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Letter of Intent: Definition, Types & Best Practices

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In professional communication, you always come across terms like a letter of intent, a cover letter, a personal statement, and more.

You might be struggling to differentiate between these terms and their purposes.

Not to worry, you’re not alone. Understanding these terms is daunting for many.

In this guide, we’ll clarify what a letter of intent means. We’ll also tell you how to write it, what information it provides, and why it’s important.

What Is a Letter of Intent?

A letter of intent is a formal document outlining the interest of two or more parties in doing business together.

It’s used to convey interest in doing business with someone and starting the negotiation process.

Is a Letter of Intent an Offer?

Some refer to the letter of intent as an offer letter. While both terms sound alike, they’re not the same.

A letter of intent is what you provide to the company you’re willing to work for to outline your experience and qualifications. It’s similar to a letter of interest.

An offer letter is the other way around. It’s a letter provided by the hiring manager to the applicant stating the details of the offered job.

In an offer letter, you’ll find details on the job salary, description, duties, starting date, and so on. You can also expect a non-solicitation agreement.

Is a Letter of Intent a Legal Document?

It depends on how the letter is written. In business, a letter of intent usually has a section stating that it’s not legally binding.

But in some cases, formal wording can legally bind the letter of intent.

How Is a Letter of Intent Different From a Cover Letter?

Many job seekers confuse a letter of intent with a cover letter. While they have similar purposes, they’re not the same.

A letter of intent is handy when you want to show your interest in working for a company, even when they don’t have an available position.

As such, you focus on your qualifications, intentions, and goals instead of explaining why you’re a perfect match for a specific job.

It’s worth noting that a letter of intent isn’t only used when applying for a job. For instance, you can write a letter of intent to declare your interest in joining a college or buying a piece of land.  

A cover letter is beneficial when you’re applying for a vacant position.

That’s why in a cover letter, you highlight your qualifications and relevant skills.

What Is the Purpose of a Letter of Intent?

The purpose of a letter of intent is to highlight the plans, objectives, and vision of one party to the other.

It outlines the interest in doing business; that’s why it’s usually used in the first steps of negotiation.

Expressing Your Interest in a Job

The letter of intent is an excellent way to communicate with hiring managers.

Rather than waiting for job vacancies that fit your qualifications, a letter of intent may give you access to broader job opportunities.

Since companies might not post all vacancies on websites, hiring managers may consider you for future jobs if they think you’re a decent fit.

Introducing Yourself to an Employer

The letter of intent personalizes your job application as it connects recruiters with your resume and qualifications.

They can see why you’re a perfect candidate for their company and understand what you can add to their workforce.

A letter of intent might also increase your chances of landing a job.

Why? Because it provides a favorable professional impression that might help you stand out from other applicants.

When Do You Use a Letter of Intent?

A letter of intent showcases your interest in a business, job, or buying property. After all, it’s not something that you use on regular basis.

So it’s critical to know when to use it to get the most out of it.

At a Job Fair

Job fairs are handy for job seekers and recruiters who want to expand their networks and get in touch with potential business partners.

If you’re looking for an entry-level opportunity, preparing a well-written letter of intent can aid you in getting a job at job fairs.

You can submit it alongside your resume to multiple recruiters at once to express your interest in potential job openings.

When Researching Companies You Might Be a Good Fit For

When looking for a job, you might come across those companies that you think you could be the perfect fit for them.

Unfortunately, they might not have open positions that fit your skill set and qualifications.

That’s when a letter of interest comes in handy. You can send it to hiring managers to introduce yourself and show interest in working with them.

When You’ve Heard a Company May Be Looking to Hire

If you heard that a company may be looking to hire someone soon, you can send a letter of intent to declare your interest to work for them.

This can boost your application and make you stand out among other applicants.

What is Written in a Letter of Intent?

While letters of intent can vary from one applicant to another, they have the same purposes.

That includes introducing yourself, highlighting your skills and achievements, and explaining what you’ll add to the company.

Let’s see what you should write in a letter of intent.

1. Greeting

Start your letter of intent by greeting the reader. The greeting should be formal, such as “Dear Recruiter.”

You can write a letter to a specific person in the company if you know the hiring manager’s name. If you don’t, you can pick a general greeting such as “Hello.”

2. Introduction

In the introduction section, you should introduce yourself formally and briefly. Write your name, job title, experience, and why you’re interested in working for the company.

