How to write a letter of interest (with examples)

A letter of interest is a short, formal introduction of yourself to a potential employer. It’s similar in nature to a cover letter, but not attached to a specific role. Sometimes also known as a prospecting letter or letter of inquiry, you can use this type of letter or email to express interest in working for a particular company.

When you’re in the market for a new job, it can be helpful to network and put feelers out to companies that interest you — even those that aren’t actively hiring. Learning how to write a letter of interest could mean the difference between landing your dream role and settling for just any old job opening.

Why send a letter of interest?

Contrary to popular belief, not every job opening gets plastered all over the internet’s many job posting sites. The concept is often referred to as the “hidden job market” — jobs that are open, but not visible to job-seekers

How do people land these elusive roles? Networking, word of mouth, and letters of interest are all key ways to get a job that isn’t advertised. Some employers may even have the ability to create an entirely new position for the right person, but only if that person presents themselves. 

That’s where a letter of interest comes in handy. A letter of interest shows your passion for the work that they do, lets them know why you’re a standout, and makes them want to hire you — even if they’re not currently hiring.

What to include in your letter of interest

Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to your keyboard) make sure you do plenty of research into the company. Learn what they’re all about, how they operate, what their mission is, and where you might fit into their team and overarching goals. In your letter, mention how you found them and what you like about what you know so far. 

Using your research to guide you, your letter should address why you see yourself as a good fit for their company. How can you use your specific skills and experience for them? Show enthusiasm about what they do and how you can help their business succeed.

You’ll also want to mention what type of job you’re looking for. However, it’s important not to focus too much on what you want from the company, and rather highlight what you can do for them. 

How long should a letter of interest be?

Your letter of interest should be no more than a few paragraphs long. Don’t dwell too much on details or use a lot of flowery language. Think of this letter more in terms of an introduction than a detailed resume or cover letter

Sell yourself, but do your best to get your point across in the quickest and efficient way possible. Most employers don’t have a ton of extra time on their hands — especially those who aren’t actively recruiting for open roles.

Who is a letter of interest addressed to?

Letters of interest are usually addressed to the company’s hiring manager, designated recruiter, or the head of a specific department. In the case of some small businesses or startups, you may even address your letter to the owner of a business. This will really depend on what industry you’re in and what type of role you’re seeking.

How to format a letter of interest

When it comes to formatting, a letter of interest is, again, similar to a cover letter. The details will vary, but you can generally use the following format for a letter of interest:

  • Greeting: Politely greet the hiring manager, recruiter, or department head by name. 
  • Introduction: Introduce yourself, why you are writing, and why you want to work for them.
  • Body paragraph: Explain your education, skills, experience and what you can bring to the table.
  • Conclusion: Thank the reader for their time and end with a call to action that asks for a specific reply.
  • Signature: Sign off with a respectful closing and your full name. 

The specifics of your letter will depend heavily on where you’re at in your career path, what industry you’re in, and what your experience looks like, but you should aim to keep your letter of interest to less than a page in length.

Since most employers lean hard on digital communication, you can absolutely send your letter by email — it’s likely to get you a faster response. Mailing your letter is also appropriate and if you do decide to send a formal letter, you can always follow up with an email.

Whether you mail your letter or send an email, be sure to also include current contact information so that the company can reach you if they’re interested in speaking further about potential opportunities. 

What if you don’t know what to write?

It can be helpful to get a feel for what the company is like on their social media pages and mirror the style of your letter after it. Do they put off a very formal presence online or do they have more of a laid-back, conversational vibe? 

You’ll want to keep things businesslike either way, but this can give you an idea of which direction to take the language and tone of your letter. 

Still feeling stuck? Take a look at the following letter of interest examples for inspiration. Whether you’re seeking a management role, are a recent graduate, are going through a career change, or are seeking a remote role, these letters can give you some ideas to draw from.

Letter of interest example for a management role - Ladders News
Letter of Interest example for a recent graduate - Ladders News
Letter of interest example for a remote role - Ladders News
Letter of interest example for a career change - Ladders News