Cover letter vs letter of interest – aren’t they both the same thing? In this article, we’ll be covering all that you need to know about each type of letter without mixing one with the other.
Imagine getting accepted to work for your dream company.
Whether that’s Tesla, Apple, or Spotify… You decide to see if there are any vacant job positions online on a job board or careers page.
One company is actively hiring whereas the other isn’t.
Could you still send an application to both companies?
The answer is yes. But the form of application you’d send to the company that isn’t actively hiring is a letter of interest.
So cover letter vs letter of interest… Let's go through the differences, including how to write the latter.
What’s a Letter of Interest?
A letter of interest (or known as a letter of intent) is a job application letter used for inquiring about career opportunities for a specific organization.
They’re usually sent alongside an attached resume for a job vacancy that isn’t currently being promoted. In other words, you might not find the role you’re applying for on their website careers page nor on a job board.
Professionals use this to introduce themselves to their dream company. It shows they’re interested in working specifically for them.
What’s a Cover Letter?
Cover letters are job application letters sent along with your resume too.
Your resume is your primary application. The objective of your cover letter is to reinforce it. This means it’s there to help you highlight your professional skills and background by explaining why you’re a good fit.
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 cover letter is a document that accompanies a job application and typically introduces the applicant, highlights their relevant skills and experiences, and explains why they are a good fit for the job. It is usually targeted to a specific job opening and is meant to convince the employer to invite the applicant for an interview.
A letter of interest, on the other hand, is a document that expresses an applicant's interest in working for a company, even if there is no specific job opening at the time. It may outline the applicant's skills and experiences, but the emphasis is on expressing enthusiasm for the company and a desire to contribute to its goals. A letter of interest may lead to a conversation about potential job opportunities, but it is not as focused on a specific job opening as a cover letter.
It’s subtle but the driving force behind them is as follows:
- 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.
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:
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 candidate states the position and company they’re interested in. Then, they introduce themselves by providing a brief background of their professional skills. They also make it clear why they’re making an application.
At this stage, hiring managers aren’t actively looking for a new employee. That’s why it’s important to set the agenda and make the purpose of your letter clear.
After the opening paragraph, they begin to focus on showing why they match the job position they seek. This is shown throughout the letter while displaying interest by describing the value they have to offer 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…”
- “I would come to work every day determined to fulfill Amazon’s vision…”
- “In review of your team’s objectives…”
In the closing paragraph, they’ve tied it all back to the company objectives. You’ll notice too that they’ve referred back to the company’s mission statement alongside their business culture.
This time, we’ll analyze how cover letters are written and pick up on some key points.
You’ll find that there are no huge differences between the two and that they’re both pretty similar to one another.
The Essentials of a Cover Letter
The format of a cover letter includes:
- Header section
- Opening paragraph
- Main body
- Closing paragraph
Compared to a letter of interest, you’re more focused on explaining why you’re best suited for the role. There’ll usually be more emphasis on the job description criteria rather than the company values (although this is an area that should still be focused on).
Cover Letter Example
Compared to the letter of interest example, the format is quite similar.
You’ll notice the cover letter still talks about where the candidate’s enthusiasm comes from.
However, it doesn’t revolve around the candidate’s interest and the company values as much. It revolves more around how and why they’re the best person for the job. As opposed to focusing on the company culture, it mainly focuses on their skills and what to write in a resume for work experience.
How to Write a Letter of Interest
Your letter of interest lets employers know why they should value you as a professional. Aside from showcasing your desire to work for them, you’ll need to support your points by emphasizing some of your career highlights.
Here’s the step-by-step process to follow!
1. Know the Background Information
The background information includes the following:
- Company culture
- Mission statement
- Social media profiles
- Team members
It also includes being familiar with some of the content the organization has posted. This is important for not just showing you’re genuinely intrigued by what they’re doing. But to match their values.
2. Use the Background Information in Your Letter
It’s time to put your research to use.
For example, greet your employer by their name. On top of getting their attention, it indicates your level of interest alongside your research skills.
Since you’re inquiring about working for an organization that isn’t actively hiring, you need a good reason why you’re making the application. That doesn’t just mean endlessly telling them about yourself and flattering them. It’s about showing how you’d be a committed asset that can help them reach their goals.
3. Share Where Your Interest Comes From
What was the driving factor that made you reach out?
This is a good way to get your reader curious from the start of your letter. Yes, you know a thing or two about them…
But the next part is to focus on what that’s got to do with you.
