A Letter of intent and a cover letter are similar, but each has distinct purposes. What should you know about their differences and similarities?
Differences Between a Letter of Intent and a Cover Letter
Letter of Intent vs. Cover Letter
A letter of intent can be a great way to begin your job search if you believe that a company has a job that you would be interested in. However, because of its similarities with another type of letter, the cover letter, many people don’t know how and when to send a letter of intent and when to send a cover letter instead. Here’s what you need to know about both of these letters and when to use each one.
What Is a Letter of Intent?
A letter of intent, or LOI, is a business letter that you may send in a business transaction to a company to declare your intent to do something. The “something” in this case, is intentionally vague and may mean anything from declaring your interest in law school to declaring your interest in buying a piece of real estate. When it comes specifically to job applications, a letter of intent, letter of inquiry, prospecting letter and letter of interest are all often used interchangeably. This is a letter that you send to try and scope out potential job opportunities that you may be interested in. A letter of intent reaches out to a potential employer and lets them know that you’re interested in a particular job at their company. The reason for sending this type of letter is usually to try and open up a dialogue, and it will usually be the only thing you send. It’s a way to express to a potential employer that although the job position may be available at this time, you’d be interested in this position if one becomes open.
What Is a Cover Letter?
While a letter of intent is a letter that you send unprompted as a gesture of interest in a specific job position, a cover letter is instead a critical component of an application letter for a job application. It has a specific cover letter format, goes over your professional experience, skills and certifications, and is vying for a specific position against many other job seekers.
One of the most important components of a letter of intent vs. a cover letter is the presence of a resume. Technically, you can include a resume with a letter of intent. However, if the hiring manager emails you back, you can then reply with your resume. In a cover letter, the letter itself is often considered just an addition to the resume template.
How Can I Tell the Difference Between a Letter of Intent and a Cover Letter?
These descriptions generally lay out the difference between a letter of intent and a cover letter. However, there are some important key points that you can use to differentiate the two.
A cover letter is typically sent for an open job posting
An open job posting is when a prospective employer actively advertises the fact that there’s an empty position at a company that they’re looking to fill. When you write a cover letter, you’re applying for an open position. There’s a job description you can read to learn more about the job, and the hiring manager is expecting that you’ll send in a cover letter. On the other hand, when you send in a letter of intent, you’re attempting to make a great first impression and mentioning a job position that’s not publicly being advertised for currently.
A letter of intent often focuses more on the company you’re applying to
Before you write a letter of intent, you may do informational interviews, talk to human resources and look at the letter of intent examples to determine what the best way would be to catch the hiring manager’s attention. You’ll want to do research on the recruiter, so you know what information would catch their attention in a letter of intent.
A letter of intent typically has a broader purpose
When you send in a cover letter, it has a singular important targeted intention. You want to talk about your years of experience, give your contact information, including your phone number, and showcase all of the important skills you have. The hope is that the hiring manager will see you are highly qualified for the position and give you a phone call to set up a job interview. However, a letter of intent template plans to start a conversation. Although the hope is that you’ll eventually get a job offer for a position that comes available, a letter of intent most prominently values the connection with a hiring manager.
FAQ: Letter of Intent vs. Cover Letter
A letter of intent is a great way to connect with a hiring manager and create a networking opportunity. This is important so you can get access to a job opening that you may not otherwise be able to apply for currently. Oftentimes, available jobs do not get posted on job sites but instead filled through networking. A letter of intent can help you become part of that network.
Definitely. A cover letter template and a letter of intent template are, to an extent, essentially the same. Both types of letters require that you include your contact information, address the hiring manager by name and take a formal, polite tone. The main difference is that a cover letter will typically talk more about your achievements and work experience, while a letter of intent will talk more about what you can do for a company.
A cover letter template can make it easier for you to write a letter of intent. You can use the ResumeNerd cover letter builder to create a letter of intent rather than trying to write it all on your own. Plus, the cover letter templates from ResumeNerd allows you to complete the letter quicker and will ensure that your letter of intent looks great.