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Written by Lyndsey McLaughlinLyndsey McLaughlin

What is a letter of introduction and how do you write one?

11 min read
What is a letter of introduction and how do you write one?
Artwork by:Evgeniya Skubina
When you are looking for a new job or client, the first step is to send a letter to introduce yourself.

A letter of introduction is the first point of contact and it allows you to tell the recipient a bit more about you, with the potential outcome of gaining a new job or business contact as a result.

You may be writing to someone you already know, or the contact may be completely new. In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the topic including:

  • What a letter of introduction is and how to write it
  • Tips for writing a complete letter
  • The difference between a letter of introduction and a cover letter
  • Sample cover letters of introduction for jobs

What is a letter of introduction?

If you are looking for a new job, you should use a range of different sources to secure a role, including applying via job boards, speaking to recruitment agencies, and direct contact. Direct contact is when you find a relevant contact from a company and contact them yourself to introduce yourself, and potentially open the doors to a new opportunity. 

For instance, you may search for the manager or director of the company you want to work in. When looking for new business, direct contact is vital as it can help you network with key contacts. You may also want to introduce yourself to people that you may want to collaborate with in the future. In these cases, a letter of introduction is the way to achieve this.

An introduction letter can also be used to introduce one contact to another. For instance, referring business to someone you know or introducing a potential new hire.

Reasons for writing an introduction letter 

An introduction letter can be used for many different situations. When a new employee starts, their manager may send an introduction letter to inform everyone about the new start, and to request that they make them feel comfortable. You might start a new job yourself, and send a letter of introduction to let clients or customers know who you are and what your role is. An introduction letter is often sent to prospective new clients in an attempt to gain a new contact or business. In other cases, candidates may send a letter of introduction to gain new contacts and hopefully, a new job.

You can write an introduction letter via email or LinkedIn message. You can write it in whatever means suits you best.

Writing your letter of introduction

Although there are many different reasons for writing a letter of introduction, you can follow the same standard structure when writing these:

Greeting

It is a good idea to start with an opening, friendly greeting, especially if you are speaking to someone you have not previously had contact with before.

Here’s an example to reach out to a connection on LinkedIn with whom you have not spoken previously.

Example

Hi John, thanks for accepting my connection. I hope this message finds you well.

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Alternatively, if you are introducing a new team member to a group at work, you could try something like this:

Example

Hi everyone, I hope you all had a great weekend.

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Your existing relationship with the recipient will determine which type of greeting to use. Always use a greeting though, as it starts the introduction letter in a positive and friendly way.

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When applying for a job, it is a good idea to include a cover letter in addition to your resume. A cover letter gives the hiring manager a brief introduction to your expertise, and it should encourage them to want to read your resume.

Purpose of Letter

The next stage of the letter of introduction is the purpose of the letter. Why are you writing to them? Everyone is busy, so you want to ‘cut to the chase’ as quickly as possible.

Here’s an example to introduce yourself to a potential client or employer.

Example

I am currently a project manager at JH&B in Chicago and I’m reaching out as I will be in New York next week and would love to grab a cup of coffee if your schedule allows.

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If you are introducing a new team member, you may write:

Example

I just wanted to send a quick note to let you know that Lisa Riley has started with us today, and she will be working in the finance department as an accounts assistant.

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Relevance of the Contact

Now that you have informed the recipient of why you have reached out to them, the next step is to explain the relevance of the contact. They know the purpose, but why, specifically, have you decided to reach out to them?

For example:

Example

As JH&B will be collaborating with Brandy Partners on the upcoming NextUs campaign, I thought it would be beneficial to connect in-person and discuss the project further.

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Help the recipient understand why you are contacting them. There is no need to go into in-depth detail here, just keep it brief and to the point.

The outcome

What outcome are you expecting from the introduction? In other words, what do you expect the recipient to do?

For example, if you are introducing a new team member, you might say:

Example

If you see Lisa this week, please welcome her and help make her feel at home in the office.

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If you are yourself, you should let the recipient know what information you are looking for in a response and how they can get in touch with you.

Example

Please let me know if Wednesday or Thursday would work for you, or feel free to get in touch via email at [email protected]

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Make sure the introduction is polite, professional and you explain who you are, why you are contacting the recipient, and what your expectations are.

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Sample letters of introduction

Sample #1: Introducing your business

Example

Hi John,

Thanks for accepting my connection request. I hope this message finds you well.

I’m reaching out to you because I have recently opened a small coffee shop on the corner of Blake Street. We supply coffees and other refreshments, such as cakes and crisps to businesses in the local area, both take away and sit in.

As you are new on the block, I wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood and invite you to come down to the shop for cake and coffee. We can also discuss the catering and refreshment services we provide if they are of interest to you. 

Let me know what day suits you. I look forward to meeting you.

Thanks,

Lucy

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Sample #2: Letter of introduction for job

Example

Dear Brian

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to inquire about any vacancies you may have at the moment in your civil engineering department.

I have a 2:1 BEng Civil Engineering, with 4 months of work experience in a local firm which has brought me invaluable experience in urban planning and infrastructure design.

I am now looking for a full-time job and I have heard only positive things about Smithson Co. I would relish the opportunity to discuss how my experience might align with your company’s needs. I look forward to hearing from you via phone or email.

Yours sincerely,

Lewis Smithers

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Expert tip

What is the difference between an introduction letter and a cover letter?

Although a cover letter is an introduction, it is not the same as an introduction letter. A cover letter is only ever sent as part of a job application, whereas an introduction letter can be sent for all kinds of purposes. An introduction letter should only be a couple of paragraphs long, whereas a cover letter may be around one page . The introduction letter is mostly sent via email or through platforms such as LinkedIn, but you can decide for yourself which format would suit you best.

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Here is exactly how you can write a cover letter that will stand out from the crowd, and help you land that interview.

Key takeaways for an introductory letter

  • Make sure you are professional in your letter and that you inform the reader of who you are and why you are contacting them.
  • Always state your expectations from the recipient.
  • Keep your letter of introduction short and to the point, there is no need to give your life story, just stick to the main facts.
  • Don’t be disappointed if the recipient isn’t interested at the moment. Keep their details and ask if you can follow it up in the future.
  • Check for spelling errors before you send and ensure you are spelling the recipient's name correctly.
  • Have a look at our cover letter examples and cover letter templates before you start building your own. 

 

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