In today's competitive job market, a carefully crafted letter of interest is a powerful tool for standing apart from the crowd.
In this post, you’ll learn how to write an outstanding letter of interest that gets you noticed, builds interest, and elicits positive responses.
What is a letter of interest?
A letter of interest lets a company know you want to work for them in a role they're not currently or openly hiring for.
It focuses on communicating how your skillset might benefit the company so they keep you in mind when (and if) a specific role becomes available.
Sending a letter of interest is a great way to introduce yourself to a company, and it shows them you're willing to take the initiative to reach out proactively.
If done right, this can lead to a coffee chat or an informational interview with the hiring manager of the team you want to work with.
Letter of Interest vs. Cover Letter
The main differences between a letter of interest and a cover letter are their purpose and approach.
A cover letter is typically submitted as a supporting document in response to a specific job posting, while a letter of interest is unsolicited and proactive.
It isn’t written in response to an open opportunity but aims to create opportunities by putting yourself on the company’s radar and openly expressing your interest in working with them.
Another significant difference is how the contents of each document are written.
A cover letter must be tailored to a specific job's requirements. This document will convince the employer that you are the best fit for that role. On the other hand, letters of interest can be more general in scope.
While you should highlight specific skill sets, the primary goal is to generate enough interest to initiate a conversation.
How to Write a Letter of Interest
Your letter of interest needs to be compelling enough to capture the attention of a busy manager and generate enough interest in you as a professional to elicit a response. While this may seem daunting, here's how to do this in 5 simple steps.
Please note that this structure assumes there is a specific team and role you want to be considered for.
1. Briefly introduce yourself.
You must provide context so the recipient understands why you’re reaching out. Failure to do so is a surefire way to end up in the trash or spam folder.
Here are some tips for writing your introduction:
- Keep it concise. You will likely be one of the thousands of emails in their inbox, so they won’t be particularly inclined to sit through a winding introduction.
- Provide context for your letter. The more specific and relevant, the better. If you have a mutual contact, learned of a recent development, or have simply been following them for a while, this is the place you want to highlight that.
- Clearly state why you’re reaching out. Finally, you want to explain why you’re reaching out as clearly and quickly as possible. Don’t dance around the topic; you want to move them to the next section of your letter as soon as possible.
2. Hook the hiring manager with proof that you understand their problems.
To immediately grab a hiring manager's attention after your introduction, you should show that you’ve done your homework and understand the problems they’re currently trying to solve.
A great way to do this is by referencing similar experiences at a current or prior job. This helps you establish a connection and show the hiring manager you can relate to the problem they’re addressing.
It also creates a hook that builds interest and prompts them to read the rest of the letter.
Note: If you don’t have this information, carefully considering the manager's responsibilities is one way to figure this out. What tasks do they own? What are the things that move the needle? Which metrics truly matter?
3. Show them how you’re a standout candidate.
How do you make a hiring manager realize the value you could bring to the team? By emphasizing any unique strengths, experience, and skillset valuable within your industry.
For example, if you have experience using advanced tools or can access hard-to-reach audiences, these can be standout selling points worth mentioning.
Doing this positions you as a candidate who won’t be on the market for long and creates a sense of urgency to respond to your letter.
4. Reinforce your competence with relevant numbers, examples, etc.
It‘s essential to show the hiring manager how you’ve used your skills to solve pain points they might be currently experiencing. This is where you need to use numbers that show how your skill set has driven results in your previous jobs.
By quantifying your results rather than just listing previous work experience, you give the hiring manager concrete data that helps them understand the real-world impact you could make on their team.
5. Confidently request to move on to the next step.
You should again express your interest in exploring upcoming opportunities at the end of your letter. A call-to-action is crucial because it lets the hiring manager know how to get the ball rolling if they’re interested.
Finally, as an additional tip to improve your chances of getting a response, consider connecting with the manager directly.
The ideal way to do this would be via an introduction from a mutual connection; however, if that’s not an option, consider connecting with the manager on LinkedIn.
Letter of Interest Example
Altogether, a successful letter of interest might look like this:
Letter of Interest Template
If you‘d like to use this structure for your letter of interest, here’s a simple plug-and-play template.
Hi [Hiring Manager's First Name],
I [Insert Context of Why You Decided To Reach Out]. I’ve [Why You Want to Work With Them specifically], so I couldn’t miss the opportunity to throw my hat in the ring.
As [Insert Your Role] at [Most Prominent Companies You've Worked For], I know how hard it is to [Pain Point].
That said, I see that you're not currently hiring, but if a position opens up, I would love to be considered. I have [Insert Unique SkillSet/Experience 1]. I also [Insert Unique Skillset/Experience 2].
Last [Specific Timeframe], at [Current or Old Company], I [List Your Responsibilities and Describe the Impact You Made]. The [Specific Timeframe] before, at [Current or Old Company], I [List Your Responsibilities and Describe the Impact You Made].
I‘d love to bring my skills and experience to the [Insert company name] team. I’ve [Show Genuine Interest in The Company], and it would be a dream come true to learn directly from everyone on the team someday.
I would love to discuss any upcoming roles on your team; if not, I’d appreciate being considered if a position opens up. My resume is attached to this email, and my contact details are in my email signature. Thank you for your time!
Harness the Power of Letters of Interest
The best part of sending out letters of Interest is that you have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. Rather than waiting for opportunities to come knocking, this powerful tool puts you in the driver’s seat of your career.