A letter of interest, which is also known as an inquiry letter or a prospecting letter, is sent to a company where you would like to work which hasn't advertised job openings. Letters of interest can be sent via email, LinkedIn's message system, or paper mail.
How To Write a Letter of Interest
You will need to compose an effective letter of interest if you are targeting unadvertised opportunities at an employer. If possible, identify a manager in the department where you would like to work and send a copy of your communication to that individual. You can also send a copy to the company's Human Resources department.
Who Do You Know?
Before you write your letter, review your network of contacts to determine if any of your associates have a connection at your target company. LinkedIn is an excellent tool for identifying people who are once or twice removed from you.
If you're a college graduate, check with your career office to see if they can put you in touch with alumni at the company. Belong to a professional association? You may be able to find a contact there.
Ask for an Introduction
If you identify a suitable individual, ask your contact for an introduction and approach the person for an informational interview. If you hit it off well with them, ask if they would suggest that you reach out to any of their colleagues in departments of interest.
If they say yes, be sure to mention that you are you are writing a letter of interest and would like to write in your letter that they recommended that you inquire about employment opportunities. Here's how to ask for a referral.
What to Include in Your Letter
A letter of interest should begin with a compelling statement regarding the basis of your interest in that employer and industry. You might allude to a development at the company which sparked your interest.
It's very important to articulate the type of position and department you are targeting or your communication will get lost in the email or paper shuffle.
Your letter should start with a professional greeting. If you have a contact person, address it to him or her personally. Here are examples of letter greetings.
Your first paragraph should begin with a strong thesis statement noting two - four key assets which will enable you to make a solid contribution in the role which you are targeting.
Your subsequent paragraphs should reference concrete examples of how you have used those strengths (and two - four additional assets) to achieve success in past jobs, volunteer work or academic projects.
You should express a strong interest in meeting with the employer to explore opportunities in your final paragraph. You might also mention that you would welcome an exploratory meeting even if there are no formal vacancies at the time of your inquiry.
Be sure to include your contact information in your signature (email address, phone, LinkedIn Profile URL, if you have one) so it's easy for the reader to get in touch with you.
Here's an example:
Review Letter of Interest Examples
Here are examples of several different types of letters of interest, including introductory letters, inquiry letters, referral letters and prospecting letters.