If you dream of working for a particular company, you don't have to wait for them to post a job opening to let them know you're interested.
A letter of interest and a cover letter are not the same. You would only send a cover letter to complement your resume in response to a job opening. On the other hand, a letter of interest can be sent to a company when there's no job opening at all, yet you want the company to know you have a desire to work with them.
It is possible that the company you want to work for doesn't advertise open positions or simply that they don't have an open position at the moment. Either way, how will they know you exist unless you let them know? This is where the letter of interest goes to work for you. You may be thinking, “Great! Now, how do I write a letter of interest?”
What is the proper format for a letter of interest?
That is a great question! You start a letter of interest by choosing the right format. You have to know what it looks like before you can start writing it. It will look similar to a cover letter, but remember, it is not the same as a cover letter.
Use the three-paragraph letter format. This layout allows the reader to quickly ascertain your intent and it's what hiring managers and recruiters are used to seeing. Here's what the skeleton of your letter of intent will look like:
Your contact information - preferably with a header that matches your resume
Contact name, company name, and location
A RE: line (optional)
Copyable example: letter of interest
Washington, DC 20001 | 111-222-3333 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Psychiatric Nurse Practioner
September 1, 2022
City, ST Zip
RE: Job Code/Reference ID/Position Title
Dear Hiring Manager:
Use the first paragraph to introduce yourself to the employer. Let them know who you are, whether you were referred by someone currently employed there, and provide a blurb about your professional experience.
The second paragraph is where you dive further into your background. Talk about how your experience, education, and skills will help the company. Use numbers at every available opportunity. When you can demonstrate achievement, you set yourself apart from others.
In order to make your letter more skimmable, set some of the important information off with bullets. Ideally, you want to use no more than 3 bullets.
These bullets provide a great opportunity to add numbers.
Use a strong mix of hard and soft skills to show not only the everyday work things you know how to do but also show that you have the right personality and characteristics to fit in with the company culture.
The final paragraph is your call to action. This is what you want the hiring manager to do. Thank them for their time and kind consideration. Then, request that they call or email you, depending on what suits you best. That leaves the ball in their court for further interaction. Add a sentence about following up for a possible informational interview. Keep the letter of interest to one page.
Customize your letter of interest as much as possible
Research the company to find out who to send the letter to and as much as you can about their products, services, and upcoming projects. The most important thing to find out is the name of the hiring manager. It's not as hard as you may think.
Finding the name of the hiring manager
The first place to look is LinkedIn. Type the name of the company in the search bar to find its page. Near the top, just beneath the name of the company, you'll see how many people work there. Click the number to pull up the list of employees. If you're applying to a company with thousands of staff members in multiple offices nationwide or globally, you can break down the list by location.
Alternatively, you can always call the company. Be upfront and honest with the person answering the phone. Let them know you're interested in position “X” and want to send a letter of interest for the job to the right person. Word your request in a way that makes it sound like you don't want to waste the wrong person's time. Before you end the call, thank them for helping you.
Contributing value to the organization
Taking time to customize your letter shows that you value a future position with the company. If you can add some details about how your experience aligns with what they have going on, then all the better. However, without a job description, this bit of customization can be difficult.
You don't want to write a letter that is inward-focused. In other words, your letter shouldn't be all about you (i.e., “I did this.” “I know how to do that.”). Check out the company's website, specifically its “About” page and anything that talks about the products and services they offer. Use that information to align your skills and show what you offer. Being too vague about how your skills match their needs will be a waste of time.
Some common mistakes to avoid when writing your letter of interest for a job
Everything from being vague to overly confident and having typos in your letter can be a turn-off to the hiring manager.
Vagueness in your letter of interest
Your desire to work for a certain company may mean that you're willing to take any job they have available to get your foot in the door. While that is a popular tactic and can work in your favor, expressing that plan in your letter of interest can be your downfall. It's critical to let the hiring manager know exactly which position you're interested in and why.
Proofread your letter of interest
It should go without saying that you need to perform a spelling and grammar check on your letter before sending it. However, the number of resumes, cover letters, thank you notes, and letters of intent received by hiring managers with errors is staggering.
PRO TIP: Read your letter of interest out loud to make sure that it sounds right.
Confidence is great; boasting is bad
Strut your stuff, show them how your skills align with their goals, but avoid making it sound like they won't make it if they don't hire you. Let them know that you're “confident you'll make a great addition to their team” but don't tell them that “they need to hire you to overcome” some hurdle they're facing.
What do you do after you send your letter of interest?
At no time during any part of the hiring process should you sit around and wait for the phone to ring. The power of a follow-up can be the difference between getting nowhere in your job search and securing the information you seek to get your foot in the door. You can even mention that you'll follow up within a given number of days in the letter of interest that you send to the company.
Here's an example of a follow-up message:
Copyable example: follow-up letter
Dear Hiring Manager:
I hope this letter finds you doing well. Approximately one week ago, I sent a letter to you for the [NAME OF POSITION] at [NAME OF COMPANY].
I've had a desire to work for [NAME OF COMPANY] for more than a year and am confident that my expertise with [SKILL YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED] would benefit your team. I'll happily send my resume for your review if you like.
When would be a good time to sit down with you to discuss my candidacy further? Please give me a call at your convenience so that we can schedule a time to get together. My phone number is 111-222-3333.
I hope you have a fantastic day! Thank you for your consideration.
Your dream company can be just a letter away – a letter of interest, that is. You don't have to sit around waiting for them to post a job opening, though. Go ahead and send a letter of interest for the job you want. Let them know that you're available and what you bring to the table.
In the meantime, get your resume ready. If the hiring manager likes what he/she sees in your letter of interest, you may have an informational interview in the near future. Walking in there with a fully optimized and professional resume is a must. TopResume has professional resume writers with expertise in every industry.