It can be both frustrating and exasperating having to go through hour after hour of job searching. When you add up the amount of time that you have spent scrolling through job sites or searching LinkedIn for job opportunities, you can often be left wondering if you will ever find that perfect job.
Despite you sending in potentially dozens of applications per month, you still haven’t landed yourself an interview, or even heard back from many of the companies. You can start to doubt that there is a job out there that is a great fit for your skill set.
Seriously, it’s enough to make you want to throw your laptop at the wall!
However, there is still one more tool in your toolbox at your disposal that you may not have thought about using. Actually, this particular tool could open doors that were previously closed to you and could be your key to a rewarding career.
So what is this secret weapon we are talking about here? A letter of interest, of course!
What is a letter of interest?
To put it simply, a letter of interest is used as a prospecting tool to help you uncover up and coming job vacancies that may be on the horizon.
A letter of interest is also known as a letter of inquiry, and this is exactly what you will be using it for. So rather than applying for a particular job that is being advertised, you are using this letter to approach a company that you are interested in working for to ask if they will be hiring in the near future.
Many companies have a plan to hire more staff during the next year, but they haven’t as yet posted any specific job openings.
You can send these companies a letter of interest to see if they are planning to advertise any jobs that would be a good fit for your skills and work experience.
Help break the ice with a letter of interest
A letter of interest is a very versatile and useful tool because you can use it to break the ice with a company and open up a valuable line on communication between you and the company hiring manager or Human Resources department.
Your letter could be used to get one foot in the door by arranging an informal meeting with a company representative to enable you to gather more valuable information.
Familiarity builds trust
Using your letter as an ice-breaker and getting yourself known by the company can stand you in good stead for any future job interviews with them. Through your inquiry letter, you will already be familiar to them.
Hiring managers are generally more inclined to hire someone that they are already familiar with and have some previous background knowledge about over a complete stranger that they are not already familiar with.
At the end of the day, if you are really keen to work for a particular company, then it is worth the extra effort of sending them a letter of interest. You may end up getting some excellent insider information about an upcoming job that is perfect for you before the vacancy has even been advertised.
This can help you to keep you one step ahead of your potential competition and give you a lot more time to prepare your job application, do your company research and prepare for an interview.
Impress your chosen company
Sending a letter of interest to a company that you have a particular interest in working for can work both ways. From your chosen company’s point of view, receiving a letter of interest from you will impress them.
Your letter of inquiry will show that you are a very keen and pro-active person and that you are serious about getting yourself a job. Not only this but by targeting their company with your letter, you are expressing that their company is worth working for.
Everyone likes to be flattered, so by expressing your desire to work for their company is in itself a form of high praise. This will make you a notable and memorable person to them, so when you apply for a job vacancy with their company, you will already stand out from the crowd.
But isn’t a letter of interest the same as a cover letter?
Actually, no. Not at all. While it may be true that your letter of interest may contain a lot of similar information that you would include in your cover letter that accompanies your resume, they are two different things.
Your cover letter is used with your resume when you are applying for a specific job opening. You would also send a cover letter when a company posts a job vacancy and asks candidates to send one in rather than a full CV or resume. This could be for a temporary contract or a seasonal job for example.
The great thing about a letter of interest is that you can send one into a company at any time of the year, regardless of whether or not that company is actively recruiting new staff.
If you are now keen to get started on creating your own letter of interest, let’s make sure that you get it right.
How To Write a Letter of Interest
Always remember that you will be using this letter as an opportunity to introduce yourself to your potential new employer. You will want to make sure that your letter showcases your best skills and experience that will make you an attractive candidate.
As you will already know from the information contained in our other blog posts, you need to tailor your letter content to fit with the company language, culture, aims and ethos. Do your company research to make sure you understand the company inside out.
Creating a generic letter here will not serve you well. Take some time to tailor your letter before sending it off. There is no deadline to meet here, unlike when you are replying to a job advert.
Example letter of intent format
Here is an example of a basic format to follow when creating your letter. Keep it simple and as easy to read as possible. This will help you to create the best first impression with your letter.
- Your Contact Info: Name, address, telephone number, email and your LinkedIn details.
- Today’s date.
- Company Contact Info: Try to find a specific person to address your letter to within the company. This is better than starting with “to whom it may concern.” This will show that you have done your homework.
- Opening Paragraph: Introduce yourself and explain your inquiry.
- Qualification/Experience Paragraph: You will have two purposes in mind here:
- Showing how you add value
- Demonstrating you have the skills and experience they value
- Don’t list your job history: This is something that you need to save for your resume.
- Closing Paragraph: Always thank them for their time and say that you are available to meet for an informational meeting at a time that suits them.
Sample letter of interest template
So let’s look at an example of a letter template that you could use – but remember to tailor it to fit each company that you approach with your letter:
Name (the hiring manager)
Dear (remember to address a person!):
My name is Cecilia and I am writing to you today to inquire about any possible up and coming openings with your company.
I am highly interested in working with your company and believe I have the right skills and work experience to match your company aims and objectives, culture and ethos.
Graduated from the University of (add your university) with a degree in (add your qualification). I have over six years of work experience in sales and marketing as well as a Marketing Manager.
Please, do not hesitate to contact me to discuss the possibility of arranging an informational meeting, I can be reached anytime by calling, 555-555-5555 or by email at youremail@address or you can see my professional profile and leave me a message on LinkedIn (add your LinkedIn profile link).
Thank you for your attention and consideration. I appreciate your time. I look forward to speaking with you about any up and coming opportunities with your company.
So there you go. This is just an example of what you start your letter off with. You will need to tailor it to make it specific to your skills, qualifications and experience, but remember to keep it short and targeted to raise their attention.