How to Write an Impressive Letter of Intent (+ Tips and Examples)

Nilda Melissa Diaz by Nilda Melissa Diaz, Career Advice Contributor Published On: October 17, 2022Rated 4.1/5 Stars

You’re ready to apply to the company of your dreams, but there are no available job openings. So, what can you do? Meet the letter of intent, a document that helps you connect with recruiters, and talk about your skills and why they need to hire you.

This guide will show you:

  • What a letter of intent is.
  • How to write a letter of intent fast and effectively.
  • Letter of intent examples to inspire your own.

What is a letter of intent?

A letter of intent, also known as a letter of interest, is a letter that expresses your desire to work for a particular company and provides an overview of your professional  accomplishments. It may sound like a cover letter, but it serves a different purpose.

The letter of intent is used when there are no job openings that fit your job search criteria, unlike a cover letter, which is used for a currently available position. It can also be used to connect with a recruiter you’ve met or connected with at an event.

An employer might also request a letter of intent if they see your potential but have no current openings that match your credentials. They’d like to know what you could bring to the table and what you have accomplished in your career.

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Letter of intent example

Dear Ms. Patel,

Recently, as I waited to be called for at the dentist, I read in the newspaper that RED Research had opened a Science Communications Division. I could not believe it. The company that inspired my career had created a department meshing my two passions. 

Let me tell you about myself. I majored in biology at UCSD and worked in research at Smith Labs for seven years. At Smith, I assisted in research for community diseases in localized areas across the southern states, until a family health care issue came up. I then switched to writing, my second passion, for which I obtained a Certificate in Professional Writing. Since then, I’ve been working on a contract basis with government and marketing agencies, promoting health initiatives and informing the public on major health issues. I am now ready to fully dedicate my time to my two passions: science and writing. 

Since my time at UCSD, I’ve seen how RED Research, in its outstanding mission to help humanity, has been a leader in aiding communities with its research findings, health initiatives and medical partnerships. Now that you officially have a Science Communications Division, I can help you reach a larger audience, thanks to my multicultural background and bilingual upbringing. 

I’d love to set up a meeting next week to discuss more about what my expertise and background can bring to RED Research. I want to help you help the world through science. Look forward to hearing from you. 

Thank you for your attention.

Best regards,

Esther Lee
555-555-5555
estherlee@gmail.com

How is a letter of intent different from a cover letter?

A letter of intent and a cover letter are documents sent by a job seeker to express their interest in employment at a particular company.

Both the letter of intent and cover letter:

  • Use a cover letter format, which is the standard business letter format.
  • Bring attention to your skills and accomplishments.
  • Present what you can provide to the company.

However, a cover letter is used with a job application. It is added as a complement to your resume, and the content is tailored to a job advertisement. In other words, when you write a cover letter, you fit your career into the job position to be considered by a company.

On the other hand, a letter of intent:

  • Can be sent if there is no job advertisement.
  • It’s for the company in general, not a position.
  • It’s not limited by a job description.
  • May not need a resume or CV.

Letters of intent are a great tool when you have the skills and experience that could help a company succeed, even if they don’t have a position that fits at that precise moment. It also allows you to connect with recruiters and be added to a candidate pool on your own terms.

Let’s say there are two job seekers, both software product managers interested in the healthcare industry. One applies to an open position, the other is expressing interest through a letter of intent.

The cover letter could look like this:

I’m a software product manager with 8 years of experience in consumer-facing products, where I’ve defined the strategy and implementation of the process to achieve an excellent product launch. My experience with Agile and market knowledge have helped shaped my product’s success.

I read about the Product Manager position in AIPMM’s Career Center and I want to officially apply for the position. I’m seeking new challenges, and, as an user of your product, I’d to offer my expertise and skills to take your product to the next level.

This is what a letter of intent could look like:

When the pandemic started, I was concerned about my high-risk sibling, who needs constant doctors appointments to maintain optimum health. With your product, they have been able to continue communicating and attending doctors’ appointments safely. As a software product manager, I was absolutely impressed with your product. But, I could also find a few areas to improve on.

