How to Start a Cover Letter With Examples and Tips
What's the best way to start a cover letter for a job? The first sentence or two of your cover letter are the most important ones. Recruiters and hiring managers might spend mere seconds scanning your application. To make your cover letter stand out, you need to grab their attention right away.
What should these all-important first sentences say? Keep in mind that you’re hoping to differentiate yourself from the competition.
That might mean highlighting a contact, providing a quick window into your relevant background and experience, and/or emphasizing a significant accomplishment.
Think about why the hiring manager why he or she should select you, above all other candidates, for an interview, and you’ll be on the right track.
How to Start a Cover Letter
Be direct. In these opening sentences, you want to explicitly let the reader know which position you're applying for. For example:
"I am interested in the Coordinator position at ABC company."
Mention a contact. If someone referred you to the position, include that information as well. For example:
"Jane Doe let me know about the job, and suggested I apply for the position."
State an accomplishment. Try to state an accomplishment from your previous job. If you can, show how you added value to the previous company you worked for. You might even add the job title you had if it is similar to the one you are applying for.
Express excitement. Convey your passion for your work, and your excitement about the job and company. Your cover letter is an opportunity to sell yourself to the hiring manager, and to share why you're well qualified for the job. For example:
"I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss what I have to bring to the position at ABC company."
Use keywords. If you can include any keywords from the job listing, do so. For example, you might mention a skill you have that was included in the listing. Don't overdo it though. You want your letter to read naturally, not appear like it's stuffed with keywords.
Personalize Your Cover Letter
When you're not sure how to get started, review these examples of cover letter openings, but be sure to tailor your introduction to your personal circumstances and the job for which you are applying.
The more you personalize your cover letter to show that you're a match for the job requirements, the better your chances of getting selected for an interview.
Cover Letter Opening Sentence Examples
- As an Information Technology professional with high-level management experience in the IT industry, I learned that the best way to achieve success was to motivate the resources I had with well-defined objectives and empowerment.
- I am very interested in the entry-level position that is available at ABC Investment Partners. I recently graduated from XYZ University College and my courses in investments, finance, and business have given me a solid base upon which I plan to build to build my career.
- I am writing to express my strong interest in the International Marketing position open at WellCam, Inc. My colleague Janna Doling recommended that I contact you directly about this position, due to my years developing successful campaigns for XYZ Company.
- I'm writing to express my interest in the Editorial Assistant position listed on Monster.com. Given my five years of editorial experience and excellent capabilities, I would appreciate your consideration for this position.
- I have a very strong interest in pursuing a teaching career. With experience working at both the elementary and high school levels, as well as in activities outside of the traditional classroom, I have a diverse background with much to offer.
- I have the pleasure of being acquainted with one of the Counselors on your staff, Eleanor Seville. She let me know about the open position and recommended that I contact you.
- I was excited to read about the Administrative Assistant job opening at XYZ company. I have several years of administrative experience in a variety of fields including insurance and finance.
- It is my understanding that you have been deluged with resumes since Computer World released their list of the best companies at which to work. Mine is one more, but I do have experience that is hard to come by.
- My proven track record of successfully performing complex analyses on various corporations makes me an ideal candidate for the Analyst opportunity that you have advertised
What to Write In the Rest of Your Cover Letter
Here are more examples of each section, plus samples of complete cover letters.
Read More:Top 10 Cover Letter Writing Tips | What to Include in a Cover Letter | Email Cover Letters
It’s time to dump the old line: “Please accept this application in response to…”
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If you’re still starting your cover letter with this overused one-liner, then I implore you to stop what you’re doing, delete the line, and spend a few minutes reading this article to discover seven new examples of how you can catch the hiring manager’s attention with an attention-grabbing opening line.
Entice them with the job title and some of your standout accomplishments…
1. As an IT Director for ABC Company, I manage IT operations for a 500+ employee organization. Since I was recruited in 2005, my goal has been to modernize and scale the technology landscape and drive forward initiatives to expand the capabilities, systems, and performance across the organization. To date, the results have been impressive, including transition to a new Storage Area Network (SAN), Microsoft desktop environment, data warehouse, and Internet technology tools. Further, I have captured more than $2.5 million in development and operating cost reductions.
Keyword-rich opening lines that demonstrate fit…
2. I am a veteran Construction Manager with extensive experience in the designing, planning, budgeting, staffing, and on-site supervision of new construction and renovation projects. With 15+ years in construction and project management, I bring to ABC Company value-added expertise in:
3. As an accomplished Chief Financial Officer, I possess broad cross-functional experience in emerging, high-growth, and well-established corporations. Unlike other finance executives, my focus has not been limited to just finance but includes strategic planning, change management, system implementations, and business operations, as well as the performance improvement of teams. Highlights of my career include:
4. Designing, developing, and leading physical fitness training programs are my passions and my expertise. My 11+ years of progressive leadership experience in the U.S. Air Force, together with my upcoming ACE certification and my achievements in fitness instruction and coaching, make me an excellent candidate for your Personal Trainer position.
Highlight the fact you can meet their needs to keep them reading…
5. Cultivating relationships to deliver exceptional results is what I do best. Whether in a start-up situation or a high-growth organization, I have consistently increased sales and customer satisfaction through my ability to develop first-class sales solutions and drive professional excellence. Highlights of my career that may be of interest to you include:
6. Cross-cultural communication, multi-departmental collaboration, and producing highly detailed and dependable administrative and marketing support are what I do best.
7. Delivering massive value to my clients has been the focus of my career for the past 13 years. In my role as ___________ for ABC Company, I have unfailingly provided my clients with strategies, action plans, and the leadership necessary to enhance people, processes, and technologies. In addition, I have established a solid reputation for assessing challenges, creating solutions, and responding quickly to changing business requirements. This is the value I offer to XYZ Corporation.
Words to remember…
It’s important to remember your cover letter should be a brief introduction that demonstrates fit and motivates the employer to read your resume. If you’re narrating your whole life story or using the same old line that’s been written a million times before, then you’re not really captivating the reader or communicating the most vital information necessary to win the interview.
Using these simple points as guidelines and the cover letter samples provided above as a starting point, create your own unique and captivating opening line that draws the reader in and keeps them interested.
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This post was originally published at an earlier date.
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About the author
Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter. Want to work with the best resume writer? If you would like us to personally work on your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile—and dramatically improve their response rates—then check out our professional and executive resume writing services at GreatResumesFast.com or contact us for more information if you have any questions.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a Work It Daily-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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