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What Is a Letter of Intent?
A letter of intent is a formal letter that expresses your intentions to do something, such as apply for an educational program or job or make a purchase. It could also be used to clarify specific points in a business transaction. A job candidate might send a letter of intent to a business if they wanted to work for the company, but there wasn't a specific job they were applying for. The candidate might submit a letter of intent along with a general application.
The letter of intent shows interest in the other party and deals with them in a respectful and professional manner. It states your intentions without actually entering into an agreement regarding the business arrangement. When a letter of intent is used between businesses, it allows the individual parties to define their relationships and their future plans without involving lawyers and generating significant legal costs. Though the document isn't legally binding, it is a show of good faith.
Other Names for a Letter of Intent
A letter of intent is sometimes referred to as a:
- Terms sheet
- Framework letter
- Letter of interest
- Intent to purchase letter
- Assurance letter
Types of Letter of Intent
Here are a few specific examples of different types of letters of intent:
- Purchase of real estate, business, or general property: You can use a letter of intent to state your intention to purchase commercial or residential property or a business. The letter should specifically state that it isn't an official purchase agreement and that the terms and conditions of the business transaction are to be stated in the actual purchase agreement that must be agreed upon by all relevant parties.
- Scholarship acceptance: A student could send a letter of intent to an institution or organization when accepting a scholarship. The letter should express appreciation for the scholarship and excitement for the opportunity.
- Graduate school: If you intend to submit an application to attend a specific graduate school, you could send a letter of intent to that university. Some schools may even require a letter of intent as part of their application process. The letter should let the recipient know that you've submitted your application and list the graduate program for which you're applying.
- Acquisition: This type of letter of intent is similar to the one that you would use when purchasing a business. However, it should be marked as confidential. As a sender, you may want to include the basic terms of the deal in addition to a nonbinding statement about the preparation of the agreement and procedures for negotiation.
- Employment: You could send a letter of intent to express interest in working for a company, even if there isn't a specific opening available. The letter can state the type of position you're interested in or whether you're looking for an opening in a particular department.
Letter of Intent Templates
Letter of Intent vs. Cover Letter
Admittedly, letters of intent can be similar to cover letters when used for the purpose of finding a job. However, there are some differences. A letter of intent:
- Is more focused on the company than a specific role
- Speaks in more general terms about the candidate's skill set
Cover letters, on the other hand, tend to be
- Focused on the specific job
- Discuss the candidate's skills as they relate to that job
How to Write a Letter of Intent
Here are the basic steps you should follow to write a general letter of intent that could be used to clear an intent to purchase or to plan a business arrangement:
- Determine the name of the recipient: While there may be situations where you need to include a general greeting, like if you're sending the letter to multiple people, in most cases, it's best to send your letter of intent to a specific individual. This will increase the likelihood that the letter will reach the right person.
- Choose the best greeting: The most common greeting is "Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name." If the person you're sending the letter to has a professional title, such as Professor or Dr., you should use that instead.
- Write the body : This part of the letter will vary depending on the purpose of your letter of intent. In general, the first paragraph should state the purpose of your letter. If you're purchasing real estate or a business, you should state the terms that are proposed for the purchase. If you're expressing interest in working for a company, you should highlight the qualifications that would make you ideally suited for a job at the company. If you're sending a letter of intent to accept a scholarship, you should express your appreciation and enthusiasm in an appropriate, professional manner.
- Include a professional closing: Always use a professional closing. "Sincerely" or "Yours truly" often work well. Write or type your name under the closing.
Tips for Writing a Letter of Intent
Here are some tips you can use to help you write a letter of intent:
- Use an appropriate format: Use a business letter format that includes both parties' contact information and the date the letter is created.
- Include a clear subject line: If you're sending your letter via email, include a concise subject line that states the purpose of the letter. If you're sending the letter in this way, you don't need to include contact information at the top of the letter for both parties. You can place your contact information under the signature at the bottom.
- Proofread carefully: Read the letter of intent closely to look for typos and grammatical errors.
- Use a professional greeting: Try to send the letter to someone specifically and greet them in a professional manner. If the letter is being sent to several people, you can use a general greeting like, "To whom it may concern."
