How to Write a Good Letter of Intent for an Application

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A letter of intent is written by a job applicant announcing she is applying for the job. It specifies the exact position, communicates some of her qualifications, and shows her interest in and knowledge of the company or institution.

  • Discover as much as you can about the organization you are applying to before you write your letter. Learn about the people who work there and the organization's goals by looking at their website and searching for newspaper articles about them online. This will give you material for the body of the letter.

    Also, sit down and make a list of your skills, experience and goals.

  • Call the organization and inquire as to whom the letter should be addressed. It is best to make the salutation to the person with the power to hire.

    Getting this first detail right is important. You do not want the letter to languish on the wrong desk, and you don't want to give the impression that you don’t have the initiative to learn who the appropriate recipient is. Most likely, you will not need to talk to the person herself; someone in the office, like the head secretary, will probably be able to provide you with the information.

  • After you've begun your letter with the correct salutation, state right away that you are applying for a specific position, referring to the position in the same way that the company or organization named it in its job advertisement.

  • Explain why you are qualified for the position, being as specific as possible. Refer to what you learned about the job and the company, and try to match your qualifications to their needs. List work experience, training, degrees, articles that you've had published, conferences that you've attended, goals that you've set and achieved, and relevant skills.

  • Point out what you admire about the organization and why you are applying to work there. Your notes will help you. Your goal is to show that you know something about the job, the place and their needs. Refer to some of the company's accomplishments, or address problems that the industry faces, including some of your ideas on how to help solve them.

  • Give the draft of your letter to other professionals, like a professor or a trusted colleague, and ask for their honest critiques about what to add or what to delete.

    Make sure the letter is brief (about a page long) but full of impact.

  • Proofread and edit. Go through the letter as many times as you can, set it aside for a few hours, and repeat the process, until you've completely refined it. Even small errors in a letter can put you immediately out of the running for the job.

References

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