A cover letter or a letter of interest can stand as your first formal communication with a potential employer. They may seem similar, but these letters have their own specific purpose.
In order to choose the right way to communicate your intentions to your potential employer, it is important that you understand the difference between a cover letter and a letter of interest.
In this article, we will be exploring the right time to use each of these documents to your advantage and also how to write them properly.
Difference between a Cover Letter and Letter of Interest
A cover letter is simply a document that is attached to your resume which briefly explains your interest in a particular job posting. The details found on a cover letter are similar to those of a letter of interest. The major difference is that a cover letter refers to the particular job that the potential employer advertised. The function of a cover letter is to help your CV/resume stand out which in turn will make the recruiter more interested in going through your full resume and finally contact you for an interview.
A letter of interest is the document that shows your desire to work for a company that has not posted any vacancies. This type of letter informs the hiring manager that you are interested in working for the company. It also explains why you would be a good addition to the company, what your qualifications are, and the role you would love to work in. Generally, this letter will contain background information that shows why you chose to reach out to the company.
Tips for choosing a cover letter (When to write a cover letter)
A cover letter always follows a resume. This form of letter is sent in direct response to a specific job vacancy. You are to note the exact job role that you’re applying for and ensure it is added to your resume along with other requested documents.
Write a cover letter when:
You’re responding to a public job posting.
You’re responding to an internal job opportunity.
You’re submitting a resume.
Tips for choosing a letter of interest (When to write a letter of interest)
A letter of interest can be described as a broad statement showing that you’re really interested in a company and you hope to find job opportunities there. Your letter of interest is the first point of contact from which future job opportunities might arise for you in that company.
Write a letter of interest when:
You read an article about an interesting company in your area of expertise (skill-set).
You see an announcement of a new business opening or expanding that you’re interested in working for/at.
Someone informs you of a job vacancy that hasn’t been made public yet.
How to write a good cover letter with Sample
See the basic steps for writing a cover letter below:
1. Introduce yourself- You are to provide basic information about yourself and the job position you’re applying for.
2. Explain why you’re perfect for the job- You are expected to carry out research on the company’s culture, mission statement and recent accomplishments. Then you are to refer to these while writing your cover letter.
3. Provide examples of past accomplishments- You are to include some specific examples of similar work that you’ve done before. This is to better portray your skills and expertise.
4. Encourage the reader to look at your resume- The end part of your cover letter should be a call to action that encourages the recruiter to go through your resume/CV and invite you for an interview.
Sample cover letter
Dear Mr. David,
My name is Pedro John, and I’m applying for the customer service representative position with Design Bros. I have five years of experience in customer service and I am currently seeking a fresh opportunity that will present new creative challenges. I’m a huge fan of your recent “Out of Town” campaign, and believe that my expertise with communicating effectively with customers would be a good fit for the direction that your company efforts have gone in.
Working with Brand Afrique, I developed a good relationship with customers that ensured they kept on trusting the brand and patronizing it daily. This doubled the daily sales and ensured the rapid growth of the company.
You will see similar results with the other companies that I have worked with detailed in my resume. I look forward to speaking with you about how I might contribute to your customer relations team.
How to write a good letter of interest
These are the steps for writing a good letter of interest:
1. Introduce yourself- Start the letter with a brief sentence introduction that contains your name and a summary of your background.
2. Explain why you’re writing- Give more details on why you’ve chosen to write the letter to this company.
3. Elaborate on how you fit into the company- You are expected to carry out research on the company’s culture, mission statement and recent accomplishments. Ensure you portray how your experience, personality and education will contribute positively to the business.
4. Talk about your skills and experience- Show the skills and experience that you can bring to the company.
5. Request an informational interview- The conclusion of the letter should be your appreciation to the recipient for their time and indicating that you’re available for an informational interview.
Sample letter of interest
Dear Mr. Stone,
My name is Franca Matthew, and I recently graduated from University of Birmingham with a Bachelor of Science in Plant Microbiology. I read an article in the British Times about the expansion of the ABC Plant Research Center and am interested in learning more about the job opportunities that this may provide in the coming months. I’m seeking employment opportunities for plant microbiologist and I would be interested in pursuing any opportunities available in the new research center when it is opened.
I have completed three internships in plant microbiology and have a strong background working with various equipment in research settings. I am very organized and pay attention to details and I also enjoy working in fast-paced environments. I’m located just a fifteen-minute drive from the proposed site of the new plant research center and could easily respond to calls quickly as needed.
I truly appreciate your time and consideration. I am fully available for an informational interview. I look forward to discussing potential opportunities with the ABC Plant Research Center.