I have 8 years of experience as a software product manager, connecting teams for seamless end-to-end implementation. I love to design the roadmap to product success through creativity and design thinking backed by my healthcare industry knowledge.  I want to join a company with a proven track record that still believes in constant innovation, like yours.

Now, let’s look at how the letter of interest and cover letter compare side by side.

Letter of interestCover letter
Business-letter formatXX
Job-specificX
Company-specificX
Skill set you bring to the tableXX
Career accomplishmentsXX
One-page letterXX
Time-sensitiveX

Realized you need a cover letter instead? Here are a few resources from our cover letter expert that will help you create a cover letter that gets interviews

How to write a letter of intent

With a letter of intent for a job, you must make a powerful statement in a one-page document. In three to four paragraphs, you must tell the recruiter or hiring manager:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • What you can do for them
  • Why you want to work for them

Let’s look at the steps to create a strong with the help of letter of intent sample:

1. Research the company

You’ve set your eyes on a company and want to work for them. Fantastic. What do you know about them? What attracted you to them? What current or past projects excite you? Before you start writing, find the answers to these questions and use them in your letter. This will show recruiters that you took the time to get to know and understand the company.

You can learn about a company from:

  • Social media
  • Their company website
  • By searching the news
  • Job postings
  • LinkedIn profile

2. Pick an eye-catching template and use the right format

A letter of intent is a professional letter, which means it uses a business letter layout. You can use a cover letter template because it follows the same format.

The letter of intent format includes: header, salutation, body paragraphs, closing and signature.

This means you should:

  • Use single spacing in paragraphs, double spacing between paragraphs.
  • Keep the body of the letter left-justified.
  • Use a professional font.

3. Impress from the opening paragraph

Make a good impression from the beginning. Find the name and position of the person you want to address, and use a proper salutation. If their pronouns are unknown, it is acceptable to use both names. You’re trying to make a human connection, which means you should avoid using To Whom It May Concern.

Examples of salutations:

  • Mr. Smith
  • Ms. Ortiz
  • Alex Parker

Now, for your opening paragraph, find an angle and work it. There is a personal  reason you’re interested in this company. Make the human connection to hook them from the start.

For example:

Dear Ms. Patel,

Recently, as I waited to be called for at the dentist, I read in the newspaper that RED Research had opened a Science Communications Division. I could not believe it. The company that inspired my career had created a department meshing my two passions.

4. Wow recruiters with your accomplishments

The second paragraph will highlight your career achievements and skills. A great benefit of the letter of intent is that there is no need to include keywords or box your career into a position’s requirements. You can speak freely about your career, while still catering to the company’s needs.

For example:

Let me tell you about myself. I majored in biology at UCSD and worked in research at Smith Labs for seven years. At Smith, I assisted in research for community diseases in localized areas across the southern states, until a family health care issue came up. I then switched to writing, my second passion, for which I obtained a Certificate in Professional Writing. Since then, I’ve been working on a contract basis with government and marketing agencies, promoting health initiatives and informing the public on major health issues. I am now ready to fully dedicate my time to my two passions: science and writing.

5. Address why you want to work for this company

Now that the employer knows a bit more about you, it’s time to tell them why you want to work for them. You could mention current and past projects or the company’s unmet needs that you noticed while researching. Use this approach to also show what you can provide the company.

Since my time at UCSD, I’ve seen how RED Research, in its outstanding mission to help humanity, has been a leader in aiding communities with its research findings, health initiatives and medical partnerships. Now that you officially have a Science Communications Division, I can help you reach a larger audience, thanks to my multicultural background and bilingual upbringing.

6. Close with a call to action

Time to ask for what you want. Request a meeting or interview to discuss your career and how you can help the company succeed. Be assertive, yet affable. After your closing paragraph, keep the letter of intent format by adding a professional closing and your signature.

I’d love to set up a meeting next week to discuss more about what my expertise and background can bring to RED Research. I want to help you help the world through science. Look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for your attention.

Best regards,

Esther Lee
555-555-5555
estherlee@gmail.com

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Expert take on writing a letter of intent

“Most common mistakes are not doing enough research [about the company] and figuring out what it is that they should be sharing with the party,” says Debra Wheatman, president of Careers Done Write and certified professional career coach with 20 years of experience.

