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Formulating a letter of intent to volunteer

OrganichuOrganichu poopspeesRegistered User, Moderator mod
edited June 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
There's a major museum opening near my place of employment. I'm interested in the topic and would like to devote some time to the project. It's going to be quite the undertaking (.25 billion to build the museum IIRC) and apparently the group in charge is quite selective. I was told to submit both a letter of intent and a resume. I figure the resume should be standard (though likely highlighting my previous volunteering experiences). However how should I handle the letter of intent? Of this I'm completely ignorant.


Organichu on


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    ihmmyihmmy Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    a letter of intent is basically like a cover letter... if you've written those, write one for this volunteer position

    ihmmy on
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    OrganichuOrganichu poops peesRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2008
    I can't say I've ever written a cover letter. I guess I'll Google templates.

    Organichu on
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    CauldCauld Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    A good cover letter follows a simple formula. I don't have access to mine right now, so I'll try this from memory. You should basically write their wanted ad back to them, with perhaps a small mention of why that specific employer.

    So if the ad says they're looking for team players who like stress and have 2-3 years of experience picking up golf balls to join a locally expanding nationally retailer, your cover letter should say something like:

    "I am a team player who thrives in a high stress environemnt and have spend the last 3 years picking up golf balls."

    You might want to be more verbose than that. In another part put in how you would love to have an opportunity working at a well established company that is expanding rapidly in your area. a little extra research on the companies website would help you throw in a couple more company talking points.

    Cauld on
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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    First, think of your cover letter/letter of intent as a wholly separate entity from your resume. Both are supposed to independantly advertise you in different ways. Your resume is an advertisement of your qualifications. A cover letter/letter of intent is an advertisement of your desires and what you are looking to get out of whatever you are applying for. Many employers are interested in both and even the best resume has trouble communicating the latter type of data.

    Second, no offense to the guy above me, but please don't merely parrot whatever they happen to be looking for. This isn't a high school essay. You want to stand out and you want to communicate your strengths. Saying "oh you're looking for an experienced golf ball carrying and I've been successfully holding onto the same two balls my entire life" isn't going to cut it.

    Third, most people suggest doing an ample amount of research into the business you are applying for. What constitutes "ample" is up to you to decide, but a cover letter/letter of intent is always more powerful when you show competence and a thorough knowledge of the business you are applying for, which also communicates a distinct interest in the position (to the potential hirer). If possible, it also helps to know some information about the person you are sending the letter too. Obviously this isn't very possible if you're sending it to the museum's HR department and don't have a specific individual to send it to, but if you can, any personalization you can put into it is helpful.

    Essentially, you want to communicate why you think you would be good in the position (without parroting the job advertisement either word for word or even by paraphrasing), what you are looking to get out of taking the position, any flattering information you may have heard about the institution that relates to your career goals (e.g. if they have a unique lab and you have a unique or skill that is under-represented in modern society that can be utilized in the lab, mention it) - but don't write a love letter, and any skills you think you might bring to the table in this position that would aid them in whatever it is you are applying to do, as well as any skills you think this position might help YOU cultivate.

    In short, advertise yourself, but in a completely different way than your resume. It's a letter of intent. It's basically like the "Objective" section that many people put on their resumes (I don't anymore, it's stupid), but expanded to a sensible length. They really just want to know why you want the job and, by extension, why you think you are good for the job in a non-resume-y way.

    Drez on
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