How to start a cover letter

Cover letter heading

When applying for a job, how to start a cover letter? Start your cover letter with a bang by including your most impressive points in the opening paragraph. A potential employer will often spend no more than a few seconds looking at your application.

If the first paragraph of your cover letter doesn’t interest them, it’s unlikely that they’ll read the rest. So what exactly should those opening sentences say? Remember that your goal is to set yourself apart from the pack. The point of a cover letter is to introduce yourself, explain why you’re writing, and highlight your qualifications for the job. Consider why you should be invited to an interview by the hiring manager rather than the other applicants.

What Should Your Cover Letter Opening Contain?

 

When you’re wondering how to start a cover letter, begin with the writer outlining three critical points to the prospective employer:

  • Contact details are included in the header: Contain both your and the recipient’s contact information.
  • Regards Made to the Manager: Cover letters should begin with a salutation to the attention of the recruiting manager, division, or organization.
  • An intriguing first paragraph: Start your cover letter off strongly so recruiters will want to read more.

How To Start A Cover Letter?

 

To make an excellent first impression with your cover letter, consider the following:

Communicate your enthusiasm about the company

This is a great time to express your admiration for the company’s brand or share your experience with the company’s products and services. Companies appreciate employees who are genuinely excited about their work. This is because such individuals tend to be highly motivated and productive.

 

Example: “I’ve attended many of your firm’s public events; therefore, I was thrilled to see that Company ABC is looking for an event manager with experience in raising company profile and fueling expansion through high-traffic events. I am confident in my suitability for the position because of my five years of experience planning and executing corporate events.

 

Draw attention to a shared connection

The opening of your cover letter is an excellent place to mention a referral from a former coworker for this position. The hiring manager will be curious to learn more about the individual who has given you such high praise for the position. 

 

Example: “This is a great opportunity, and I’m thrilled that Alex Johnson told me about it. I’ve worked with him closely at XYZ Company for several years, most recently on a complicated data analysis project. For some reason, he thought I’d be a good fit for this role on your team.”

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Point the way with a notable achievement

Create an attention-grabbing first paragraph highlighting a significant accomplishment and concrete examples of your success. Here, it’s crucial to make the connection between your prior experience and the real business value you were able to bring to the table.

Example: “In just one month, I was able to increase Company X’s Instagram followers by over 100% and generate over $25,000 in revenue from two separate Facebook ad campaigns. If hired as Company ABC’s social media manager, I will leverage my experience in organically growing social reach and generating a return on investment.”

 

Bring up something worthy of attention

Start your cover letter with some flattery and proof that you’ve done your homework. You can make a great first impression by referencing a recent news story about the company you’re applying to and explaining why you admire them. If you want your compliments to come across as genuine, reference a recent accomplishment or a significant milestone for the company.

Example: “The triple-digit revenue growth and dedication to renewable energy and waste reduction at Company ABC inspired me when I read about them in Fortune Magazine last month. I’m interested in hearing more about the account executive position at your company, as it would allow me to put my experience in cutting costs by 30 percent or more and encouraging greener workplaces to good use in helping your business grow and make a positive impact on the world.”

 

Show some passion for your work

The key to success is the ability to channel one’s enthusiasm into productive action. Since recruiters want to hire people who will promote their company and have a strong work ethic, opening with a statement about your motivations and interests is a great way to get their attention.

Example: “Ever since I ran the school newspaper as editor in chief in middle school, writing has been my life’s work. I’ve been writing for over a decade, and in that time, I’ve built up a readership of 20,000+ on my blog, had articles displayed on Forbes and Teen Vogue with over 40,000 views combined, and founded a writing workshop for at-risk youth.

 

Make use of your creativity and sense of humor

Every day, HR professionals wade through dozens of standard cover letters. A humorous opening to your cover letter can help you stand out from the competition and get the hiring manager’s attention. However, avoid being too offbeat in the introduction to your cover letter. Your tone should be professional, but it should also reflect the position you’re applying for and the company you’re targeting.

You should also keep the introduction to your cover letter to a minimum of words. Although originality in your cover letter can help you stand out, remember that many managers will find anything over the standard length tedious. Do background reading on the business to see if a lighthearted tone is welcome before using it in your cover letter.

Example: “I jumped at the chance to apply for your open position at GoGourmet Studios since I am a native Internet user and am enamored (yes, obsessed) with the GoGourmet app. I had no idea the difference between a meat shank and ham steak until I started watching GoGourmet’s videos. Even though I am not a great cook, I consider myself a sommelier on social media. With over three years of experience in the field, I am confident that my versatility and practical knowledge of branding make me the perfect fit to assist GoGourmet in increasing its online visibility and customer base.

Sample cover letter templates…

 

Create a belief statement as your starting point

To make a good impression on the hiring manager, begin your cover letter with a short and powerful belief statement that reflects the organization’s values and goals.

Example: “I believe it’s important for students to be able to learn at their own pace, follow their interests in the classroom, and engage in hands-on activities that foster development, particularly in the STEM fields.”

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