Throughout your job search, you may have noticed that some job postings ask for a letter of intent with your application. Exactly what this means, and how it is different from a cover letter, may not be clear. In this article we will discuss letters of intent, their uses, and how they are different from cover letters.
A letter of intent is a brief document, usually paired with a resume, that states your intention to work for a particular company. It should summarize your relevant skills and express why you are a good fit for that organization. Letters of intent are highly tailored to the company they are addressed to, and can be sent when requested by a job posting or independently.
Whereas cover letters are specific to an open position and tailored to suit the needs of that role, letters of intent tend to focus on the larger company. Instead of detailing why you are the best person for a job based on a job posting, a letter of intent will show your interest in the company as a whole by showing your respect for the company’s values, the relevant skills you have to contribute, and your ideas for how you could fit right in if hired. Even if the company does not have a position open right now, this enthusiasm is a great way to get your name in the running for the next one.
Letters of intent are most often used by job-seekers when they are requested by a job posting. Cover letters are more common, but if a job posting specifically asks for a letter of intent you should be ready to write one.
You can also send a letter of intent when it hasn’t been requested to show your enthusiasm for a company. When you have a specific organization that you would like to work for but they aren’t hiring, a letter of intent is a great way to make yourself known. The hiring manager may not have a position open for you now, but with a good letter of intent that shows your personality and qualifications you will be at the top of their mind when they do.
Letters of intent are most commonly asked for by small or new companies who do not have clearly defined roles like larger companies. Where a large company would likely be hiring for an established position with specific requirements, positions at newer companies are often flexible, with employees wearing many hats. A letter of intent allows you as the job seeker to express what experience you bring to the company and how you can create value in your own unique way. When the responsibilities of a role are not yet clearly defined, allowing applicants to define their niche is a great way for companies to get new ideas for what they need.
The contents of a letter of intent are flexible, as the specific skills or anecdotes you choose to highlight will depend on your experience and industry. However, you should still make sure that your letter contains everything you need to impress an employer. When you write your letter of intent, it can be useful to use a standard format to make sure it is readable and professional.
Dear Susan Williams,
My name is Rob Stanfield. I am a front-end developer and user experience specialist with 8 years of experience and I am writing to express my interest in working for the product team at TrueTeach. As the child of two teachers I understand the importance of education and I believe that educators deserve the best possible platform for delivering content online, and I think that TrueTeach can be that platform.
I am currently the UX team lead at the social media management start-up Dashbored, where I work with the product team to develop an efficient, customer-focused platform. Our user base has grown 300% in the time that I have been a part of this team, and as proud as I am of this business and the Dashbored community, I have always known that my career journey would lead me to education eventually. As an undergraduate, I volunteered at a local elementary school teaching introductory coding, and my master’s thesis focused on accessible content delivery for distance learning.
I am familiar with the tech stack used at TrueTeach and I believe strongly in the TrueTeach mission. My experience in product development and my passion for education make me an ideal fit for your team.
I would love to schedule some time to discuss my qualifications and the future of TrueTeach with you. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 555-5555. Thank you for your time.
VisualCV Customer Success Manager
Ben is a writer and customer support specialist with 5 years of experience helping job-seekers create their careers. He believes in the importance of a great resume and the power of coffee.
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