This article contains information on the steps on how to write a letter of intent.
Before I graduated from the University, I ensured that I got familiar with every form of letter that employees would possibly be required to write in the course of applying for a job. I was so certain that I knew it all, not until I came across an attractive job advert that required submission of a letter of intent. That was my first time of ever seeing such. To me, I felt it was the same as a cover letter but upon making enquiries I discovered it was quite different from a cover letter. Out of fear of not wanting to mess things up, I contracted a senior friend to write the letter.
You might be wondering why I didn’t write the letter myself. Well, the reason was because I didn’t have access to enough information. My experience is the reason why I’m taking time to write this article in order to arm with adequate information just so you do not get overwhelmed whenever you come across such requirements on any job advert
So, what exactly is a letter of intent and how does it differ from a cover letter?
Letter of intent otherwise known as a letter of interest is a letter written to an organization stating your intentions to work for them. They are a means of introducing yourself to potential employers and as well convincing them to read your resume.
Sometimes, an intent letter is used when there’s not a specific job that a candidate is interested in applying for. A good letter of intent will spell out your key skills and accomplishments, and explain why you are a great fit for the company to which you are applying.
Letters of intent and cover letters are very similar but are never the same. Both will introduce you as a job candidate. Also, you’re required to outline your unique skills in both.
When it comes to the difference, a cover letter is used to enhance your application for an advertised job listing, and the content is basically in line with how your skills can be applied to the specific requirements of the job while a letter of intent is aimed at communicating your general interest to work for or with a company. They both help you to open a line of communication with potential employers.
Sometimes, many job candidates grumble as to why a letter of intent is demanded instead of a cover letter. Well, companies ask for a letter of intent when they are not sure of the qualified a person they require filling up a given position
Other times, a hiring manager may want to widen their candidate pool, so they’re looking for anyone and everyone who shows an eagerness and passion for the company.
So, from a candidate perspective, if you’re asked to submit a letter of intent, that may mean that the company is new, that they’re trying to source talent in a different way.
STEPS AND THE COMPONENT NEEDED TO WRITE A LETTER OF INTENT
Therefore, in order to write a letter of intent, below are the major components of intent letter:
- Greeting or salutation
- Call to action
Like every other official letter, you should always write your letter of intent in a formal business way. Therefore, you should address your letter to a specific person, using the salutation ‘Dear Jane’
If you do not have a specific name to address, you need to undertake your own research to find one. There are several ways you can go about finding out the name of your recipient. You can either go to the company’s ‘Contact’ page on its website and locate a list of the company’s employees and their contact details or you check the company’s LinkedIn page for connected employees and find the person with the most relevant job title.
Another way is to call the company and find out whom your letter of intent and resume should be addressed to.
If after going through these processes and there’s no information then you can use “Dear hiring manager” instead of the archaic way of “To Whom It May Concern”
However, avoid being too familiar or informal with your greeting. “Hey” or including only the addressee’s first name should be avoided. The letter of intent is designed to provide a positive and professional first impression that might lead to hiring opportunities.
After the salutation, the first paragraph of your letter should be used to introduce yourself. Use the first one or two sentences of your letter to formally introduce yourself. This section should include your name, a brief explanation of your current experience level and above all, your reason for writing.
When giving your reasons for writing, you do not want to explain that you’re interested in switching employers because of bad experiences with your current employer. It sends a bad signal about you. To be on a safer side, simply state why you are interested in the company or other positive reasons which can be career related.
Dear Simon Carl
I am writing to express my interest in a position within your graphics team. I am a graphic designer with seven years’ experience. I believe my skills will make me a valuable addition to your team.’
Use the body of your letter to elaborate on your skills and experiences. This is a very important part of this letter. Therefore, you should dedicate most part of your letter to describe what makes you a perfect fit, and how you can apply your skills and experience for the benefit of the company.
Due to letters of intent being more in-depth than cover letters, it is required that you mention a relevant skill that you are good at. You can even include your hobbies, as long as they help to illustrate useful skills.
Just before you get confused about the information to include in this part, here is a list of things you could mention:
- Your educational history which includes your bachelor’s degree and your grade.
- Soft skills such as good communication, time management, attention to details, as well as your technical skills such as computer skills, analytical skills, etc.
Crowding your skills in the letter may not work the magic. Hence, back up your skills with your accomplishments. If you have ever volunteered before, include it.
I have excellent communication skills which I developed over time while working with a Telecom company. Part of my roles involved staffing the office’s service desk and. Advantage jovial person; I received recognition from my colleagues for my ability to handle inquiries efficiently and confidently with putting up a gloomy face.
