In today’s competitive job market, a carefully crafted letter of interest is a powerful tool to stand out from the competition.
In this article, you’ll learn how to write an exceptional letter of interest that will get you noticed, generate interest, and generate positive responses.
What is a letter of interest?
A letter of interest lets a company know that you are interested in working for them in a position that they are not currently or openly hiring for.
It focuses on communicating how your skills could benefit the company so that they keep you in mind when (and if) a specific position becomes available.
Sending a letter of interest is a great way to introduce yourself to a company and it shows that you are willing to take the initiative to contact them proactively.
If done right, this can lead to a chat over coffee 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 lie in their purpose and approach.
It is not written in response to an open opportunity but is intended to create opportunities by putting you on the company’s radar and openly expressing your interest in working with them.
Another significant difference is how the content of each document is written.
A cover letter should be tailored to the requirements of a specific position. This document will convince the employer that you are the best person for this position. On the other hand, letters of interest can be more general in scope.
Although you should highlight specific skills, the main goal is to generate enough interest to start a conversation.
How to write a letter of interest
Your letter of interest should be compelling enough to capture the attention of a busy manager and generate enough interest in you as a professional to elicit a response. Although it may seem intimidating, here’s how to do it in 5 simple steps.
Please note that this structure assumes there is a specific team and role you would like to be considered for.
1. Briefly introduce yourself.
You need to provide context so the recipient understands why you are contacting. Failing to do so is a surefire way to end up in the trash or spam folder.
Here’s something tips for writing your introduction:
- Be concise. You’ll likely be one of thousands of emails in their inbox, so they won’t be particularly inclined to read a meandering introduction.
- Provide context for your letter. The more specific and relevant it is, the better. If you have a mutual contact, have become aware of a recent development, or have simply followed them for a while, this is where you want to highlight it.
- Clearly explain why you are contacting. Finally, you want to explain why you are contacting as clearly and quickly as possible. Don’t dance around the subject; you want to move them to the next section of your letter as soon as possible.
2. Give the hiring manager proof that you understand their problems.
To immediately grab a hiring manager’s attention after your introduction, you need to show that you’ve done your homework and understand the problems they’re currently trying to solve.
A great way to do this is to reference similar experiences in a current or previous job. This helps you establish a connection and show the hiring manager that you can relate to the problem they are tackling.
It also creates a hook that piques interest and entices them to read the rest of the letter.
Note: If you don’t have this information, a careful look at the manager’s responsibilities is one way to figure it out. What tasks are theirs to do? What are the things that move the needle? Which measures are really important?
3. Show them what an outstanding candidate you are.
How do you make a hiring manager aware of the value you could bring to the team? By focusing on the unique strengths, experience and skills that are 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.
This positions you as a candidate who won’t be on the market long and creates a sense of urgency to respond to your letter.
4. Strengthen your skills with figures, relevant examples, etc.
It’s essential to show the hiring manager how you used your skills to solve any problems they might be experiencing now. This is where you need to use numbers that show how your skills have generated results in your previous jobs.
By quantifying your results rather than simply listing your past work experiences, you provide the hiring manager with concrete data that helps them understand the real impact you could have on their team.
5. Confidently ask to take 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 initiate the process if they are interested.
Finally, as an additional tip to improve your chances of getting a response, consider connecting directly with the manager.
The ideal way to achieve this would be through an introduction through mutual connection; however, if that’s not an option, consider connecting with the manager on LinkedIn.
Sample letter of interest
In total, 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.
Hello (recruiting manager’s first name),
I (Insert context of why you decided to contact us). I did (Why do you want to work with them in particular), so I couldn’t miss the opportunity to throw my hat in the ring.
As a (Insert your role) at (The Most Important Companies You’ve Worked For), I know how difficult it is to (Pain Point).
That said, I see you are not currently hiring, but if a position becomes available I would like to be considered. I have (Insert unique skill set/experience 1). Me too (Insert unique skill set/experience 2).
Last (specific time period), at (current or former company), I (list your responsibilities and describe the impact you have had). The (specific time frame) before, at (current or former company), I (list your responsibilities and describe the impact you had).
I would like to bring my skills and experience to the team at (insert company name). I have (shown genuine interest in the company) and it would be a dream come true to one day learn directly from everyone on the team.
I would like to discuss upcoming roles on your team; otherwise, I would appreciate being considered if a position becomes available. My CV 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 about sending letters of interest is that you have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. Rather than waiting for opportunities to present themselves, this powerful tool puts you in the driver’s seat of your career.