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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?
A letter of intent is separate from a cover letter, and knowing the difference between the two can help you successfully land the job.
You may be asking yourself:
So what exactly is a letter of intent?
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. It is used to show your interest in working for the company and to create a positive impression on your potential employer. A letter of intent is sent in addition to your resume and cover letter.
Cover letters are hard enough — are letters of intent difficult to write? How important are they in the application process?
How do I even begin?
In many ways, letters of intent are similar to cover letters, but they are more generalized, and because of that, you will likely find them a lot easier to write than a cover letter.
In this article, we will explain how letters of intent are unique and walk you through the step-by-step process of writing the perfect letter of intent for your next job application.
Are you ready?
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 on job applications.
So, are they really that different?
The short answer: Yes.
A letter of intent is much like a cover letter — You are letting the company know that you are interested in the position and giving a brief overview of why you would be good for the position.
While a cover letter is for a specific job or position, a letter of intent is for a specific company, regardless of the job or position.
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.
How to do this?
Apply with a letter of intent.
A letter of intent is 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? 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.
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.
Step 1: How to Begin a Letter of Intent.
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.
Step 2: Write a Flawless Introduction.
Introduce yourself and why you are writing to the person in the introduction.
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.
Step 3: Proposal Stage: Why Are You Such 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, versus applying for an established job posting.
Step 4: The Follow Up and Conclusion.
Explain how you will follow up with them or end by writing that you are excited to hear from them soon.
Then close with a professional closing and a signed name.
Ready to see how to put all of this together? Check out the following two examples:
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.
120 Main Street.
Charlottesville, VA 24404
May 4, 2019
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.
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, write them with confidence.
A confident, well-written, and interesting letter of intent will push you in front of many applicants — so get writing.
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