How To Write A Letter Of Intent For A Job (With Examples)

By Heidi Cope - Feb. 10, 2021

Find a Job You Really Want In

You would probably agree that seeing the sentence “please attach a letter of intent with your application” can be a daunting one.

A letter of intent? You mean a cover letter, right?

Nope.

A letter of intent is separate from a cover letter and knowing the difference between the two can help you successfully land the job.

We’ll cover precisely what a letter of intent is, provide tips for writing one, and tie it all together with some sample letters of intent.

What Is a Letter of Intent?

A letter of intent is a document you send a company to state your intentions to work for them. You might have a specific role you’d like, but they’re more often used to express interest in any opportunity that the company has for you.

A letter of intent is more generalized than a cover letter and is often used when applying for a specific company versus a specific job. A well-written letter of intent creates a positive impression on your potential employer.

A letter of intent is sent in addition to your resume and cover letter.

Letter of Intent vs. Cover Letter

You may be utterly confused as to why there have to be two different types of introductory letters for job applications. They seem to be interchangeable at a glance.

So, are they really that different?

The short answer: Yes.

For example, you absolutely love Disney and really want to work for the company, because you value working for the company so much. You don’t particularly care what job you have there, as long as it utilizes your skills and education.

This is a great scenario to apply for a new job with a letter of intent.

A letter of intent is also a good resource to use when applying to companies with generalized applications.

You are not sure which job you may be specifically applying for, but your letter helps the recruiters know what types of jobs you are interested in, and why you would be a good fit for the company.

It is also used to show your interest in working for a specific company if they do not currently have any job offerings listed.

Other uses for a letter of intent rather than a cover letter include job fairs, freelance work, and contract work.

So we’ve gone over why a letter of intent is used, but you are probably still wondering how you will go about writing the actual letter.

Follow the step-by-step guide below to write an effective letter of intent for your favorite company or generalized job position.

How to Write a Letter of Intent for a Job

A letter of intent is used to help put some personality and a human touch to your resume. It allows hiring managers to connect your resume to you as a real potential worker versus just a piece of paper with dates on it.

So even though this may be a more generic version of a cover letter, don’t make it boring.

  1. Start off strong. Make sure to start a letter of intent with a greeting to the correct person.

    Try to avoid using terms like “hiring manager,” “talent acquisition committee,” or the company name. Try to find out who these letters go to and use that name for the greeting.

  2. Write a flawless introduction. Introduce yourself and briefly explain why you are writing.

    If you are writing to simply show an interest in working for the company, explain that in the introduction and the types of jobs you are interested in, but don’t get too specific about the details.

    The more generalized it is, the easier it will be for hiring managers to consider you for different positions that may come up in the company.

  3. Explain why you’re a great match. Next go into detail about how you specifically would be a good match for the company, a work area you are interested in, or if possible, the specific job you are applying for.

    Mention critical skills you are proficient in that are relevant to the position or type of position you are applying for.

    You can use bullet points for this to make it stand out more if you are emailing the company to show your general interest in working there, instead of applying for an established job posting.

  4. The follow-up and conclusion. Explain how you will follow up with them, end with a call to action, or simply write that you’re excited to hear from them soon.

    Then close with a professional closing and a signed name.

Sample Letters of Intent

Ready to see how to put all of this together? Check out the following two examples:

Example 1: Email

Subject: Erin Summers Job Applicant

Dear Mr. Flint,

My name is Erin Summers and I am a motivated recent graduate from the University of Virginia seeking mechanical engineering positions at Six Flags. Growing up in a family that visited a Six Flags park multiple days a year, roller coasters and mechanical fair rides have always been a passion of mine.

I have many of the skills and experience necessary to effectively be an engineer at your company:

  • Summer internship experience at Carowinds Park
  • Double major in mechanical engineering and physics with honors in both degrees
  • Captain of the robotics team at UVA
  • Semester-long internship at Disney World, during which I helped modify older rides to ensure quality and safety of the ride

Thank you for taking the time in reading my email and I look forward to hearing from you soon about opportunities at Six Flags.

