A statement of interest is the best and often the only chance you have to sell yourself when applying for a job. That's why it is important to make yours stand out--doing so will help ensure that your statement is read, and it will help you get an interview or stay in the running for the job. Make sure you have an original cover letter tailored to each job you apply for; it's worth taking the extra time.
A statement of interest should not be longer than one page. Not only are the people reading your applications busy (often they will simply stop reading after the first page) but writing a compelling case for why they should hire you in one page shows that you have good organizing and writing skills.
A good general format for a statement of interest is to begin with a story or anecdote that catches the attention of the reader. For example, if you are applying for an accounting job and in a previous position you found 30 errors in a company's financial statements on your first day of work, that would be a good anecdote. It is interesting, unique, and shows your abilities as an accountant. Go on to briefly state your qualifications. State why they should hire you--what can you do for the company that someone else cannot? Finish with your contact information and a thanks for the company's consideration.
Make it about them
Don't let your statement read like a list of your achievements. A few of your best achievements should be included, but what company officials want to know is how your skills line up with what they're trying to achieve. Find a way that your experience applies to the company or organization--it shows the employer that you have thought about the job and are enthusiastic about what they do.Every company has goals and values; research them to make sure you can tap into those values in your cover letter. For example, if you are applying to work at a local news station in a small community and you have experience working in another small town, emphasize your ability to understand your audience and to report on issues that are important to the community.
Don't have one generic cover letter or statement of interest. Make sure you tailor it to the organization and the job that you are applying for. Again, research the company or organization before you apply to learn what's important to them and what the position requires. For example, is the company known for being environmentally friendly? Emphasize any work experience you have that could apply: "During my time at Example Corporation, I helped to develop a more eco-friendly system for filing that resulted in the use of 66 percent less paper at the company headquarters. As the manager of Department B at Sample Organization, I would constantly work to decrease the paper and power usage among my staff."
Claim the Job
When you are writing about what you can do for the company, phrase it like this: "As the editorial director for Sample Magazine, I will..." . This lets the person reading your resume know that you have thought in-depth about the job and what it will require. Plus, it makes you sound more confident.
Have someone edit your cover letter before you send it in. Editors are available for hire through several online sites (see Resources). This is a good idea for anything you write, but employers reviewing your statement of interest will be looking for small, carelessly made errors. Something as small as a misspelling can cause your application to go straight into the trash.
- writing image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com