How to Write a Letter of Intent for Employment
A Letter of Intent for a job (or for employment) is also referred to as a cover letter. It is a one page letter that gets submitted with a resume. The purpose is to introduce yourself to a prospective employer and let them know why you are the right candidate for their open position. A letter of intent for a job should include;
1) how you heard about the open position (was it an advertisement or was it a friend that works for the company?),
2) your qualifications relevant to the position- read the job description and integrate your skills and abilities with the requirements of the job, and
3) answer any questions the potential employer may have asked in their advertisement (if applicable).
The following is a guide to help with writing your Letter of Intent.
- Ensure a Professional Format – The letter is a professional document and should follow standard business letter formatting. At the top left, and working down the page, it should start with your information, the person the letter is addressed to, their title, their business address, the date, and then the body. The letter should be 12 point font and it should be Times New Roman (other fonts may look “cool” and be creative, but this is not an area that you want to experiment with to make yourself stand out!). If you do want to make yourself stand out, print your letter and resume on resume paper (it’s more expensive than “normal” paper and it has a good texture). Take a few days to write the letter; write it, proof read, and then finalize. Additionally, it should be no longer than 1 page and be sure to save a copy in the event they don’t receive it, or if you need to modify it for other positions you are seeking in the future.
- Be Specific – Find out who actually reads the letter and address it to the right person. This says a lot about your character and this extra effort shows you pay attention to detail and are able to put forth a little extra effort. Additionally, if you don’t address it to a specific person, the person that should be reading it may never receive it. Search the Internet or call the company to find out who the letter should be addressed to (get the correct spelling of their name and their address at the company); is it the head of Human Resources, a departmental manager, etc.
- Provide an Introduction – In the first paragraph you want to let them know how you found out about the position. If a friend referred you, let them know as this could help you get your foot in the door. Some companies specifically hire referrals. Next, tell them a little about yourself, but keep it focused and make sure the information is relevant. Let the reader know about your schooling, organizations you are affiliated with or any related training you may have had. If you participated in an organization for 3 years, add that as well. It shows that you possess the ability to be committed to your pursuits and that you are reliable.
- Show Enthusiasm – The next 2 or 3 paragraphs should express your enthusiasm for the position, but don’t overdo it; be sincere. Let them know why you want to be a part of their company and provide them with relevant accomplishments that will illustrate your ability to succeed. When addressing your accomplishments, it is okay to list them in bullet format, but be specific and don’t over embellish. Additionally, integrate your abilities with what they are looking for and let them know they are compatible. For example you might write something like the following; “While pursuing my degree I greatly enjoyed and excelled in my accounting studies and your company (rather than stating your company, say Proctor & Gamble) offers tremendous potential that I believe will not only challenge me, but will facilitate great opportunities for growth within your organization.”
- Closure – Let the reader know you look forward to an interview and provide a phone number and email address that you can be reached at. If you provide an email address, make sure it is PROFESSIONAL! Don’t give them an email address that is WillWork4Beer@email.com! Let them know you appreciate their consideration and conclude the letter with either “Thank you” or “Sincerely.”
Letter of Intent Template
Your Street Address
Your City, State Zip Code
Recipient Name, Their Title
Street Address of Company
City, State Zip Code of Company
Month Day, Year
Dear [Mr. or Ms. John Doe]:*
Here you will state how you heard about the open position (advertisement, friend, etc.).
Here you will provide background information about yourself and outline, or bullet, some of the accomplishments you have achieved that are relevant to the position.
In this section write why you are a good choice and what you have to bring to the table. Mention why the position is conducive to your abilities and what motivates you about the position. Enthusiasm goes a long way, but don’t overdo it.
Here put where they can reach you at (phone number and email) and let them know you look forward to the opportunity to interview.
**Note: A colon is important here. A comma should only be used for friends and acquaintances.