You prepare a cover letter when responding to a specific job opening. You write a letter of intent if you are interested in working for a company or in a certain career field but are unsure if the company has open positions. It’s easy to confuse a cover letter with a letter of intent. For example, if an employer says to submit a letter of intent in response to a posted job opening, you should send a cover letter instead. Before you write a letter of intent, decide which employer you want to work for and the career field you want to enter.
Purpose of the Letter
State the purpose of your letter and how you discovered the employer in the first paragraph. Then give a general idea of your career goals and how it relates to the employer’s industry. For example, you might write that you read about the company’s recent partnership with a major wholesaler in a trade publication. Then say that you are interested in working in the wholesale industry and would be appreciate the chance to learn more about the company and possible job openings.
Qualifications and Skills
In the second paragraph, write how your contributions might benefit the company. You could say that with five years of experience as an inside sales representative, with an emphasis on upselling and cross-selling, you are interested in helping the company boost its sales. State your past accomplishments by giving examples, such as percentage or dollar figures or the results of specific achievements. Mention one or two essential skills relevant to the employer’s industry, such as software or legal knowledge. If you recently graduated from college, write the name of the school you attended and your degree. If you do not have any paid work experience, mention and training program you participated in, along with internships, volunteer activities, and community work.
Reiterating Your Objectives
Explain how working for the employer ties into your career objectives in the final paragraph. You might say that your research revealed that the company strongly supports advanced training and professional development. Say that you admire the company’s stance on career growth and hope to join its team of dedicated professionals in the near future. Write that your resume, which includes more details on your qualifications and skills, is enclosed. State when you will call to discuss possible job opportunities, and include your phone number and email address for the reader to contact you if necessary in the meantime. Thank her for considering your request, and then close the letter.
Spend some time researching the name of the person who makes the hiring decisions at the company so the letter reaches the right person. Find out his preferred delivery method, such as email or snail mail, and send the letter and your resume via that format. If you are not sure which career field you want to pursue or whether you have the skills and knowledge to obtain a certain position, try to set up an informational interview with an expert in your field. This professional can give you inside knowledge on what it is like to work in his industry and how to enter it. Once you are certain about your career path, find a prospective employer in your industry, and then send your letter of intent.
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