How to Write a Letter of Interest in a Job Search: 10 Tips

letter of interest, also known as a prospecting letter or inquiry letter, is a special kind of cover letter. Though the term is sometimes used interchangeably with cover letter, the letter of interest refers more specifically to an unsolicited letter in which you tell about your professional background, achievements, and abilities and express interest in learning more about or in working for a particular company in a particular position.

Letters of interest can be an effective tool in helping you find a job, but, like all business correspondence, they must be done well in order to be successful. One way you can help ensure success is to do your homework. Before writing your letter of interest, find out as much as possible about the company to which you are writing your letter. Identify their mission and goals, and become familiar with the products or services they offer. Then, weave your knowledge of that information into your letter.

Tips for Writing Your Letter of Interest

1. Address the prospecting letter to a specific person. If you are serious about your job search, you will make the effort to call the company and find out to whom you should direct your inquiry letter.

2. Send an original, signed letter to each company, not just a photocopy. If you are sending out several letters at one time, use your word processor's mail merge feature to insert the unique address and salutation for each recipient. As much as possible, tailor each letter to the company to which you are sending it. After customizing each letter as much as possible and then printing the letters, be sure to sign each one in your closing.

3. Maintain a professional tone in your letter. Moreover, keep your letter focused on your professional accomplishments and skills and on what you can bring to the company. Leave out personal information such as hobbies or other interests, marital status, and the like.

4. In your letter of interest, you will generally want to make reference to your resume, and then you should send the resume with your letter of interest. When referring to your resume, you might say, for example, "As you can see from my enclosed resume . . ."

5. Your letter of interest and resume should each have enough information to be able to stand alone as independent documents. That being said, your resume should not be merely a reconstruction of your cover letter. Though it is fine to repeat some of the main information, the letter of interest is an excellent place to expound on your work experience in a way that you can not easily do in the resume because of space constraints.
6. In addition to your resume, refer readers to your enclosed reference page and to any other enclosed documents (such as  letters of recommendation).
7. As with any piece of business correspondence, make sure to edit and then do a final proofread of your letter before sending it in order to catch errors or typos. Then ask someone else to read it for you, such as a colleague, friend or family member, or professional writer or editor.
8. Keep your letter to one single-spaced, 8 x 11 inch page.
9. After you send the letter, make sure you follow up. Doing so will greatly increase your likelihood of finding employment.
10. If the company accepts e-mail or other electronic submissions of cover letters and resumes, use that method, but consider sending a hard copy, as well. Doing so might help you stand out from other applicants and be remembered.

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