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Letter of Interest vs Cover Letter

letter of interest vs cover letter

Are you trying to find the best way to secure the job of your dreams?

Contacting potential employers can be tricky, and it is important to get the tone just right. In addition to introducing yourself, you are trying to convince the person that you are right for the job.

The two main ways of doing this are with a letter of interest or a cover letter. While they are similar, each of these documents features a particular style and is used in different circumstances.

So, let’s compare a letter of interest vs cover letter and explore the best times to use each one.

letter of interest vs cover letters

The Letter Of Interest

Also known as a letter of intent, this is a document you send when you are interested in working for a particular company. Although a suitable job has not been posted, there is a chance that a role may become available. You can write a letter of interest to introduce yourself to the hiring manager and hopefully arrange a meeting. If a position does become available, you will automatically be considered for the role if you are the right fit.

the letter of interest vs cover letter

The Cover Letter

This document is a personalized introduction that you send along with your resume. This document is sent when you are applying for a position that has been advertised. It is a brief summary of your skills and suitability for the role that makes hiring managers want to read your resume.

Read more: Do I Need A Cover Letter?

The Differences

On the face of things, cover letters and letters of interest can seem very similar. However, there are a few important differences that you need to be aware of when selecting the right format. Here are the key differences between a letter of interest and a cover letter.

A letter of interest is for jobs that are not advertised

If you have your sights set on working for a particular company, there may not be an advertised position. However, it is still worth reaching out if you believe you would be the right fit for the company. The letter of interest gives you the chance to show the hiring manager what you have to offer.

A cover letter refers to the advertised job in the first paragraph

The cover letter is targeted at winning a particular job vacancy. You need to mention the job you are applying for and why you are the perfect person for that role.

letter of interest vs cover letters

Letters of interest are shorter and punchier

Because there is no hiring content in a letter of interest, it should be shorter and punchier. While a cover letter can be up to five paragraphs long, letters of interest should be a maximum of three. This is ultimately unsolicited communication, so it is important to stick to the point.

Letters of interest require more research

A letter of interest aims to prove that you are the perfect person for the company and potential job. To do this, you need to know a lot about the company, its culture, and its key values. You also need to find the contact details of the most appropriate person to send your letter of interest to.

The timing of the letter

You can send a letter of interest at any time to show your interest in working for a company. However, a cover letter is only sent when an open position has been advertised. There is usually a deadline for advertised positions, and it is best to send your documents as soon as possible.

The purpose of the letter

With a letter of interest, you are generally interested in working for the company and could fill several roles. However, a cover letter is targeted at a specific role. While both documents are designed to show your suitability, your intention in writing is slightly different.

The Content

The content of a cover letter should be very focused on the role that has been advertised. However, the content of a letter of interest can be more general. The main aim is to show that you would be a valuable asset to the company.

How to Choose Between a Letter of Interest or a Cover Letter?

No matter what type of professional document you choose to send, it is important to select the right format. However, the format of a letter of interest and a cover letter will be slightly different. Therefore, it is essential to understand which document you need to create and choose the correct format.

With your letter of interest, it is essential to capture the interest of the reader. It is important to make this document as dynamic and short as possible. Here are some times when you could write a letter of interest.

  • You are very interested in working for the company.
  • You are an expert in the industry.
  • You have inside information that a position will become available.
  • You are drawn to the company culture, mission statement, or location.

A cover letter is always sent along with a resume and is a direct response to a job posting. You need to refer to the advertised job title as well as the necessary skills and experience. Here are some times when you should write a cover letter.

  • You are submitting a resume.
  • You are responding to a public job posting.
  • You are applying for an internal position.

How To Write A Letter Of Interest?

It is important to craft this type of communication carefully. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself to a potential employer and show them why you are perfect for their company. If written well, your letter of interest could secure you an interview, which could lead to your dream job. Here are some tips for writing a strong letter of interest.

Do your research

Your letter of interest aims to show the hiring manager that you are the right fit for the company. Therefore, you need to know as much about the company as possible. Find out if you have any contacts working at the company and get inside information from them. Your contact may also be willing to make an introduction or recommendation.

Choose the right format

Make sure your letter of interest is presented professionally using a business letter format. You need to include a formal heading, a greeting, a closing phrase, and your electronic signature. Your contact information needs to be clear and easy to find, while the letter should be concise.

letters of interest vs cover letters

Introduce yourself

Start with one of two sentences that introduce yourself. This should include your name and a summary of your background.

Explain why you are writing

Make it clear why you are interested in working for that company in particular. This could include the elements that make the company particularly attractive to you. It is a great way of complimenting the hiring manager while also showing you have done your research.

Outline how you would fit into the company

By the end of your letter of interest, the receiver should be convinced that you would be a valuable asset. You need to briefly outline some of your core skills and experience that are particularly desirable. To do this, you need to know a lot about the company and how it operates.

Request an informational interview

The main goal of your letter of interest is to secure a meeting with the hiring manager. Make this clear at the end of your cover letter to make your intention unmistakable. Even if a job is not available when you send your letter of interest, a successful meeting could help.

How To Write A Cover Letter?

It is important to take extra care when creating your cover letter. Because you are applying for an advertised post, the recruiter will receive a large number of applications. Here are some ways to make sure your cover letter impresses recruiters and stands out from the crowd.

Introduce yourself

Start with a brief overview of your background and who you are. You also need to refer to the position you are applying for in the first paragraph.

Explain why you are the perfect fit for the job

Refer to the company’s mission statement, recent accomplishments, and the company culture. Highlight elements of your interests and background that perfectly match these aspects.

Present examples of past accomplishments

Provide examples of work experience that match the job requirements. Briefly highlight your relevant skills and expertise.

Encourage the reader to check out your resume

The main objective of a cover letter is to get the hiring manager to read your resume. Directly refer to your resume in the cover letter in a natural way. End the cover letter with a call to action that inspires the reader to arrange an interview.

How To Perfect Your Resume Even Further!

Your CV is your calling card and usually what recruiters see before even meeting you. So, let’s help you stand out from the crowd with the DIY Résumé and Cover Letter Kit: Everything You Need to Create Your Own Professional-Quality Résume and The Resume and Cover Letter Phrase Book: What to Write to Get the Job That’s Right, and finally Resume 101: -How to Write an Effective Resume, LinkedIn Profile, & Cover Letter.

But that’s not all, we also recommend reading up on How to Write the Perfect Resume: Stand Out, Land Interviews, and Get the Job You Want, and The Resume Writing Guide: A Step-by-Step Workbook for Writing a Winning Resume, along with Knock ’em Dead Resumes: A Killer Resume Gets MORE Job Interviews!, and Steal This Resume, all available online in 2023.

Finally, we have the Resume: Writing 2023 The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Resume that Lands YOU the Job!, and Your Guide To A Stand Out Modern Resume: Make Your Resume The One That Stops the 6-Second Scroll, or perhaps how to Modernize Your Resume: Get Noticed…Get Hired, as well as The Resume Handbook: How to Write Outstanding Resumes and Cover Letters for Every Situation to get your CV to really shine!

Final Thoughts

To put it simply, a cover letter is for advertised jobs, while a letter of interest is a general inquiry.

Both of these professional documents should be as short and to the point as possible. You need to find a way to pack a lot of relevant information into just a few paragraphs. No matter which type of letter you decide to write, make sure you edit and proofread it carefully. Any spelling or grammar mistakes are likely to make you look careless and will make the receiver question your skills.

You also need to make your intentions clear so that the receiver knows what steps they should take.

All the very best getting your next interview!

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