A good statement of interest can be the difference between raking in the big bucks at a new job and scrounging along paycheck-to-paycheck at your old job. The purpose of such a letter is to highlight pieces of your experience that make you the absolute best candidate for the job. When you write a statement of interest for a job, you should emphasize attributes that let would-be employers know you are not only a great applicant, but also a perfect fit for their company.
Your statement of interest needs a bold opening to grab your readers’ attention and get them interested in reading the rest of the letter. According to professor of technical communication Paul V. Anderson, honesty is the best way to simultaneously express some individuality and engage your readers with “your story.” Anderson suggests opening with a simple statement that identifies the job you’re seeking and explains why your skills and experience make you perfect for that job. For example, “My thirteen years in retail have provided me with the management and customer-care experience necessary to work as your next assistant manager.”
Detailing your on-the-job and educational experience is crucial to arguing your case for employment to prospective readers. Because your statement of interest will complement your resume or curriculum vitae, you should expand on or highlight specific experiences you believe will provide an excellent argument for your employability. For example, if during the course of a certain job you were required to solve myriad problems that were not obvious given the job’s description, you might write: “While working as a lifeguard every summer, I learned valuable lessons in maintaining collegiality and camaraderie among my fellow lifeguards.”
Anderson recognizes the statement of interest as an opportunity for job-seekers to do a little bit of bragging about themselves. He suggests that in this letter, you should explain why the various awards you’ve received over your career are important to you, and how they demonstrate your employability. For example, something as simple as a participation ribbon might show dedication and commitment to an activity about which you were initially skeptical. You might write, “Even though I was terrified of heights, I committed myself to my skydiving lessons. In the end, I was able to overcome my fear through dedication and grit, and I am proud to say I have a letter proving I did indeed jump out of a plane that was 5,000 feet in the air!”
Your ability to explain to potential employers how your experiences and skills will translate to their company is perhaps the most important part and should appear in the final paragraph or two of your letter. This shows your ability to identify the needs the company is searching for beyond the limited text they provide in the job description. You might reuse some of the language they use in a job flier or a corporate website. For example, if they use words like “synergy,” “cohesion,” and “teamwork,” you might include a final statement or two along the lines of, “Throughout my five years of programming experience, I’ve learned to work well with both small and large teams to build coherent and fully-integrable programs that have been vital to our company’s success.”