“You have a very limited time to make an impact in these settings, and we need to demonstrate things quickly and clearly,” she says.

To create a powerful and effective letter of intent, the job seeker must convincingly answer three questions. “What is your value proposition? What is [the company’s] problem? How you’re going to solve it? Those are the things you need to share. And how you’re going to solve it comes from what you know about them, and also from the examples in your work that inform that success,” she explains.

Job seekers know that finding their next position is not easy, whether they’re applying through a traditional cover letter or sending a letter of intent.  “It’s not a question of “if”, it’s only a question of “when”. You will get something, and you’ll get the right something. Maintaining positive, maintaining focus, advocating for yourself and absolutely leveraging your network. Those are going to be the things that will work to your advantage,” encourages Wheatman.

Tips to write a letter of intent: 

  • Always customize your letter of intent for the company.
  • Show a glimpse of your personality.
  • Don’t call attention to negatives, like a layoff or bad relationship with your current manager.
  • Express excitement about working for the company.
  • Quantify your accomplishments by adding numbers.
  • Be clear on the value you would provide to the company.
  • Always include a request to meet or continue communication with the recruiter.
  • Connect with the reader on a human level.
  • Follow our letter of intent sample to guide your writing.

Letter of intent important takeaways

  1. Before you start writing, research and learn all you can about the company, using their website, the news and social media.
  2. Create a letter of intent for job prospects without current openings.
  3. Choose an eye-catching template and use a business letter format.
  4. Connect on a human level with the hiring manager on the first paragraph.
  5. Highlight your career accomplishments and skills on the second paragraph.
  6. Finish with a call to action to move forward with a meeting.

Letter of intent FAQ

Is a cover letter the same as a letter of intent?

A cover letter is similar to a letter of intent. However, there are differences between both documents. A cover letter is specific to a particular job. It states the skills you bring to that job and your interest in that position. A letter of intent is used when there are no specific opportunities at a particular company. You bring up your interest in that particular company, and you can speak freely about your career accomplishments.

What’s the difference between a letter of intent and a letter of interest?

A letter of interest is simply another name for letter of intent. They are exactly the same letter. The same way a cover letter and a letter of application are two names for the same thing.

How do I write a letter of intent with no experience?

A letter of intent is a great tool for an applicant with no experience. You can speak about skills you’ve acquired in your education, volunteer work, or, if you have some work experience in other industries, your transferable skills. To grab a recruiter’s attention, you must connect and provide value to the company.

What does a letter of intent look like?

The business letter format is the standard format in professional correspondence. Cover letters, employment letters and offer letters, all follow the standard business letter format. You can choose a template that suits your personality, but the format of the letter will remain the same: single spaced in paragraphs, double space between paragraphs, professional fonts and 1 inch margins.

Do I need to send a letter of intent for a job?

It depends. If you’re applying for a specific job from a job board or company website, you should include a cover letter written for that specific position, using keywords from the job description.

If you’re reaching out to a company that caught your interest, expressing interest to a recruiter, or touching base with a person that could refer you, you need to send a letter of interest.

The letter of intent will showcase your accomplishments and qualifications to work within that company. Instead of making your career fit into a job description mold, you will write about your strengths and accomplishments.  While the letter of intent is not specific, remember that your interests are. Make sure you write for the position you would like to hold. If you need more help, use our guide on how to write a letter of intent.

How to send a letter of intent?

You can send a letter of intent via email. There are two ways to do it.

You can write it, download it and include it as an attachment. Or, you could add the letter to the body of the email — that is the area where you write the message. If you choose this option, you must still follow professional business etiquette and, also, move all your contact information to your signature instead of the header.

Should I include a resume with my letter of intent?

Adding a resume to the letter of intent is optional. If you’re ready to showcase your career to the recruiter, you could write a resume  to match your letter of intent.  Use our professionally designed resume template to create a visually appealing document. If you want to see a finish product, check out our resume examples. Remember that you can count on our resume builder for step-by-step guidance and expert suggestions to create an effective resume.

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