- Use short paragraphs: You should keep your letter brief with short paragraphs to increase the likelihood that the recipient will read the letter in full. This is particularly true if you're sending a letter of intent expressing your interest in a job at a company.
- Research the company: if you're writing a letter of intent to apply for a job at a company, research the company in advance to better understand its mission and culture. This can help give you a sense of how you could potentially add value.
- Use bullet points: Consider using bullets to highlight your qualifications for a job or key points you want to emphasize in a business deal. Bullets will help to draw attention to this information and ensure it isn't overlooked when the recipient scans the letter.
- Keep your letter short: Your letter of intent should never be longer than one page.
Letter of Intent Templates
- Letter of intent for a job
- Letter of intent for a job opening
- Letter of intent for a job in the same company
- Letter of intent for a job application
- General letter of intent
If you need help drafting a letter of intent, Contracts Counsel has a team of fully vetted lawyers who have worked in over 30 different industries. They can also help you negotiate or review contracts to make sure you're legally protected during any business deal. Contact us today to get started.
Meet some of our Letter of Intent Lawyers
I represent technology and emerging growth companies at all stages of growth, from startups to mature companies. My practice includes corporate and securities law matters, corporate governance, venture capital financings, and commercial transactions, including software and technology licensing agreements, and strategic alliances. I regularly provide guidance on a range of business and legal issues, including business modeling and go-to-market strategies.
Jeff Colerick has been practicing law for over 30 years and has devoted his professional career to providing clients with intelligent representation and personal care. His experience as a lawyer involving complex matters has resulted in a long history of success. Jeff has built a practice based on a deep understanding of real estate assets and corporate activities. He combines his industry knowledge with a practical and collaborative approach to problem solving. Jeff’s client relationships are strong because they are built on mutual respect. Jeff talks the language of real estate and understands that it is a vehicle to deliver your business strategy. Jeff provides practical, responsive, and strategic advice related to real estate acquisition, construction, leasing, and sale of a wide range of real property types, including office, retail, medical, industrial, industrial flex-space, mixed-use condominium, multifamily and hospitality. As leader of the Goodspeed Merrill real estate practice group, Jeff represents clients with commercial and residential transactions, purchases and sales, land acquisition and development, real estate investment and financing, financing liens and security interests, and commercial leasing and lease maintenance, including lease enforcement support and advice. The firm represents clients in matters concerning construction, lending, developers, contractors and subcontractors, cell site leasing, property and boundary disputes, common interest community law, and residential condominiums and planned communities.
Harrison Kordestani is an executive with over twenty-five years experience in entertainment and media, energy, technologies, and start-ups. Mr. Kordestani has also developed a specialized legal and strategic consulting practice representing select entertainment, oil and gas, mortgage lending, and technology start-up clientele. He is also deeply passionate about new technologies and has also actively worked in building companies in the video-on-demand, wearable tech, information of things, demand prediction and app-marketing spaces. As an attorney, Mr. Kordestani's focus has been on transactional drafting and negotiation and providing ongoing legal counsel, corporate compliance, and contract interpretation to numerous private individuals as well as companies in varied fields.
Over 30 years of experience practicing commercial real estate and complex business litigation law.
Abraham's practice focuses on counseling emerging group companies in the technology and other commercial agreements, and assisting equity financings (specifically venture capital).
Transactional Lawyer with 15+ years of international experience working for large corporations in commercial and regulatory matters, contracts, partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, arbitration, and governance. Highly experienced in structuring, drafting, negotiating, and managing a wide range of contracts. Provide training for lawyers and non-lawyers in contract negotiation and management. Effective deal counsel and conflict mediator. A strong business strategy background coupled with business plan development, risk assessment, due diligence, and partnerships.
I am available for data privacy and cybersecurity projects. I am CIPP/US certified through the IAPP. I have also taken coursework focused on the GDPR through the London School of Economics. In my past career I was an intelligence officer. I am well acquainted with information security best practices and I have experience developing and implementing administrative controls for classified information and PII. I have worked extensively overseas and I am comfortable integrating with remote teams. Feel free to reach out any time if you have any additional questions on my areas of expertise or professional background.