A letter of interest is NOT the same as a cover letter.
What A Cover Letter Is:
While you may think you know what cover letters are, there may be more to them than you thought. A Cover letter is used in a manner that allows the reader to learn more about you, and how you could be a potential fit to their organization based on your skills and interests. The cover letter is in essence a business letter meant to capture the attention of a potential employer when applying for a specific job listing. A good cover letter will address a specific position and/or organization, and show that you have taken interest. They are written in a manner that they please the reader; focus on how you would fit the position, not why the position would be good for you.
What A Letter of Interest Is:
Though similar to a cover letter, a letter of interest has a few varying traits. For example, a letter of interest is more appropriate in a situation where an employer may be hiring, but does not have a specific job opening. You introduce yourself in a similar manner to the cover letter, stating why you are a fit for the organization and what benefits you can bring. A letter of interest should cover a few wider reasons of how you would be beneficial to the organization you are inquiring about. For example, laying out important prior experience you will pontificate on in your resume, such as internships and summer work.
So What’s the Difference?
When it comes down to it, the differences are slight but important. A cover letter should be used for applying for specific job openings that you are aware of, while a letter of interest is more fitting when an organization may not have a specific opening listed.
Preparing Professional Cover Letters.” University of Michigan. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013. http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/downloads/Cover%20Letter%20Handout.pdf
Cover Letters.” Buffalo State. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013. <http://www.buffalostate.edu/offices/cdc/cover.html>.
Letters of Interest – Career Services – Oakland University.” Letters of Interest – Career Services – Oakland University. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013. <http://www.oakland.edu/?id=12366>