Explain How Your Skills Will Make You a Great
The trickiest part of writing a letter of intent is demonstrating how the company can benefit from your numerous skills. In the case of a cover letter, you will usually have a job description to which you can link your skills. When it comes to a letter of intent, you have no such privilege since it’s a cold approach.
However, to be on a safer side, you can easily find out what the company stands for, the goals and mission should give you a clue on what they are looking for. Having gotten this information, you should provide emphasis on how your skills and experiences align with the company’s vision and needs.
This is your final paragraph where you explain what you want the employer to do as a result of your letter. End your letter with a reason for them to contact you. Let the call to action be polite and open ended, suggesting that you are excited to offer more information and that you’re looking forward to talking with them.
For Instance, you might use this avenue to thank the employer for taking the time to read your letter and to contact you about potential job opportunities.
The closing should be a standard business letter sign-off format. You can simply close with “Sincerely,” or “Thank you.” Just like the introduction, it’s best to avoid being informal, so avoid sign-offs such as “Cheers” or “Yours truly.”
Again, before you end your letter of intent, you should request the employer contacts. You might also include your contact information in this section after your signature. Make sure you provide your email address and Sign off formally using your full name, not a nickname.
Other Things to Remember
Your letter must be direct and straight to the point
With the job market flooded with capable candidates, employers’ attention spans for each individual application are growing shorter. Bearing this in mind, avoid irrelevant details, try to keep your letter to one page. Your sentences and paragraphs should be short too.
Use bullet points to list your skills and relevant experience. It makes it easier and less boring to read.
In addition to the many things you should include in your letter of intent, here are some things you should avoid:
- A long list of skills without any evidence. Always provide examples of past experience and accomplishments.
- No matter which stage of the recruitment process you are at, it is always a bad idea to be negative about your previous employer.
- Now is not the time to talk about why you left your job, your focus should be on your desire to work for this particular company.
A letter of intent gives you the opportunity to highlight your key skills and achievements, and to demonstrate what makes you the perfect addition to the company. Think of your letter of intent as your initial sales pitch, rather than providing a comprehensive breakdown of your work history.
Letter Of Intent Example
Here’s a sample letter of intent for job applications, to help you begin drafting yours without stress. The structure will be similar for whatever industry your letter is geared towards.
Film Company Ltd
Dear Mrs Anderson,
My name is Oparah Chioma, I am writing to inquire about the possibility of vacancies in Andy’s Ltd’s graphic team. I am a graduate of Cinematography.
I learned about your company through a senior colleague. Apart from my colleague, your designs were used as a case study in my character design class. I am creative and dedicated to storytelling through digital art mediums. My love for creativity inspired me to enroll for graphics training a year after my graduation from the University. This was recognized last year when I came first in the global youths graphics and animation competition with my film, ‘The mirror’ having the highest votes in the best animation category.
I value teamwork and collaboration. I am the founder of my Smarts designers club, an association for zealous graphic designers in my alma mater. Our activities include brainstorming ideas, drawing storyboards and then working as a team to create short films and beautiful designs. We publish our work to our YouTube channel, where we have 19,000 subscribers.
I have established technical skills in specialized animation software programs. I also have top-notch attention to detail, which helps me create flawless designs. I believe these skills and my passion for storytelling through animation and graphics would be of value to your esteemed company.
I have attached my resume for your consideration and samples of my work can be viewed at the website with the attached link. If you would like to discuss my credentials further, please do not hesitate to contact me on +23481****** or [email protected]
I look forward to hearing from you.
This article has shown you not only the important things you need to know about intent letters but also how to draft your own letter of intent. To summarize, the key points covered include:
- Understanding the difference between a cover letter and a letter of intent
- Write your letter in business English and always address your letter of intent to a specific person if possible. The article has also made it possible for you to find out the right person to address you letter to
- Outline your key skills and accomplishments. However, don’t list skills without backing them up with specific experiences and as much as try to relate your skills to the company’s goals and objectives. This is why it’s important to research the company thoroughly before starting your letter.
- Keep your letter very concise. One page preferably.
- Don’t mention why you left your previous job, it is a bad idea.
- Ask the employer to contact you at the end of your letter. This is why call to action is a very important part of the letter.
Having known the difference between a cover letter and a letter of intent, make no mistakes about the two. So, when next you come across a job advert requesting for a letter of intent, you shouldn’t have any cause for fear. All you need to do is to practice what you have read in this article and keep your fingers crossed.
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