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Purpose of a Letter of Intent (LOI)

The purpose of a LOI is to highlight aspects of your CV relative to the position you're applying for to get an interview. From the program's perspective, the LOI is read to decide whether the candidate has the relevant skills, abilities, and experience for the position; good communication skills; and goals and interests that match what the program offers. 

Developing your LOI

The key to develop your LOI is to substantiate your attributes with detailed experiences and to reference specific achievements. For example, describe what you accomplished in your duties as a class president rather than simply state that you held this position. 

Two notable things you can do is show that you have done your research about the program and how your experiences so far have helped prepared you for particular aspects of the program. This letter should be tailored specifically to the program, and you should avoid writing a generic letter for each program. This demonstrates to the program that you have put a lot of effort and consideration into the process. 

Format

Paragraph #1

  • Express your excitement about applying

  • Remind them who you are and how you heard about the position

    • Acceptable to mention if you have been onsite for a rotation

    • Acceptable to list names (e.g. names of residents)

  • Why do you want to do a residency?

Paragraph #2

  • Why do you want to do a residency at that specific institution?

  • Do your homework (e.g. what sets their program apart from other programs?)

  • How will completing a residency help you achieve your short and long term goals?

Closing Paragraph

  • Reinforce your interest in the position

  • Indicate why you are a good fit

  • Thank the reader for their time and consideration

  • Have a closing line, salutation and include an electronic signature

LOI "Do's and Don'ts"
Do

  • Keep it concise and avoid being overly verbose

  • Keep it to 1 page

  • Use a 10-12 point font; choose a professional and simple font

  • Double check for typos and grammatical errors

  • Write your letter in the first person "I"

  • Seek peer review


Don't

  • Use bullets, lists, outlines

  • Use the same letter for all programs

  • Describe long tales of personal hardship

  • Use an overabundance of buzz words

  • Regurgitate your CV

  • Provide a generic description of you or the program

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Instead of writing like this...

"I am writing to express my interest in the PGY1 program offered at <insert hospital name>. Your program interest me due to your critical care, ambulatory care, oncology, informatics, leadership, research and surgery rotations. I enjoyed meeting your resident at Midyear. I am a dedicated, hardworking and compassionate student with a strong passion to help others. My goals are to complete PGY1 and PGY2 residencies, obtain board certification, and become a clinical pharmacist. I will bring leadership, ambition, and enthusiasm to your program. I look forward to meeting you and learning more about your residency program."

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Consider writing something like this...

"I am writing to express my sincere interest in the PGY1 program offered at <insert hospital name>. Your program interests me due to your expanded emergency medicine pharmacy program and option for additional critical care experiences. I enjoyed meeting your resident, <insert name>, at Midyear and learning about his research project on the cost-benefit analysis of pharmacists in the emergency department. After seeing my grandfather in the hospital for an acute MI and subsequent CABG, I wanted to learn as much as possible about stabilizing and treating patients with acute medical emergencies. While on APPE rotations, I have been recognized for creating engaging presentations,  utilizing a pharmacist spin on common gameshows. My career goals are to complete a PGY! and emergency medicine PGY2 residencies, obtain board certification in critical care, advocate for emergency medicine pharmacy board certification, and he lp establish pharmacist presence in the ER as standard of care. I will bring my experience conducting multiple research projects and my ability to perform best under stressful situations to your program. I look forward to meeting you and learning more about your residency program."

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