Letters of Interest for Residency Applicants

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Letters of Interest for Residency Applicants

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Greetings everyone! As the 2024 ERAS Match season is underway, I want to discuss an important document, the Letters of Interest (LOI). Embarking on the journey toward securing a residency position in the United States can be exciting yet challenging for applicants. With limited spots and fierce competition, applicants must find effective ways to stand out. One powerful tool in their arsenal is the Letter of Interest, a persuasive document that allows applicants to express their genuine passion, commitment, and qualifications to their desired program. In this blog, we will delve into the art of crafting compelling Letters of Interest that captivate Residency Program Directors and boost your chances of securing an interview at the program.

Before we start, if you are looking for a letters of interest and intent templates, sign up here!

What is the purpose of a Letters of Interest?

A letter of interest is a unique opportunity for applicants to go beyond the boundaries of their application documents, such as the curriculum vitae (CV) and personal statement (PS). It allows candidates to convey their interest in a particular residency program and highlight relevant experiences, skills, and attributes that make them an ideal fit. This letter is an avenue to showcase your individuality and passion for a specific program, hoping to receive an interview in exchange.

Letters of interest allow applicants to demonstrate their understanding of the program’s values, mission, and unique attributes. Applicants can express their eagerness to contribute to the program’s goals, participate in research or scholarly activities, and engage with the local community. Sharing specific examples of how your skills and experiences align with the program’s objectives can strengthen your case and make a compelling argument for your selection.

Who should you write the Letter of Interest to?

You can write a letter of interest to all residency programs you are interested in. The letter is typically addressed to the Program Director, with the Program Coordinator included in the loop.

Looking for detailed letters of interest templates?

When should you write a letter of interest?

Ideally, you should send out your letter of interest after you submit and certify the residency program list. Since the ERAS application deadline tends to be burdensome, it is advisable to draft a letter beforehand. Sending the letter of interest early gives the program director and selection committee sufficient time to review your letter and consider your candidacy before offering interviews. Remember that residency programs can receive many applications, so submitting your letter early can help you stand out and demonstrate your proactive approach.

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What should you include in your letter of interest?

First and foremost, begin by introducing yourself. Provide your full name, background information, and any relevant experiences or qualifications you possess. Your introduction will set the stage for the reader and give them a sense of who you are. Do NOT be shy to include your strengths (including your scores if you have achieved high scores) as your qualifications are what will get the interview.

Next, in the body of your letter, emphasize and describe your interest in the residency program. Explain why you are drawn to that program, highlighting its strengths and aligning them with your career goals. Be genuine and heartfelt in your words, as conveying your enthusiasm and commitment is important. Residency programs are looking to find the perfect fit, so it is crucial to highlight your achievements, experiences, and skills that make you a strong candidate for that specific program.

In addition, consider mentioning relevant extracurricular activities or leadership roles you have undertaken. This could include participation in medical organizations, community service initiatives, or volunteering experiences. Such involvement showcases your well-roundedness and ability to contribute beyond the medical setting in the residency program.

Lastly, conclude your letter expressing gratitude for the opportunity to apply and reiterate your genuine interest in the program. Tell the reader that you eagerly await the chance to contribute to their institution and learn from experienced faculty members.

Where can I find examples of letters of interest?

You can get Free samples of letters of interest by signing up to our list HERE.

Do's

  • Keep the letter short and precise; the less, the better. 
  • Be specific to the residency program and specialty.
  • Research the program thoroughly before deciding to write a Letter of Interest.
  • Explain how you would be a good fit by aligning with the program goals.
  • Describe how the program will help you achieve your professional goals.
  • Your current role, especially if recent and not included in the ERAS CV.
  • Sound confident and own up to your achievements.
  • Mention if you know any attendings or residents in the program.
  • Mention if you have rotated/ worked in the institution before.
  • Provide your ECFMG ID and contact details for quick correspondence.
  • Mention if you have signaled the program for the Match season.
  • Including your ERAS CV for a glance is optional since they can access your ERAS profile.

Don'ts

  • Explain your CV.
  • Sound desperate; the letter hints at your interest in the program and should not signify desperation.
  • Send out too many generic letters; Instead, focus on a few programs and draft good letters specific to them.
  • Mention you know someone in the program when you barely know them since they may be contacted regarding your application. If they do not respond positively or sound doubtful, it may hurt your chances of an interview.
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Final thoughts

Remember, a Letter of Interest is your chance to stand out and leave a lasting impression. Be sincere, passionate, and genuine in your writing. Tailor the letter to each program, demonstrating that you have done your research and are genuinely interested in what they offer. By presenting yourself as a well-rounded and dedicated candidate, you increase your chances of securing a coveted residency position in the United States.

And don’t forget to grab your FREE letters of interest examples here.

I hope this blog helps you craft a well-structured and personalized letter to enhance your chances of standing out among a competitive pool of applicants. Good luck with the ERAS Match season!

Vikyath Satish, MBBS; Malke Asaad, MD
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