How To Write A Letter Of Interest (Sample Included)
There still is one more lifeline you have at your disposal, and if used properly, it can end up being one of the most rewarding things you do for your career.
So what is this secret weapon I speak of?
A letter of interest of course!
What Is a Letter of Interest?
A letter of interest is a letter you send to your target company letting them know that you’re interested in working with them and seeing if there are any potential job opportunities that match up with your skill set.
Hang on, isn’t that just another fancy word for cover letter?
Nope. Not at all. Yes, your letter of interest might contain similar things to your cover letter, but they are two very different animals.
A cover letter is a letter you send with your resume when applying to a specific job at a specific time (when they ask for job applications and/or post an opening).
A letter of interest can be sent at any time whether or not the company is actively hiring and isn’t sent in response to a specific job opening.
Rather, it’s a way of introducing yourself to a company you’re interested in and seeing about the possibility of employment with them.
Letters of interest are sometimes also called letters of inquiry for just this reason. You’re inquiring if they might have a position for you.
This is the part of the equation that can be very rewarding. Rather than applying to jobs out of desperation (that you have zero interest in actually getting), you get to hand pick the companies that you contact.
Sounds awesome! Let’s get started!
Now before you rush off to get your favorite stationery, glitter stickers and sparkle pens, let’s make sure your letter is industry appropriate.
How To Write a Letter of Interest
Much like any correspondence you send any employer, you have to make sure that your letter of interest is well crafted and appropriate.
You’re using it as an opportunity to introduce yourself to a potential employer so you always want to make sure you’re showcasing your best possible self.
That means making sure you take the time to do it right.
Not only can a well-crafted letter of interest help introduce yourself to an employer, if you do it correctly, it’s a great way to demonstrate your ability to market yourself and highlight your best qualifications (remember our article on Personal Branding?! Here is a GREAT way to brand yourself to a company!)
A poorly written letter of inquiry or one that does little more than clog up a company mailbox can potentially make any possibilities of working at your dream job with your target company a solid “NO” in the “Do you like me?” boxes.
Tailoring Your Letter of Interest
As you’ve no doubt seen if you’ve read any of our other blog posts, the Interview Guys are very big on the concept we refer to as “tailoring.”
(Not familiar with the Tailoring Method? Head over to our blog post Job Interview Questions and Answers 101 to learn how to tailor your entire job interview to the company and position you are interviewing for.)
Your letter of interest is another opportunity (actually, the first opportunity!) for you to find out exactly what the company is looking for and present yourself as that person.
Prior to sending the letter, you need to do some hardcore research of the company, taking the time to learn about the specific type of people that they like to hire.
When applying for a specific position, you have the benefit of using the job description to comb through in search of the Qualities (i.e. knowledge, skills or abilities) that the company puts a lot of value in.
But since this is a letter of interest, you are traditionally not applying to a specific position so you need to be a little more creative.
Researching a Company Through Their Online Presence
There is a virtual “treasure trove” of information available about a company when you peruse their various web properties (i.e the job description, their website, Facebook page, LinkedIn page, etc.)!
But we’re not just looking for information about the products they sell, when the company was incorporated or who the CEO of the company is.
We are looking to learn more about the people who get hired to work there so that we can begin the process of becoming one of those people.
So spend the time really digging into each web property in search of clues.
Quite often there are “day in the life” videos where employees are interviewed.
What do they tell you about these people? What Qualities to they have?
Go to the employee list on the company’s LinkedIn page and go through the profiles to see what experience and skills they have.
Make note of these, because they are going to form the basis of your letter of interest.
Putting the “Tailoring Method” To Work
Once you have figured out the types of people that your company hires, you want to do your best to emulate them in your letter of interest.
Highlight a few the skills and abilities that you have (that you share with their employees), and give a quick supporting statement for each one that you use. After all, if you can’t back it up, there is no point in even mentioning it.
Once you have done the research and have uncovered the Qualities that you want to highlight, you are ready to begin writing your letter of interest.
Best Letter of Interest Format
Half of the battle is making sure that you nail your letter of interest format. After all, you won’t exactly be making the best first impression if your letter is a convoluted mess that is hard to read and makes no sense.