Sincerely,

Erin Summers

Example 2: Letter

Erin Summers
120 Main Street.
Charlottesville, VA 24404
555-555-5555
Erin.summers@emailaddress.com

May 4, 2019
Colton Flint
Operations Manager Six Flags
Six Flags Park Office
Town, State Zip Code

Dear Mr. Flint,

I am writing to express my interest in working for Six Flags America. I have completed the general application for Six Flags and am seeking entry-level employment as a mechanical engineer with your company. I have been an avid theme park customer for as long as I can remember, often visiting a Six Flags theme park with my family multiple times each year as a child.

My fascination with roller-coasters and mechanical rides resulted in my perusal and completion of mechanical engineering and physics degrees at the University of Virginia. I would be a great fit for your company because of my experience with the theme park industry. Not only do I have years of experience as a customer, but I also have several technical internship experiences, including a summer working with Carowinds and a semester working with Disney.

Transferable skills from these internships and from working as a captain of the university’s robotics team include project management, team building, and working with diverse populations, as well as project design, testing, and implementation.

In addition to my relevant skills, my enthusiasm for the products and creating a great customer experience would make me a great fit for working at Six Flags. Thank you for taking the time to consider my application and I look forward to discussing my skills and experiences in more detail with you soon.

Best,
Erin Summers

Letter of Intent Tips

When writing your letter of intent, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Format your letter correctly. As far as format goes, letters of intent are identical to cover letters. Use proper business letter format and keep it short — three to four paragraphs and 250 words is the max the most hiring mangers like to see.

  2. Research the company. Before you ever start drafting your letter of intent, you should dig into the company’s culture, values, and mission. If you’re taking a shot in the dark with this letter, you need to drive home how you can be valuable. The best way to come across as valuable is to know what the company values.

  3. Focus on accomplishments. This goes for resumes, cover letters, and interviews as well. Always quantify your achievements when you can. What can you do for this company and how have you demonstrated an ability to do this in the past?

  4. Decide on bullet points or paragraphs. Think about how you want to sell yourself as a job seeker. If you can list four major accomplishments in short bullet points, you’ll grab the recruiters attention quickly.

  5. Talk about why you’re interested in them. That research you did on the company beforehand is good for deciding on a tone and describing your value. But it’s also nice to compliment the company in your letter of intent.

    If you’re so keen on working for them, you should be able to come up with one or two reasons why they stand out as your ideal place to work.

  6. Don’t copy-paste your resume. This goes for cover letters as well. The point of these extra letters is that you can come alive a bit more on the page. A resume is great for checking off qualifications and experience levels, but it doesn’t communicate a lot about what it’s like to work with you.

    Give hiring managers a glimpse of what makes you special as a job seeker. If you’re perfect for the job (or a job), you’re more likely to be called in for an interview.

  7. Make your subject line pop. If you’re sending a cold email, you need the hiring manager or recruiter to open your document to stand any chance at all.

    Ensure that your subject line communicates exactly why you’re writing. “(Job Title) Inquiry” or “(Field) Expert Looking for Opportunities.” Whatever you think gives your letter the best chance of being opened.

Final Thoughts

Not too difficult, right? A letter of intent is the first glimpse the company has of you, so make sure it makes a good impression.

Be wary of grammatical mistakes and superfluous language that makes it read as if you are simply switching out company names in each letter.

Make each letter of intent unique to each job.

Now that you know how to write a letter of intent and know the difference between a letter of intent and a cover letter, you can write yours with confidence.

A well-written, interesting letter of intent will push you in front of many applicants — so get writing.

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Author

Heidi Cope

Heidi Cope is a former writer for the Zippia Career Advice blog. Her writing focused primarily on Zippia's suite of rankings and general career advice. After leaving Zippia, Heidi joined The Mighty as a writer and editor, among other positions. She received her BS from UNC Charlotte in German Studies.

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