It is important to have a well-written letter of intent. This letter initiates the process of a legal agreement between two or more parties. Although often used in business agreements, you might also use it to secure a position as an intern, consultant, or employee for a business or for admission to a university. It is often used in lieu of a cover letter when you apply for a nonspecific job, such as at a job fair or a universal job pool.
If you omit important components of such a letter, it could lead to a broken agreement or the loss of a professional or educational opportunity. Rather than attempting to craft one on your own, look at the tips included on this page as well as our template to learn how to write a letter of intent.
How To Write a Letter of Intent
If you are not familiar with how to write a letter of intent, it might seem overwhelming to figure out the best way to proceed. Rather than stress out, review the steps below to learn the most important components to include in your letter.
1. Do some background work
Before you start crafting your letter of intent, you must know if its recipient has expectations for the communication. Universities often have specific instructions for a letter of intent for admissions or internships. Business proposals might also have criteria they expect you to meet in your letter.
Although the general outline remains the same, you need to tailor the letter to the specific situation at hand. Thus, if the business, university, or organization provides instructions, make sure to closely follow them.
2. Use the right greeting
All professional letters require a solid greeting. It is best to start with a semi-formal greeting, such as “Dear [name].” You might already know the recipient’s name, especially if you are drafting a business proposal that sets the stage for a future contract.
However, in many situations, you might not know the recipient. During your research, look for the name of the person reviewing your proposal. Do not use “Mr.” or “Mrs.” to address the recipient; it is easy to make a mistake with titles and inadvertently offend. Instead, use the person’s full name. If you know he or she has a formal title, such as “Dr.,” it is acceptable to use that.
In some situations, especially if you use a letter of intent to submit your resume into a general job pool, you will not have a name. In this situation, the standard “To whom it may concern” might be the best option. When possible, using something such as “Dear [company name] recruiter” is even better.
3. Introduce yourself or your business
Before you get too far into your letter, make sure to introduce yourself. You do not have to get into the full details in the introduction of the letter, as there is space further down to do so. However, you do want to provide context for why the recipient should continue to read.
For business proposals, this might simply be the business name and industry. For job applications, you might include a brief explanation of your job history. In university applications, it is generally standard to mention information about your current and previous education.
4. State your intent
After your brief introduction, state your intent. You want to place this as early as possible so the reader knows why you are writing. Common intentions include submitting a business proposal, applying to graduate school, applying to a job, and requesting an internship. At this point, you do not need to get into details. This should remain a brief overview, with the details to follow in proceeding paragraphs.
5. Detail the reasons for your interest
Now that you have shown your intent, you want to detail the reasons why. Perhaps you have always dreamed about working for a company due to its long-standing status as an industry leader, so you wish to intern there.
You might wish to study at a particular college because of its special focus on a particular subject or due to a particular professor. When you write a letter of intent for a business deal, you might express your excitement at the partnership due to the portfolio of the business.
6. Craft a proposal
After thoroughly introducing yourself, the purpose of your letter, and the reasons the recipient should keep reading, it is time to craft a more detailed proposal. The specifics depend on the purpose of the letter. For business projects, this is the place where you detail the work you plan to do, the costs, and other components to eventually include in the contract. Just be sure to use language that specifies the letter is not legally binding.
7. Explain why you are a good fit
The next step is to show why the recipient should accept your proposal by demonstrating your skills and qualifications. Provide concrete, measurable examples when possible. It is okay to include technical or soft skills, as well as specific examples of your job history. Avoid getting too long-winded about why you are such a good fit. It is best to keep it brief and concise. Think of it as a short marketing pitch about why you or your business is the best fit for the opening or job.
8. Close strong
Knowing how to write a letter of intent also includes understanding how to end it. The closing of your letter plays a significant role in the efficacy of the entire missive. Include a sentence or two summarizing your letter and provide a call to action.
Give your contact information if necessary and appropriate. Let the reader know about any attachments, such as your resume or a fee schedule. Always close with an expression of gratitude to the reader for taking the time to read your letter.
Letter of Intent
Below is an example of a letter of intent for an internship proposal. Review the example to see how it includes the common structures required for any letter and gain inspiration for crafting your own.
My name is Rebecca Johnson, and I am writing to express my interest in interning for the marketing team at Visionary Marketers. I am in my junior year at the University of Florida, where I study marketing and communications. The marketing campaigns your agency creates are truly innovative, and I would love the opportunity to learn from such industry leaders.
As part of my program at the university, I have the option to complete an internship for university credit, and I would love to take this opportunity to work at your agency. I propose interning for your team during the summer, starting in early June. I am happy to perform any duties required, including running errands and getting coffee.
As part of my studies, I have developed prospective digital marketing campaigns under the tutelage of my professor, Dr. Jamie McClure. He consults with your firm and suggested that I work with you, as he felt my aesthetic style complemented your own.
My love for marketing began through watching television as a child and seeing the advertisements. I ran marketing campaigns for my high school fundraisers, which increased the donations by over 20%. Currently, I am in charge of running the fundraising and outreach for my sorority. With my help, we have enhanced our reputation and created a community outreach program that has helped raise thousands of dollars for the local food bank.
I feel that my organizational skills along with my marketing and business acumen provide me with a solid foundation for being a great intern. Working with your marketing team will enhance my education, offer real-world experience, and provide the background to excel in this field upon my graduation.
Thank you for your time. I would love to meet with you personally to discuss the internship opportunity in further details. I have enclosed my resume and a reference letter from Dr. McClure. Please contact me to schedule a time to come in for a meeting.