A letter of intent is a formal document in which you express your intentions and interest to another party. It is most often used in an educational setting and is written by students wishing to gain admission into a graduate school program. However, letters of intent are also written by job seekers to potential employers. Your letter of intent shouldn't be too lengthy and should be completed in a page or two.

Step 1

Conduct a brief rhetorical analysis. Determine the purpose and audience of the letter of intent before beginning to write any content. Answer key questions like how much background information will the audience need? And what is the overall goal or purpose of this document?

Step 2

Begin the letter with a formal business heading. A sample looks like this:

Dr. John Smith, Department Chair Department of English University of Cityland Anytown, IL 11111

Step 3

Start the letter with a paragraph describing why you are writing the letter. Include information about where you learned about the program or position.

Step 4

Write a paragraph that describes general information yourself. Include what school you currently attend, what year you are in school and what your major or research interests are.

Step 5

Describe your credentials. Attempt to align your credentials with any items posted in the department's website or in a job description.

Step 6

Include a paragraph about the program or position you are applying to. Write about why you admire the program and how you would be a good fit.

Step 7

Conclude with a request for a response. Tell the reader that you desire an interview and include all contact information.

Step 8

End the letter by including "Sincerely" and your name.


Have someone else read and edit your letter of intent before sending it.

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