Letter of Interest vs Cover Letter: The Differences and When to Use Them?

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December 23, 2021
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Cover letter vs letter of interest – aren’t they both the same thing?

They’re two sides of the same coin. Albeit the pair of applications being a letter, there are some noticeable differences. Being aware of what makes them different prevents you from making a mistake and enables you to highlight your value accordingly. 

If you’re looking to apply to a future job position at a specific company, a letter of interest will do the trick. Conversely, cover letters are sent with a resume for open vacancies. 

You don’t want to make the mistake of taking the wrong approach for either document. 

That’s why in this article, we’ll be covering all that you need to know about each type of letter without mixing one with the other. 

The Difference Between a Cover Letter and Letter of Interest

The biggest distinction between a cover letter and a letter of interest is their purpose. 

A letter of interest is a documented letter that’s sent as an open job application. Meaning, you’re interested in applying for a potential role in the company that matches your skills and expertise even if the position isn’t being advertised.

However, cover letters are typically sent along as a secondary document to complement your primary application. These are for an available position in demand that hiring teams need filled. 

As for the purposes and driving factors between them: 

  • Letters of interest focus on your intentions and why you want to work for the company. 
  • Cover letters focus on why you’re the best person to hire for the job you’re applying to. 

The Essentials of a Letter of Interest

In terms of the format for a letter of interest, it’s pretty much similar to a cover letter as it’s made up of the following:

  • Header section
  • Opening paragraph
  • Main body
  • Closing paragraph
  • Signoff

What makes it different from a cover letter though, is the contents within each section. 

You’re not writing for an available vacancy. Instead, it’s tailored towards a specific position that isn’t currently being advertised or promoted. Therefore, there should be more emphasis on why you’re interested in working for them specifically and what makes you a good company fit. 

Letter of Interest Example

The header comes first, which includes personal details e.g. contact information and location.

Next, they’ve made it clear they’re inquiring about a position in the technical team. Since you’ll be applying for positions that aren’t currently available, state your intentions clearly by writing something similar along the lines of:

  • “I am writing to apply for the next consultant position in...”
  • “I am pleased to present my application for the business development position at…”
  • “I am applying because I meet all the essential criteria and strongly feel that I can make an effective contribution…”

Outline where your enthusiasm comes from and how your knowledge and abilities can be put to good use. The main body of this is where you should be going more in-depth about your skills, corporate experiences, and education. 

Breakdown of a Cover Letter Compared to a Letter of Interest

We’ve analyzed a letter of interest, so we’ll now analyze how cover letters are written and pick up on some of the key points. However, you’ll find that there are no huge differences and that they’re both similar to each other.

While the technical aspects stay the same, the approach and objective slightly differ.

The Essentials of a Cover Letter

The format of a cover letter includes:

  • Header section
  • Opening paragraph
  • Main body
  • Closing paragraph
  • Signoff

Compared to a letter of interest, you’re purely focusing on what makes you the best-suited applicant for the job. Therefore, there’s usually more emphasis on the job values rather than the company values. 

Despite having no professional experience, it doesn’t necessarily stop you from being a competitive candidate.

Cover Letter Example

Even though this candidate focuses on what makes them a good fit as their personal qualities align, there’s more emphasis on the job responsibilities. This is shown throughout the document as they’re describing their value in phrases such as:

  • “My ability to work as a team player… have allowed me to excel in the field of Human Resources”
  • What I would bring to the position includes…”

In the closing paragraph, they’ve tied it all back to the company objectives. One of the most important steps for all applications is to tailor them. 

Should You Use a Cover Letter or Letter of Interest?

If you’re applying for a specific position in the company that isn’t currently available but you’re open to future opportunities, use a letter of interest. But if you’re applying for an open job vacancy, use a cover letter. Even if they’re not requested by your employer, you can still send them along with your resume. 

Tips to Express Your Interest In Your Job Application

For both cover letters and letters of intent, hiring managers should see your enthusiasm for the presented opportunity. In order to show a good expression of interest, we’ve listed 5 tips for all job seekers. 

1. Align With The Company Culture

One of the most important steps is to personalize your application. 

There’s better chemistry and engagement when employees are fulfilled in their line of work. It helps to cultivate a positive environment and is linked to good performance. 

Part of the criteria for an ideal employee is not just someone who has the qualifications and skills for the job. But, someone who is a strong fit for the company culture, passionate, and genuinely interested. 

2. Use Your Personal Background 

Outside the corporate environment, do you have other life experiences that are relevant?

Having personal traits or hobbies that align with the job and company values positions you as someone who matches the role. It’s also an effective way to stand out and catch the attention of your recruiter and hiring manager by bringing something new to the table. 

When there’s a link in your personal lifestyle, it shows interest and curiosity.

3. State Your Intentions & Motivations

What’s the reasoning behind your decision to make an application for this specific company? 

And, why are you motivated to pursue a career in this job position? 

The value of stating this in your application is that it immediately outlines your goals and objectives. You’re also making it clear that you’re self-driven and this can be related to a solid work ethic. 

4. Action Verbs and Power Words 

Action verbs are words that convey action. 

An easy yet effective way to add spice is to use these to emphasize your impact when describing previous duties and responsibilities. 

Likewise, power words provoke the reader to think which helps with catching their attention. 

Both types of words can take your application to the next level by making it twice more engaging. However, use them in the right context and ensure it flows naturally with what you’re writing about. 

5. Write a Direct Statement In Your Closing Paragraph

As you summarize your letter in the closing paragraph, tie it back to your personal interests by making a direct statement about it. 

Here are a few example statements:

  • “I believe that my proven experience and passion for digital marketing will…”
  • “I am confident that my skills, experience, and enthusiasm will be a great asset to…”

Another way of showing your enthusiasm before you sign off is to include a call to action and mention the next steps.

For example:

  • “I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how my experience would be…”
  • “I am available to discuss this position in more detail at a convenient time”

Create a Tailored Application 

Cover letters and letters of interest can help you secure your next career opportunity by showcasing your strengths and the qualities that make you a good fit. 

But creating a personalized application takes time. 

While it’s quality over quantity, do both at the same time by using Rezi’s AI writer to complete your job documents automatically. It works by using your resume and the job description to create a full-fledged application that’s customized specifically to the company you’re applying to. 

See below for a live demonstration:

“Exactly what I was looking for. Someone read my mind, and it works as expected.” - Clint N.

Key Takeaways

The biggest difference between a cover letter and a letter of interest is their purpose. 

One is used for available job openings whereas the other is used for a job posting that isn’t currently being advertised. 

That being said, they’re still pretty similar in terms of what they’re trying to accomplish. Both will usually highlight the following:

  • Goals and objectives
  • Qualifications 
  • Accomplishments
  • Relevant work experience
  • Hobbies and interests

Then, they should link back to the company culture and values. 

If you see a job posting where you believe you’d be a strong fit, there’s no harm getting in front of your prospective employers and introducing yourself.

We’re trusted by over 150,000+ job seekers and when you create an application with Rezi, you have a 62.18% chance of being offered an interview! 

Feel free to give Rezi a go by clicking below!

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