Spoiler alert: a letter of intent is not the same as a cover letter. They're similar (being letters and all, and focused on yourself), but are actually used in different situations. Your cover letter is what you write when you're applying to a specific job you found through traditional channels (online job search, referral, recruiter). It details why you're a great fit for this particular job. A letter of intent is what you write when you're cold-calling (leaving a resume without being solicited for one), or applying for a job in a more general situation, like a job fair or submitting your resume to a general pool. The letter of intent is similar in that you're selling yourself, but tends to be less granular about a particular position. Letters of intent are often more networking-related, or aspirational, than position-oriented. Because you may have fewer specifics in hand about what you're applying for and who will be reading your application package, it's likely you won't have the most personalized opener. That's okay! Be general, but professional, formal, and polite.
As with any professional correspondence, you don't want to seem too stiff or formal, like you're writing a letter from a Victorian template or a bad spam email asking someone to send money to a deposed prince overseas—but you also don't want to be too conversational. You're not in a dialogue yet, so it's important to treat this like a professional first interaction, and not like you're skipping several steps and asking to meet for coffee. The tone you're reaching for is, "You don't know me yet, but I'm interested in your company and want to tell you more about why."