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What is a Letter of Interest?

By Matthew F.
Updated May 16, 2024
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In most cases, a letter of interest is a letter written by a potential employee to indicate interest in a job or open position. It can be hand-written or typed, delivered through postal mail, e-mail, interoffice memo, or fax. The letter can be sent in response to a posted job opening, or it can be a query about a job that is not yet available. It is used to introduce the sender, state his or her qualifications and intentions, and usually accompanies a resume and examples of work when applicable. Some people may also call it a prospecting letter, inquiry letter, or interest letter.

Like a postal letter sent to a business associate, a letter of interest usually includes the sender's name, mailing address, city, state, zip code, phone number, and e-mail address. These are usually followed by a date, and then the information of the person receiving the letter, including the name, job title, company, and address of the company. The letter is then addressed as a typical business letter, usually with a Dear Mr. or Dear Ms.

The body of the letter should include information on why the applicant is interested in the company. It should also explain how the company could benefit from having him or her as an employee, and what skills and assets he or she could bring to the company. The letter should include brief details about any relevant job experience and comment on how that experience relates to the position being sought.

A variety of formats and characters can be used in the letter. It can be loose, laid back, and filled with confidence, including humor and personality, and give the employer a look into what kind of person is writing. These letters can be appropriate for some jobs and some employers, but others may dismiss them as unprofessional.

On the other hand, many letters of interest are written as strict business letters: no nonsense and straight to the point. This type of letter often conveys the necessary points the best. It may not stand out with an employer looking for a potential employee with something to set him apart from the field, however.

In many cases, a letter of interest is ended with a phrase similar to the following: "Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you." These last sentences are used to thank the employer for considering the writer's interest, and to let him know that the applicant expects and is eager to hear from the company about an interview or other kind of follow-up. This is usually followed by a sign-off, a signature, and the typed name.

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Discussion Comments
By Daniel87 — On Jul 07, 2010

@ DocZ, you should be able to send your letter of intent at any time, however it may not get much attention if the employer is not actively hiring. When sending it be sure it is memorable and makes you look like someone they will want to hire.

Also, make sure you are sending it to the person who will actually be hiring you, and not just the HR department. The follow up call is also important. If you want the job, I think it is worth trying for it. If you don’t get the job you can look at it as practice for the next job search. Good luck!

By DocZ — On Aug 14, 2009

When is it OK to send a letter of interest? I'm always uncertain if sending such a letter to a company that hasn't advertised a job is worth the effort. They always say that they keep that kind of thing on file, but are those files ever looked at again?

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