crucial to use this tool to your advantage. A well-written letter will make you stand out to the hiring manager or recruiter. It will give you an edge that can later lead to an interview. It can even help you to forge contacts for future networking.
In contrast, a poorly delivered letter of intent for jobs you want can have the opposite effect. After all, this communication is your opportunity to seem professional and valuable, not to sound desperate or overconfident. Employers want to hire individuals that will fit with their company vibe. The letter of intent is your way to prove you’ll be well suited to them.
Remember, you should always submit a letter of intent if a job posting requests it. Later in this article, we’ll dive into other times it's appropriate to send one. We’ll also touch on situations when a letter of intent is unlikely to make much difference to your application.
How To Write A Letter Of Intent
Letters of intent are formal business communication. They are an opportunity to put your best foot forward and prove your worth. All letters of intent should be written in a business format and include the following sections:
Call to Action
Sound familiar? This five-paragraph structure is incredibly common in business-related communications. And if you’re at the beginning of your professional career, you should familiarize yourself with it. Below we’ll explain each section in a little more detail.
Greeting and Closing
While these sections occur at the opposite ends of your letter of intent for jobs you want, they are in fact, very similar. Both your greeting and closing should be short, polite, and professional. Take care to learn the name of the person your letter should be addressed to and include it in the greeting.
If you are submitting a physical letter to a potential employer, you should include your handwritten signature in the closing. However, if you are sending the message digitally, be sure to add a professional email signature that includes your full name, phone number, and email address. If you’re active on Linkedin, consider including a link to your profile here.
The first body paragraph of your letter should be dedicated to introducing yourself. Keep this paragraph relatively concise. Include who you are and why you’re reaching out, but don’t delve into your life story. If a specific job post has spurred your sudden contact, reference that posting in this paragraph.
If you are reaching out to a company that you want to work for that isn’t hiring yet, feel free to mention what kind of work you do. But remember, this paragraph should not drag on. Also, be sure to indicate that your skills are flexible and will translate well to many positions. Just make it known that you admire the company and feel that you would fit in.
Compared to the other sections of the letter of intent for jobs, this one is long. Instead of merely listing skills (like you do on a resume), this section provides the opportunity to explain why you think you will succeed in a specific position or with a particular company.
Before you write this section of your letter, research the company. Use any resource available to you to uncover what type of employees they typically hire. This process will also help you understand if you indeed are a good fit. After you know exactly how your skillset applies to the job you want to land, let your light shine.
Without sounding overconfident, use this section to convince the reader that you are precisely the right person for their company (or job). Avoid making any claims that cannot be substantiated, but instead, connect dots that may not be obvious to the person on the other end of the email.
Call To Action
After you’ve listed your relevant skills, wrap up with a short call to action. Let the hiring manager know when and how you intend to follow up on your communication. If the job posting you’re interested in states that you should not follow up, don’t say that you will. Instead, end the letter graciously and let them know you look forward to hearing back.
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Letter Of Intent
Like most business communications, there are a few practical tips to help your letter of intent stand out. To make sure that your letter is well received, use the following tips and tricks:
Use Bullet Points
Recruiters and hiring managers see dozens of applications, resumes, and letters of intent on a daily basis. Using bullet points to outline your relevant skills can help your readers evaluate you more easily. Also, bullet points will draw their eyes directly to the “meat” of your letter and make your qualifications stand out.
Include A Clear Subject Line
As electronic communications continue to grow, the likelier it is that your “letter” of intent will be an “email” of intent. Include a clear subject line that doesn’t sound like clickbait. This step will help ensure that your email makes it to the person’s inbox. They will also be more likely to open your message.
Before submitting your letter, proofread it carefully. Remember, this letter is the first impression a business gets of you. Consider letting friends or family members read your message to help you catch mistakes. Additionally, you can use an online tool like Grammarly to help you put your best foot forward.
Stay Focused But Not Robotic
While the letter of intent for a job is an excellent tool for showing your relevant skills and experience, it’s not an open forum about your life. Pick out your most valuable skills and highlight them fervently. Hiring managers are concerned with how you’ll fit into their company not about trivial details of your personal life.
Keep in mind that your letter will be read by an actual human being. Don’t pretend that you’re a robot. Businesses like to hire dynamic individuals with strong interpersonal skills. However, don’t be too long-winded. You should edit and shorten any letter of intent that’s over one page in length or else it might be discarded immediately.
When You Shouldn’t Write A Letter Of Intent
In general, it is almost always appropriate to include a letter of intent when you submit a job application. It is a simple way to show that you are serious about yourself, and understand the demands of the position you so strongly desire. However, there are a few situations when you really shouldn’t worry about writing a letter of intent.
If a company specifies not to contact them after applying, do not write a letter of intent. Doing so may harm the chances of receiving a callback or interview. Keep in mind, hiring managers seek out employees that will respect company culture and regulations.
You should also avoid writing a letter of intent if you are not qualified for a position. Now, if you genuinely believe that your experience, skills, or education can make up for one or more job “requirements” feel free to reach out to a company you like. But, if you are severely underqualified, your time is better spent researching ways to improve your standing.
The letter of intent can be a powerful tool when you’re searching for your dream job. Its relative flexibility makes it an excellent way to let companies get to know you. This tool is especially useful if you are new to the professional world or want to change industries. And, with the guidelines above you’ll be able to craft an extraordinary letter in no time.