How to write a letter of introduction
You'll need to write an introduction letter when you're looking for new job opportunities or seeking career advice. It's a standard part of the process when networking. Knowing how to write a letter of introduction effectively can make or break a professional relationship as it's the first point of contact you have with this new person. You don't want to make a poor first impression.
This article will discuss everything you need to know about how to write a letter of introduction. We'll take you through the structure to follow, give you some tips, and show you some introduction letter examples for writing a note on your own behalf or someone else's.
What is a letter of introduction?
A letter of introduction is a standard letter written primarily for job seekers as part of their job search process to introduce themselves to a prospective employer. However, they have other uses, too.
There are different types of introduction letters. A boss might write a letter of introduction to the department to inform them of a new colleague, or you might speculatively send a letter to someone hoping they can help you network in the same industry. You could also send an introduction letter to enquire about job openings or get career advice from someone you hope to have a professional relationship with.
Another kind could be if you've been given contact details of someone from a mutual acquaintance, and you're getting in touch to introduce yourself and set up a meeting. In the world of business and networking, this happens all the time.
Introduction letters primarily have a formal tone because you're introducing yourself to someone you haven't met and don't want to give them a poor first impression.
Despite being called a letter, it doesn't have to be a letter. More commonly, it would take the form of an introductory email.
Is an introductory letter the same as a cover letter?
While a letter of introduction seems similar to a cover letter, they aren't the same. A cover letter is an opportunity for you to sell yourself, stating specifically why your skills and experience make you suitable for a job. You should always tailor your cover letter for the job application.
Keep your letter concise and to the point. An introductory letter should be much shorter than a cover letter. You only want to briefly introduce yourself and explain why you're writing to that person.
Structure of an introduction letter
When you write an introduction letter, you'll be inquiring about a specific job or developing a personal connection with the recipient to work with them in the near future. Let's look at an introduction letter structure, so you don't go wrong when you're writing yours.
Before sending a letter of introduction, if you're writing it on behalf of someone else, make sure they want you to make contact. If the person you're introducing the person to is someone you know pretty well, you should chat with them first before making formal contact.
If you're starting your letter of introduction to someone you know, you can use a more friendly greeting. But if it's to someone you've never met, you should be more formal.
Here are some introduction examples for when you're greeting someone you don't know:
- Dear Sir/Madam
- Dear Mr/Mrs
- To Whom It May Concern
Whereas, if you are greeting someone you've met before, you can address them directly and reference how you met them:
- Hi James, thank you for accepting my contact request
- Hello Bill, I appreciate you giving me your contact details at the event last week
Or you can keep it simple like these introduction examples:
- Dear Niall
- To Hannah
Relevance of an introduction letter
Next up, you need to state why you're contacting them and give them context. If the letter of introduction is on your own behalf, you should explain why you're reaching out. If you're introducing them to someone else, you can name the person and explain briefly why you're connecting them.
This shouldn't be any longer than a few sentences and one paragraph. Here is an example for each:
- I saw your advert stating you're looking for a freelance copywriter to complete press releases. I have been a freelance copywriter for seven years and have experience creating press releases. I believe I have the skills and knowledge necessary for this posting.
- Paige is a former colleague of mine who is interested in breaking into marketing. As you've over a decade's experience in this field, I thought you would be ideally placed to give her some career advice. I've worked with Paige before and can attest to her talent for marketing.
Elaboration of details
Now you're going to expand further on yourself or the details of the person you're introducing them to. Again, this should be no longer than a paragraph. It should be a snapshot of your (or their) background and relevant to the job opportunity or reason you're making contact. It should be enough to get them interested and entice them into an informational interview.
Let's look at an example:
- Before freelance writing, I worked in a marketing and communications department for three years. In addition to my freelance copywriting experience, that has given me a great deal of experience writing press releases. I have various media contacts, excellent time management and organisational skills, and experience working to tight deadlines.
- I worked with Paige at Brand Ltd, where she was instrumental in creating a new marketing strategy and developing content for the campaign across various social media platforms. She demonstrated an excellent understanding of marketing concepts. Now, she is a communications assistant for Harrow & Co and writes excellent copy used in press releases.
Towards the end of the introduction letter, you'll state your ideal outcome for your professional relationship in the future. You can mention what benefit you think making contact and working together will bring both parties. This section doesn't have to be long. It could be just one sentence.
Using the same examples above, let's tie that together:
- I would love to discuss this job opportunity with you further and see what other projects I can support you with in the future.
- After speaking with Paige, she wanted me to send you her contact details for some support in officially moving into marketing. She may be able to help with some of your marketing needs, too, to prevent you from outsourcing the work.
Lastly, you need to provide contact details, either for yourself or someone else, and then end the letter. Again, ensure to use a professional tone when you do this.
- If you'd like to arrange a meeting, you can respond to this email or contact me on 07XXXXXXXXX.
- Paige's telephone number is 07XXXXXXXXX, and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org. She is available on Mondays and Tuesdays if you'd like to meet. I hope it goes well.
Tips for writing an introduction letter
When you start writing an introduction letter, it's essential to keep it brief. You don't want it to be any longer than a page. Be direct and concise. Here are some tips to keep you on the right track.
When you finish writing, take a breather and step away from the introduction letter. Once you come back, you want to proofread and edit it. A letter filled with grammatical and spelling mistakes will not make anyone want to hire you or contact you to discuss it further.
Make sure you proofread your letter to prevent any mistakes from getting through. Also, practice reading it out loud. If you stumble over any sentences, then it needs to be restructured.
Remember this is going to a professional contact, business contact, or hiring manager, so it should be a formal letter. You won't be using slang words or complicated jargon. Keep a professional tone throughout.
If you want someone to consider you for a job opening, you must come across well. Nobody will be interested in hiring someone who writes informally as it demonstrates you won't be professional regarding the job either.
Address the recipient directly
When you write a letter, always try to address a specific person. This may require carrying out some research to find out the name of the hiring manager if you're sending it to a business. But it's always worth doing.
People will be impressed if you've taken the time to research their names and address them directly.
Keep it short and relevant
Remember, you're not the only person who may send introduction letters to this person, so keep it brief and make every sentence relevant. There is no point in rambling or going off on a tangent about specific skills that have no meaning to the job opportunity.
You don't want more than a few paragraphs (one for each section of the structure we outlined above) and no more than a few sentences in each one.
The key takeaways are that introduction letters are generally written to make professional contacts and discover new job opportunities. They have other uses and can be used by the hiring manager to get a recommendation letter for you or introduce you to a new team when you start a new job.
An introductory letter is not the same as a cover letter. When you write an introduction letter, you should keep it short and relevant, remain focused on the point, and address a specific person when you write it, if you can. Usually, you will send it to a professional contact or prospective employer, so keep a professional tone throughout the letter.
Now you know everything about writing introduction letters, it's time to go and create your own!