Cover Letter

Letter of Interest vs Cover Letter: Differences & Which Is Best


A letter of interest is sent as an open job application. Meaning, you're interested in applying for a job even if it’s not being promoted but cover letters…

Cover letters and letters of interest are both for job applications. A cover letter supports your resume and responds to a job description. It’s written for a specific role and company, explaining why you’re a good fit. A letter of interest is more like a cold call—you use it to apply and connect to a particular company you admire, even if they aren’t currently hiring. In it, you focus on why you want to work for them and how you can contribute toward their growth.

Cover letters are for companies actively hiring for a certain position. Letters of interest are for companies that aren’t actively hiring. 

A letter of interest is for inquiring about potential roles for a certain company that you’d love to work for. It tells hiring managers how your skills, experience, and aspirations can make you valuable asset. 

Use a cover letter when you want to secure a job title that a company is hiring for. But if there's no advertised job opening and you still want to connect, send a letter of interest.

What is a Letter of Interest?

A letter of interest is also known as a letter of intent. It's a formal letter where you express your interest to potentially work for a certain company. You send this to connect with an organization that greatly inspires you. It allows you to inquire about potential career and work opportunities for a specific company, even when they’re not currently seeking new employees. 

Letters of interest are typically sent to employers of an organization that isn’t hiring. You most likely won’t find them hunting for candidates for your job position. 

You might want to use a letter of interest to introduce yourself to your dream company. There’s a chance it could lead to opening an opportunity.

What is a Cover Letter?

Cover letters are typically sent with your resume. 

The aim of your cover letter is to secure a job interview by explaining how and why you’re a good match for the position that the company is hiring for. This means highlighting your professional skills and experience in relation to the job description.

The Difference Between a Cover Letter and Letter of Interest

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

  • 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 position they’re hiring for.

A letter of interest is a documented letter that’s sent as an open job application. You’re expressing interest to work for a certain company, but usually not for a specific role. You do this by highlighting your skills, experience, and interests. 

Letters of interest aren’t limited to one type of job position. You could get matched to an alternative or similar role. It all depends on your skill set and how the organization can get the most value from you. 

In contrast, a cover letter is sent as a targeted job application to secure a position at a company. They target a job vacancy. They’re also sent along as a secondary document to complement your ATS resume

elements of a letter of interest

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 Sample

letter of interest example

In the above cover letter template, 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
  • Signoff

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 Sample

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

This is how to write a letter of interest: 

  • Do your research into the company’s background.
  • Address the hiring manager or head of department. 
  • Start with a hook by introducing yourself and expressing why you look up to the company. 
  • Showcase your skill set by highlighting your top career achievements and significant projects you worked on. 
  • Make a direct statement about how your background allows you to uniquely contribute to the company. 
  • Express your availability for new opportunities and willingness to learn.
  • Politely inquire about potential job openings or career opportunities.
  • Thank the reader for their time and consideration. 
  • End with a formal sign-off.

Your letter of interest lets employers know how you can uniquely contribute to their organization and help them reach their goals. Sharing an emotional story on how the organization inspires you isn’t always enough to get a response or secure a position—you’ll have to emphasize key skills that would strongly benefit the company.

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
  • Skills
  • Qualifications
  • Projects

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. 

For instance:

  • “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”

Use Rezi AI Cover Letter Writer to Speed Up the Process 

Do you need a cover letter? If so, you can use Rezi AI Cover Letter Writer

Here’s how it works:

  • Enter the name of the company you’re applying to. 
  • Add the job title you want to highlight. 
  • List key skills that are relevant to the role.
  • Press “AI Writer Ready.” 

Then, you’ll have a full cover letter generated based on your background. 

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Or, see below for a live demonstration of how to instantly generate a cover letter or letter of interest.


Let’s recap on the differences between a cover letter and letter of interest:

  • Cover letters are used to apply for job openings at a company. They’re tailored to the company’s job description and cultural values. 
  • Letters of interest are used to inquire about career opportunities at your dream company. They’re focused on showcasing how your skill set and interests can make you a valuable contributor.  
  • A letter of interest isn’t as commonly used as a cover letter. Although they may not immediately lead to an interview, they can help you get your foot in the door and make a connection. 

While there’s a clear 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. 

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Astley Cervania

Astley Cervania is a career writer and editor who has helped hundreds of thousands of job seekers build resumes and cover letters that land interviews. He is a Rezi-acknowledged expert in the field of career advice and has been delivering job success insights for 4+ years, helping readers translate their work background into a compelling job application.

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