Writing formal letter of intent (Key Concept)

Writing formal letter of intent is similar to a cover letter. It gives an overview of your skills and experience in your industry and why you want to work for a specific company.

Core Definition of Letter of Intent

A letter of intent is called a “letter of interest,” is a letter you send to employers you’d like to work for. 

A letter of intent is useful for sending unsolicited job applications or queries to prospective employers. The letter introduces you to prospective employers to get them to view your resume.

A strong letter of intent will detail your most relevant talents and accomplishments. It will also explain why you are a good fit for the organization to which you are applying.

Sometimes, a letter of intent, in other words, a Terms Sheet, Framework letter, Letter of Interest, Intent to purchase letter or Assurance letter.

What’s the Difference Between a Letter of intent and a Cover Letter?

  • A cover letter is for applying for a job that is listed. A letter of intent shows an employer that you want to work for them even if there aren’t any job openings listed. 
  • Cover letters are centered on the job at hand and describe the candidate’s skills and how they fit with the job.
  • A letter of intent has no time line for delivery, and the next steps may not be clear. In contrast, a cover letter usually leads to an interview and a job offer.
  • An intent letter focuses more on the company than on a specific job and talks about the candidate’s skills in a more general way. 

When Should You Write a Letter of Intent?

  • At a job fair, you give your resumes to employers.
  • You’re looking into companies to find one that fits your interests and career goals the best.
  • You’ve heard or been told that a company is hiring, even though no jobs are posted.
  • The employer has jobs posted for other jobs, but they also hire people with your skills and experience or in your area of expertise.

A letter of intent makes sending your resume to an employer accessible, even when there aren’t any specific jobs in your field. This gives the employer a chance to see how valuable you are and how interested you are in working for them. It may also encourage the employer to see if the company has a need or a role you can fill.

Writing Formal Letter of Intent — What to Include

Even though your letter of intent should be specific to your skills, experiences, and qualities, there are five main things you should include:

Let’s look more closely at these five parts and what you should put in each one.

1. Opening Greeting

The greeting or salutation should be formal and follow the rules for formal greetings.

Start the letter with a standard greeting like “Dear Hiring Manager” or address it to a specific person in the company. You might be able to address your letter to someone in HR, but use a general greeting like “Hello if you’re not sure.”

But don’t be too friendly or casual in your greeting (“Hey,” or just using the person’s first name). The goal of the letter of intent is to make a sound, professional first impression that could lead to job offers.

2. Introductory Phase

Use the first sentence or two of your letter to say who you are formally. In this section, you should write your name, a short description of your current level of experience, and why you are writing.

For example, if you just finished school, talk about your degree and what you studied. If you already have a job but want to work for another company, include your job title and explain why you want to work.

It is best not to include any bad news in your letter. You don’t want to say, for example, that you want to leave your current job because you’ve had bad experiences with them. Instead, say why you want to work for the company or give other positive reasons. Reasons like the chance to move up in your career or take on a different role.

3. Body

Write more about your skills and experiences in the body of your letter. This is an excellent chance to explain why you would make a wonderful addition to the company in one or two paragraphs.

Include specific examples of when you reached a goal or helped an organization somehow, and if you can, put a number to your accomplishments. When you want to work for a particular company, you should highlight how your skills and experiences fit with the company’s goals and needs.

4. Ask For What You Want

This is also known as a call to action and is the last paragraph of your letter. This is where you tell the employer what you want them to do for you. You could use this space to thank the employer for reading your letter and ask that they get back to you during job openings. You could also put your contact information here instead of after your signature.

5. The End

The conclusion should be a standard way to end a business letter. For example, you could say “Sincerely” or “Thank you” to end the letter. As with the beginning, it’s best to avoid being too casual at the end. Don’t use “Cheers” or “Yours truly” as a sign-off.

Specific Types of Letters of Intent

Here are some instances where specific types of letters of intent can be used:

1. Buying Real Estate, a Business, or other kinds of property.

You can use a letter of intent to say that you want to buy a business, a business property, or a home. The letter should clarify that it’s not an official purchase agreement. It should state that the terms and conditions of the business deal will be written in the official purchase agreement.

2. Acceptance of a scholarship.

When accepting a scholarship, a student could send a letter of intent to a school or other group. The letter should show gratitude for the scholarship and enthusiasm about the chance. 

3. Graduate school.

If you want to apply to a particular graduate school, you could send that university a letter of intent. Some schools may even require a letter of intent as part of the application process. You should let the person know that you’ve sent in your application and say what graduate program you’re trying to get into. 

4. Private Acquisition

This type of letter of intent is similar to what you would use to buy a business. But it needs to be marked as private. As the sender, you might want to include the basic terms of the deal and a non-binding statement. The non-binding statement will prescribe how the agreement was made and how negotiations will work. 

5. Employment Opportunities.

Even if there isn’t a vacancy, you could send a letter of intent to a company to show that you’re interested in working there. In the letter, you can say what kind of job you’re looking for or if you’re looking for a job in a specific department.

Tips for a letter of intent

Your letter of intent can be written in any way you want. But there are a few best practices you might want to follow to make the letter more effective.

  • If you send a hard copy of the letter, make sure it looks like a professional business letter. Your name, email address, and job title should be at the top. If you are sending the letter by email, put your contact information under your first and last name in the signature. 
  • Do not say anything wrong about your current or previous employers. Instead, talk about yourself and your potential employer. 
  • If you want to move up in your career, be specific about the level you want to be hired for. Emphasis like “senior-level positions” or “management” should be used.
  • Don’t say how much you want to make. You should always talk about this with the recruiter or after a good interview. 
  • You can use a friend or coworker who works at the company as a reference. Make sure that the person knows they will be used. 
  • Use words like “effective communicator” and “seasoned writer” to describe your skills and experiences. Make sure that your skills and experiences are helpful for the job. Look at job descriptions for similar jobs to see what skills the employer might want. 
  • Keep your letter short and straight to the point. 
  • Before you send your letter, make sure it is correct and has no mistakes.

Letter of intent- Samples

Below is an example letter of intent using the template above. Use this sample as a starting point for your letter of intent:

To Whom It May Concern,

Email Format of letter of intent

Below is another sample letter of intent using the best practices above, but formatted for email.

Subject:TheIntroduction – Bishop Layman

Dear Ms. Williams,

During my 10-year tenure as Content producer for RCP Inc., I have always been impressed with your company’s excellent reputation on the internet. I believe my experience and sales knowledge would make me a valuable asset to Company KPL as your next Content producer.

In the past year alone as content manager for RCP Inc., I’ve built a new content calendar from scratch. I have also gained organic ranking by more than 15% in 4 months. In my prior role as content team lead, I oversaw the day-to-day activities of a 5-person content team. On the team, we used data to establish clear goals and objectives. I provide coaching and training to nurture a high-performance team. I also created a comprehensive training manual to reduce the onboarding process from 90 days to two weeks.

Company KPL is a wonderful fit for me because I am both data-driven and customer-centric. I am adept at generating actionable insights from data to increase customer loyalty and give exceptional customer service. I am passionate about inspiring staff to achieve content marketing goals.

Please find attached my resume for your consideration. I appreciate your consideration and look forward to learning more about this possibility from you.


Bishop Layman bishoplayman@email.com(456) 123-0978

To Wrap Up

Writing formal letter of intent is as important as any other written document. It offers opportunites to communicate with others in a sound and professional manner.

A formal letter of intent can be a time-saving method for letting someone know what you want. It can also offer them the chance to get a jump start on your offering in a short-term conversation.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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