Here is the basic format for you to follow, which you can see in the three examples we use below:
Your Contact Info
No surprises here. Name, address, telephone number, email and your website (Don’t have a website? You are missing out on a tremendous opportunity. Click here to find out why).
If you’re not comfortable providing your address or any other information, don’t worry about it. It’s not a big deal. Just make sure they can get in touch with you!
If you don’t know what to put here we have much bigger problems 😉
Company Contact Info
Please don’t start the letter with “to whom it may concern.” At this point, it really doesn’t concern anyone if you catch my drift. Do the research and find a specific person to address the letter to.
A good place to start would be a hiring manager, another person in HR, or even better, the Manager or Director of the department you envision yourself working in.
Introduce yourself and your intentions.
Attack this paragraph with two purposes in mind:
- Showing how you add value
- Demonstrating you have the Qualities they value
This is your time to shine. Keep it brief and succinct, because you don’t want to come off as arrogant. Pick two to three Qualities that you have and infuse them into this paragraph, and wherever possible, support them with facts. Just don’t drone on and on.
And save the listing of your job experience for your resume!
Thank them for their time and offer your availability for an “informational interview” at their earliest convenience.
What’s an informational interview?
It’s both an opportunity for you to learn more about the company and the various positions within the company AND a great way for you to meet the right people in the organization you are interested in.
More importantly, it’s an opportunity for you to let your award-winning personality shine, and if executed properly, can help you land a job at the company of your dreams! (no pressure lol)
Don’t get too gushy. Avoid using “warmest regards”, “sincerely yours” or any other hollow platitudes. Stick with “regards,” or just “sincerely,” and you’ll be good to go.
A Few Great Letter of Interest Examples
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at a few examples so you can get your own letters started! Here are three different scenarios from which you might decide to write a letter of interest to a company.
Choose the best letter of interest sample that fits with your situation, but don’t simply copy the example word-for-word.
You need to input your own experiences and personality, so think of this more as a letter of interest template that will guide you to success!
Letter of interest for your target company following a positive encounter:
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
City, State Zip
Dear (remember, make this specific!):
I recently had the opportunity to interact with a few members of your customer support team while doing some research for a project. My time with them was brief, but memorable. Your team was friendly while remaining professional. I was impressed with their willingness to help and their quick responses to my questions. It is clear customer satisfaction is an integral part of your company’s core values. It is for this reason that I am writing to you as I feel my own personal values and special talents might benefit your customer service department.
I believe very strongly in personal accountability and integrity and have always made sure to represent both my employer and myself in a professional and ethical manner. I strive to ensure that I am always paying close attention to detail and ensuring that my work is nothing short of my best at all times. If I were to be hired by your company, I would be dedicated to delivering the same kind of high quality customer service I myself experienced. I am a hard-working, driven individual and am both a motivated self-starter as well as an enthusiastic team player.
In the hopes of scheduling an interview with you or answering any questions you might have about me, this letter or my resume, I will call you October 3rd. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions at any time at (555) 555-5555 or e-mail, Iamawesome@hireme.com.
Thank you for your time in considering my qualifications.
Letter of interest following a write up of the target company:
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
City, State Zip
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,
While reading through one of my professional trade publications last week I came across an article outlining why your company has been recognized as one of the best places to work in the country for tech professionals. Your entire focus has been on making sure that your company is not only a leader in the industry, but also a leader in innovation and pioneering new and emerging technology. For this reason, I am sending you my resume in the hopes that I might be able to join your team.
I have worked exclusively within the technology field for the past five years, and in that time, have worked in a wide variety of positions that I feel might benefit your company. I am experienced in accounting including finance and budgeting. I was also responsible for inventory control and vendor relations. I have been instrumental in my past positions with bringing new and emerging technology into our business processes and I am actively looking for opportunities with companies that would allow me to continue that practice. I believe strongly in always being on the forefront of technological development and I was excited to read in the article that your company feels the same way.
As a team leader, I am proud of the fact that not only have we never missed a deadline, but that we have come in under budget while delivering superior results every time. I firmly believe in the integrity and professionalism of my work and strive to ensure that every aspect of what I do also upholds the company core values.
I will call you on April 16th to answer any questions about this letter or my resume in the hope of scheduling an interview. If you prefer, please contact me by phone (555) 555-5555 or e-mail, Iamawesome@hireme.com.
Thank you for your time in considering my qualifications.