For instance, was there a recent post or project you saw that’s relevant to your skillset or career goals? Essentially, you’re using some of the details from the previous step with your reason for wanting to work with them to hook your hiring manager in.
4. Clarify Your Interest
You’ve already mentioned where your interest comes from.
Clarifying it means making it clear what you’re after (i.e. seeking a job opportunity) and why you’re after it. Be as specific as you can because it’s likely that they’re receiving all types of requests left and right.
That said, do keep your letter of interest concise. Respect the company’s time and get straight to the point.
5. Showcase Your Career Highlights
You’ve shown you know your stuff about the company.
The next step is to showcase your career highlights to prove you’re someone that’s a good fit. Without any evidence of how you’d be beneficial, it won’t make yourself compelling enough to consider hiring.
So, sell yourself. Demonstrate how you’d be valuable to their organization by sharing the following:
- Workplace achievements
6. Link Back to the Company’s Needs
How will your strengths help to meet the needs of the company you’re applying for?
Reflect on what the company is working towards. It’s effective to link your skills back to their mission as well as what they’re looking to achieve. If you emphasize the fact you know what it takes to get results, it can make you stand out as a professional.
7. Make the Next Steps Clear
State how you’d like to proceed. That could mean following up via email or requesting a meeting to discuss further.
Try to avoid using standard generic phrasing to reiterate your interest. On top of exuding self-confidence, it can impress your employers by the fact you’re not only skilled. But that you’re passionate enough about wanting to be of service.
Do Letters of Interest Actually Work?
Yes, they work. It’s a good route to take when you’re looking to make a targeted application for a dream company you want to work for. To maximize your chances, you’ll need to show you’re an ideal fit in terms of both professional skills and company culture.
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.
In other words, only send a letter of interest to a company that isn't marketing an available job vacancy. Compared to a cover letter, this type of application is more long-term.
Tips for Writing a Letter of Interest
Showing no enthusiasm for a potential career opportunity doesn’t leave a good impression on your hiring manager.
At the same time, you don’t want to sound too desperate. That’s what the tips below are for.
Align With The Company Culture
There’s better chemistry and engagement when employees are fulfilled. It also helps to cultivate a positive environment, which leads to better work performance.
Part of the criteria of an ideal employee is someone that cares about the company’s success. These are the people who are passionate about achieving the set targets and goals. They’re also the type of people who are more likely to stay.
Use Your Personal Background
Outside of your professional summary, do you have other relevant life experiences?
Personality traits or hobbies that align with the job and company values position you as someone who matches the role. It helps you stand out because you have something new to bring to the table.
State Your Intentions & Motivations
Why are you applying for this specific company?
Let your employers know what you’re after. When your resume objectives correspond with the company’s goals, it can spark an interest in wanting to read the rest of your application. Even better if you could support your answer with previous experiences and accomplishments that prove your value.
Action Verbs and Power Words
Weak action verbs resume are words that convey action. It’s an easy yet effective way to add spice to your letter. These emphasize your impact and contributions when describing previous duties and responsibilities.
Likewise, resume buzzwords to avoid make certain points stand out.
Both types of words can improve your letter by making it twice more engaging when used in the right context.
Include a Personalized Call to Action
Personalize your call to action at the end of your letter by tying it back to your intentions and the company’s needs.
Here are a few example sentences:
- “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…”
Then, clarify the next steps moving forward.
- “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”
Improve Your Chances of Getting a Positive Response From Employers
Cover letters and letters of interest alike help you improve your chances of securing your next career opportunity.
However, creating a personalized application takes time.
It’s recommended to apply to as many ideal companies as you can to maximize your chances of getting an interview.
To put it another way, it’s a numbers game.
But even though quantity is important, you still need to maintain quality. We understand it’s difficult when you have other commitments…
You can do both at the same time though. Without having to spend hours writing and researching.
All you need to know is the following details:
- Company name
- Previous job position highlight
- Skills highlight
Then, Rezi’s AI writer will take care of the rest.
Explore Rezi 🔥 Comes with 5,000 AI Credits, and is free forever, no credit card required.
Or, see below for a live demonstration of how to instantly generate a cover letter or letter of interest.
Cover letters are used for available job openings whereas letters of interest are used for a role that isn’t being advertised. While there’s a small distinction between their purposes, both will still highlight your value as a professional.
Don’t be afraid to send your application details to a company that’s not currently recruiting.
There’s no harm in trying to get in front of your dream company. At the very least, you’ll get to introduce yourself with the possibility of getting a positive response.
Like how the saying goes, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get!”