Note that this part varies depending on your current position. For instance, if you’re a fresh graduate, include your field of study, degree, and university.

In case you’re switching jobs, you can positively explain that you’re eager to join the company for a more advanced position.

Don’t say anything negative; you can say you want a job that helps you grow professionally or that you’re looking for a different challenge.

3. Why You Fit the Job

In this part, you need to explain how you fit the job. In one or two paragraphs, highlight your experience, skills, goals, and contributions that are relevant to the position.

4. Your Achievements

Next, you should include your achievements at your current or past positions to boost your chances of approval.

It would be best to include numbers that translate your past achievements.

5. Call to Action

This is your final paragraph, in which you should briefly explain what you want the employer to do next.

You can thank him for taking the time to read your letter and leave your contact information so he can reach you for potential job opportunities.

6. Sign Off

Now you should end your letter formally and professionally. Avoid casual language such as “yours truly,” instead, write something like “thank you.”

What Happens After a Letter of Intent?

After you send a letter of intent, several things could happen. You could end up with an invitation for an interview or not get a response at all.

Here are the options:

A Response

It takes different times to receive a response to your letter of intent, depending on the company.

The hiring manager might contact you for further information about your skills and experience. He might also reply to thank you for your letter and the interest you showed in the company.

An Interview

After reviewing your letter of intent, the hiring manager may invite you for a job interview. It can be a phone or a face-to-face interview, depending on the company and your location.


Unfortunately, you might not get a reply from the company at all. The hiring team might contact you later when future jobs are available, or they might think you’re not a fit for their company.

How to Write a Letter of Intent

As a job seeker, understanding how to write a letter of intent is crucial to boost your chances of approval.

Your main goal should be to provide concise, brief, and relevant information about yourself and your career.

You should also aim to highlight what you’ll bring to the table if the company offers you a position.

Start With a Template

To craft a decent letter of intent, start with a template. You can find many templates online that are free to use and suit every industry.

The goal here is to ensure you don’t forget any significant details that may make or break your job application.

Include All the Necessary Information

Make a list of all the information relevant to the company and your desired job position.

Include detailed information about your skills, experience, achievements, qualifications, expectations, and goals.

Address it to the Right Person

Ensure you’re sending your letter of intent to the right person.

For example, if you’re seeking a job opportunity, research the company and send your letter to hiring managers or recruiters.

Tips for Writing a Letter of Intent

When you write a letter of intent, some things make a difference in how your letter is perceived. To get the results you’re hoping for, follow these basic tips.

1. When Sending By Email, Be Clear in the Subject Line

You don’t want your well-written letter of intent to get lost in the clutter of other messages.

While it may sound silly, many applicants neglect the subject line when sending emails.

This makes it almost impossible for the recruiter to find your letter in his inbox, which reduces the chance of getting accepted via email.

That’s why you should make it clear in the subject line that you’re sending the letter of intent for a particular job position.

2. Research the Company and Tailor the Letter to Them

It’s crucial to learn about the company you’re sending your letter to.

Showing that you have an idea about the company’s policy, success, challenges and goals makes you a serious candidate.

Surf the internet to find out about the company’s job ads, mission statements, history, and lines of business.

3. Don’t Mention Salary Yet

There’s no need to mention the expected salary in a letter of intent. The letter is only a way to present yourself and your desire to work for the company.

4. Keep it Short

Avoid unnecessary details that might confuse the reader. For example, if you have experience in an irrelevant field, it’s not worth mentioning it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How serious is a letter of intent?

A letter of intent is a formal professional letter that dictates your desire to work for a specific business.

Even though it’s not legally binding, it lets the hiring team know more about you and consider you for future jobs.

Do letters of intent make a difference?

A letter of intent is a handy way to get your foot in the door of your dream job.

It lets the hiring team know about your qualifications and desires to work for them, so they consider contacting you when they have an available position.

Wrapping Up

A letter of intent is a unique way to show interest in a job, internship, or apprenticeship. It aids in revealing your skills, qualifications, and desire to work for a specific company. This makes you stand out from the rest of the applicants for future job opportunities.

Feel free to leave any questions or comments below, and don’t forget to share the guide if you like it.

By following our guide, you should be able to craft a professional letter of intent to boost your chances of getting an interview.

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