Ultimate Letter Guide 101: Cover Letter vs. Letter of Interest

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Cover Letter vs. Letter of Interest

When it comes to applying for a job or a company, there can be a little confusion between a cover letter vs. letter of interest. What they have in common is that both these letters are meant to show a company or employer that you are capable of taking on a job. A “letter of interest” isn’t another fancy way of saying “cover letter”, though, so be wary of labelling your letters with either of those two titles! With that, let’s establish the differences between these documents.

Cover Letter

To its very core, a cover letter is a one-page document that introduces a job seeker’s interest in applying for a specific position. While this is most common for people applying for new jobs, these letters can also be used for internal company positions, like if you are trying to get a promotion or transfer. Furthermore, these are sent on your own initiative to unique jobs, not the whole company in general.

The essence of a cover letter is simple: pitch yourself for the job. Why are you a good candidate? What kinds of hard and soft skills do you have that are relevant to the job? How can you help the company achieve its goals in the role you are applying for? 

This is the perfect opportunity to show off some of the experience and skills that could have prepared you for that specific occupation. Show them you are capable by concretely and briefly noting points in your work and education that make you a potential asset to them.

Letter of Interest

On the other hand, a letter of interest is a letter that you send to companies when you want to inquire about any position that could be available. Note that for this letter in particular, you are not applying for any particular job, but more of informing the company that you are interested in them and want to work for them in general. Between a cover letter vs. letter of interest, the latter is also appropriate for internship applications or volunteer work that may occur. The essence is that you are enthusiastic about their cause and that it has inspired you to want to work for them.

For these, you don’t have to possess any distinct skill or experience to apply. You can be from any type of level of experience, as long as you are interested in them. Sending a letter of intent will be helpful to place yourself on the radar of employment and become more known to employers. You could have a competitive edge if you had connections into that company or organization as well, as that person can easily refer you to their heads or bosses.

In this letter, the baseline question for you to answer is why does this company interest you?

Similar to a cover letter, you need to sell yourself as well and offer ways you can add value to the company. The difference here with a cover letter, however, is that you need to convey your willingness to be open-minded with various jobs they could possibly offer you. With that, make sure to jot down experiences that may streamline the company’s goals in general. The hard and soft skills you note should be ones that can be applicable for many different occupations, as they will potentially try to fit you in as many options as they can find.  

Despite the differences of a cover letter vs. letter of interest, your main goal is to get the employer interested in you. After that’s all done, encourage them to reach out to you and discuss details further in an interview, given that they want to pursue the application with you. Overall, just present yourself with utmost respect and humility, while still showing them qualities that would make you a great asset to their company.

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