How to Write a Letter of Intent (With Examples and Writing Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 August 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A letter of intent is a general overview of your industry-specific skills and experience. It gives the employer an idea of the reasons you want to work with them. In this article, we define a letter of intent, when you should use it and what your letter should contain. We also provide an example letter with tips on best practices when writing a letter of intent.

What is a letter of intent?

A letter of intent is an introductory letter to the employer that you want to work for. Typically, you would send a letter of intent to hiring managers or recruiters at a company that has not yet posted jobs relevant to your background. Although similar to a cover letter, a letter of intent provides less detail related to a specific job. Instead, when you write a letter of intent, it expresses your interest in working at an organisation, the reasons why you are interested and what skills and experiences you have that the employer might find valuable.

When to use a letter of intent

You should send a letter of intent when you want to show an employer you're interested in working at their company, even if there are no job openings listed. A letter of intent is appropriate when:

  • You are submitting resumes to employers at a job fair or other industry-specific employment event.

  • You are researching companies and find an employer who you believe fits your interests and career goals.

  • You have heard or someone has told you that an employer is looking to hire, even if there are no jobs posted.

  • The employer has jobs posted for other positions but also employs workers in your area of expertise or with your skills and experience.

A letter of intent makes it easier to submit your resume to an employer even when there are no specific jobs in your specialty. This provides the employer with an opportunity to see your values and interest in their company and might encourage the employer to assess whether the company has a need or role you can fill.

How to write a letter of intent for a job

While your letter of intent should be unique to your own set of skills, experiences and qualities, there are five main steps you should take to write your letter:

  1. Start with a greeting or salutation

  2. Introduce yourself in the first paragraph

  3. Add details about your skills and experience in the body

  4. Include a call-to-action

  5. Close the letter

1. Start with a greeting or salutation

The greeting or salutation should be professional and follow formal greeting formats. For example, you can use standard greetings, such as “To Whom It May Concern”, or direct the letter to a specific individual within the company. While you might be able to find human resources personnel to address your letter online, if you are not sure, choose a more general greeting like “Dear Sir or Madam'. The letter of intent should provide a positive and professional first impression that might lead to hiring opportunities.

2. Introduce yourself in the first paragraph

Use the first few sentences of the letter to introduce formally yourself. This section should include your name, a brief explanation of your current experience level and your reason for writing.

For example, if you are a recent graduate, include information about your degree and areas of study. If you are currently employed and seeking work at another company, include your job title and why you are interested in the company you are reaching out to.

Frame your letter in a positive way. If you are interested in switching employers because of bad experiences with your current job, it would be better to omit these details. Instead, state why you are interested in the company or other positive reasons such as career advancement or the opportunity to pursue a different role.

3. Add details about your skills and experience in the body

Use the body of your letter to describe your skills and experiences. This is a good opportunity to provide more details about why you would be a valuable addition to the company in one or two paragraphs.

Include specific examples of when you achieved a goal or contributed to an organisation's success in some way. Quantify your achievements with numbers where possible. When expressing interest in an employer, you should provide emphasis on how your skills and experiences align with the employer's vision and needs.

4. Include a call-to-action

The call-to-action is your final paragraph where you explain what you want the employer to do as a result of your letter. For example, you might use this space to thank the employer for taking the time to read your letter and to contact you about potential job opportunities. You might also include your contact information in this section or after your signature.

5. Close the letter

The closing should be a standard business letter sign off. For example, you might close with “Sincerely” or simply “Thank you”. These letter closings are acceptable in virtually any instance.

Example letter of intent

Below is an example letter of intent using the best practices as described. Use this sample as a starting point for your letter of intent:

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Kee Smith. I am a recent college graduate from the University of Sydney with a B.A. in Journalism. I have a truly impressive portfolio of work and an honourable mission to write for all people. Digital Scribes Press is an industry leader that shares my passion for catering to audiences of every background. Please consider my request for employment on your writing team.

During my time at the University of Sydney, I studied different aspects of journalism and copywriting, including APA-style editing, long and short-form web content, editorial writing and human interest writing. I also took courses on content marketing, including search engine optimisation and search engine marketing. I completed all coursework with a 3.85 GPA. During my time as an undergraduate, I also worked as a staff writer for the University of Sydney student newspaper and interned with several local newspapers as a copywriter. In my free time, I earned an income as a freelance writer for several blogs.

As Digital Scribes Press focuses heavily on high-quality web content, I believe my skills and experience would make me a valuable part of the team. Should Digital Scribes Press be in the market for new copywriters, please consider me for any entry-level writing positions that become available. I am also including my resume, which has more details regarding my skills, experiences and interests.

Thank you for your time,

Kee Smith

Letter of intent tips

There is no one way to write your letter of intent. However, there a few best practices to follow if you want to boost your potential in the letter:

  • Follow a professional business letter format if you send a physical copy of the letter. This means you should include your name, email and job title at the top.

  • If you send the letter by email, include your contact information in your signature under your first and last name.

  • Speak positively of your current or past employers, and focus on yourself and the potential employer.

  • If you are seeking career advancement opportunities, you must include the level of job you want using exact language, such as “senior-level positions” or “management”.

  • Save mentioning your desired salary range for a discussion with the recruiter or following a successful interview. Remember that the letter of intent is hopefully the first step in a longer conversation with your future employer.

  • Mention a friend or colleague who also works at the company as a reference. Tell the person that you have included their name in your letter.

  • Use active language when you describe your skills and experiences, such as “strong communicator” or “experienced writer.”

  • Keep your skills and experiences relevant to the employer. Refer back to similar job descriptions for skills the employer might be looking for. You can include soft skills that work across all industries if you demonstrate why they would be useful to the position. Having empathy and a caring nature is relevant to a care worker, but not so much to a computer salesperson.

  • Keep your letter of intent short and to the point. The idea is to interest the employer so they consider your interest more thoroughly. It is not necessary to include every detail of your work experience or education.

  • Proofread and edit your letter before sending the final copy. This is an essential step because you want to look professional and capable. The focus should be on the content of the letter, not on any typos or glaring grammatical errors.

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