Most of the time, when you write a cover letter, it’s part of your job application, a letter that explains your interest in a particular position and briefly states why you’re a good candidate for it. But if you’re simply interested in a company or organization and want to work there, or even if you want to know if there any open positions that you’d be a good for, you can write a letter of interest instead.
Your standard cover letter includes, among the reasons why you’re a good fit for the job and references to your specific résumé, a statement of why you’re interested in the position and, with that, why you’re interested in the company.
In a nutshell, that’s what your entire letter of interest would be; rather than cover why you’re perfect for a specific job, you write why the company interests you and what value your skills, experience, education and so on would bring to it.
This letter is about finding a job, so make sure to point out that your interest is in the hope of connecting with open positions or jobs that may be available in the near future. It will also be most effective if it’s addressed not generally to human resources, but to a specific person—a networking contact is fine, but if you can find a person in your target department, or even the person who manages it, you’ll be making the best connection. LinkedIn can help with finding the right person to address your letter to.
As with any aspect of a job search, you can’t count on hearing back just because you put yourself out there, but you can do your best to stand out and make sure that you’re remembered when hiring time comes.
First, follow up. You should say in your letter that you’ll follow up via phone or email, anyway, but then do it. Keep a schedule if you need to—“Call Ms. Baker at Company X on the first of every month.” This will keep your name fresh in their minds, and it shows that you’re serious and proactive about your career.
Second, try to network with people in the company, even the people that you’re following up with. Connecting on LinkedIn is just a start; visit career fairs and industry events that are open to the public, and seek out any representatives from the company. Have a card or other information handy.
And third, when you’re following up, you can also request an informational interview or even a job shadow, both of which give you a chance to meet potential co-workers and managers in person and make a great impression.