A letter of intent for employment most commonly goes by another name: cover letter. A letter of intent is simply an introduction to the resume. It is most often referred to as a letter of intent because it gives specific details as to the purpose of the resume submission. The actual resume functions as a general overview of your overall experience and skill set, but the letter of intent points out how your experience relates to their specific needs.
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Debate About Effectiveness
There is an ongoing debate among hiring managers as to the relevancy of letters of intent in modern days. When most resumes were received by mail, a letter of intent was seen more as an introduction to the resume. Some argue as to whether hiring managers even pay attention to letters of intent or skip over it for the purpose of reading the resume first.
While it is true that some hiring managers may skip over the letter of intent all together, still many others go back to the letter of intent later in the process. Many employers use the letter of intent as a way to judge and grade the overall written communication skills of the applicant. They will also look for other indicators that may display personality, wit and character.
Things To Avoid
When writing your letter of intent, there are a few things that you should avoid. First, avoid printing out your letter of intent on coloured paper. Some make the mistake of believing that adding some kind of colour may increase the chance of their letter being read. Also, stay away from any crazy designs or creative font. Always be professional; the recipient is judging who you are as a candidate from the overall feel of the letter. Another useful tip is to avoid sending a generic letter of intent. It should never be addressed "to whom it may concern."
Things To Remember
Probably the most important point to remember when designing a letter of intent is to always tailor it to each specific job. Many candidates miss the value in this simple point. They mistakenly believe that they can just send their generic version and it will work for them. However, you will be better served to take a few minutes and add a few specific experiences that are related to the open position.
Also, you need to include a "call to action" on the resume. Inform the reader that you will give them a call in a few days and answer any questions that they might have. Incorporating these simple ideas will get you more interviews, which is the ultimate goal in writing a letter of intent.
The Accomplishments Format
This version of a letter of intent is designed to specifically emphasis your major accomplishments. The accomplishments can be displayed in order of previous employers. The letter will begin with an introductory paragraph and will lead into the accomplishments listed by bullet points.
The Overall Skill Set Format
The overall skill set format is similar to the accomplishments format in that it begins with a basic introductory paragraph and is followed by bullet points. However, each bullet point highlights a specific skill set.