What is a Letter of Intent and Do You Need One?

You know you need a stellar resume. And you’ve been encouraged to write a good cover letter to provide an introduction. But what does it mean when you see a job description ask for a “letter of intent?” What are they, do you need one, and why are companies asking about them? In today’s competitive job market and with the added challenge of hiring many employees remotely, companies are looking for the best ways candidates can set themselves apart. Here is everything you need to know about a letter of intent.

What is a Letter of Intent?

A letter of intent is a document specifically designed to let a potential employer know why you feel they should consider for their company. Sometimes it’s requested as a part of an application package. If you’re sending your resume unsolicited, you may want to include it to let the recipient know why they’re hearing from you. It helps the reader make a more informed decision.

Isn’t That Just a Cover Letter?

You might think what we’ve just described is a cover letter. While these letters may have a lot in common, but a cover letter is something you should send every time you apply for a job posting. Companies may request letters of intent, but most of the time you’ll be sending them when you want to introduce yourself to a company as a potential candidate without applying for a specific job.

Follow These Steps:

  • Company Research: Step one is to research the company so you know why you would target them. This is essentially a cold-call, so you want to know as much as possible about the company’s identity.
  • Formatting: Use a formal business letter structure to include a greeting, an introduction paragraph, a second paragraph detailing your skills in relation to their company, a call to action, and a closing.
  • Skills: When writing the paragraph detailing your skills, try to make this new and interesting information they may not glean directly from your resume. Tell a story about how your skills specifically led to success in the past.
  • Call to Action: In your call to action, make sure they know you want to talk further. You may include a statement that lets them know you want to talk with them. You may suggest they contact you directly with any questions.

Don’t Forget to Proofread

As with any formal letter or email, don’t send it without thoroughly proofreading it. You may be the perfect candidate but if your letter doesn’t reflect professionalism and is full of errors, you will not be considered for any further position.

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