Posted on by James Hu
Writing a great cover letter opening statement is important. It encapsulates who you are and describes what value you can bring to the company. It encourages the hiring manager to read the rest of your cover letter. Make sure your opening statement is persuasive – and memorable – with these five tips.
1. Don’t be generic or obvious.
Some of theworst cover letter opening statements aren’t specific. Don’t write “To Whom It May Concern,” but actually figure out who is doing the hiring for the position and write specifically to that person. You also don’t want to include any generic formalities or waste space by writing obvious statements. These can be:
- “My name is…”
- “I am writing to express my interest…”
- “I have also enclosed my resume…
2. Replace generic opening statements with dynamic ones.
- All of the best examples replace generic, non-specific phrasing with ashort description of who you are or reasons you’re excited by the company’s opening. Try these examples:“I’m a dynamic educator with six years of experience teaching fourth grade math and science.”
- “As the social media manager for _____, I have implemented new tactics that have increased our Twitter followers by 10 percent.”
- “I was excited to see a position open at _____ because your work with low-income families has long been an inspiration to me.”
3. Create a natural segue between the opening statement and the introduction.
Your opening statement should flow easily into the rest of the opening paragraph. To improve flow, your opening statement should be as concise as possible. Remember, don’t write out your entire life history or work experience. Instead, make sure that you’re answering these questions:
- Who are you?
- Where have you’ve worked?
- What are your major accomplishments?
- How can you succeed at the company?
4. Learn to write an email cover letter.
Increasingly, a modern cover letter is sent via email. If you’re in IT, for example, you always want to write a cover letter email. To nail the email cover letter opening, keep your first paragraph limited tounder 150 words. This opening should hook the reader by detailing your abilities.
5. Tailor the opening statement by matching keywords.
You want your opening statement to fit the job description exactly. UseJobscan to match your cover letter to the keywords used on the job posting. Jobscan will identify keywords from the posting you need to include in your cover letter – meaning that it will be easier for the hiring manager to see how you would fit into the company.
Also be sure to download thesecover letter templates to see successful versions of cover letter opening statements.
Example Cover Letter Opening Lines
Cover letter openers are often pretty generic, but they don’t have to be. "Most cover letters begin with something like, 'In response to your job advertisement, I'm forwarding my resume for your review and consideration,'” says Abby Locke, speaker, writer and president of Washington, DC-based Premier Writing Solutions. “Make a stronger first impression by writing something different -- something that will readily show the value you offer."
You can grab the reader's attention by highlighting accomplishments, your passion for contributing to the employer's mission and your strongest related skills. To get started, Locke suggests writing a list of the top three ways you would add value to an organization. "What core competencies would enable you to excel in the position you're targeting?" Locke asks. "How would the employer benefit from hiring you?"
If the first few lines of your letter are causing your readers' eyes to glaze over, it's time for a makeover. Review these examples for ideas and inspiration.
Your company is truly a leader in healthcare information -- you offer solutions that ultimately enhance the quality of healthcare delivery. I am excited by your mission and would be able to translate this excitement by providing top-notch administrative services to you and your team members.
Find administrative assistant jobs.
ABC Organization's community liaison position is an excellent fit for my qualifications, and I am very interested in speaking with you about the opening. Although my current role as a youth worker is tremendously rewarding, I would like to become more involved in preventing the vicious cycle of hunger, poverty and unfulfilled human potential on a broader, national level. Your opening presents that precise opportunity.
Find community liaison jobs.
Customer Service Representative
Profit-minded and customer-centered, I believe that the path to revenue-goal attainment begins with providing exemplary customer care. Toward that end, I have been successful in solving an assortment of service, billing and order-processing issues to build a loyal client following. My 10 years of customer service experience for diverse industry employers will enable me to provide outstanding service to your customers.
Find customer service representative jobs.
I read with great interest the article in Fortune announcing the upcoming launch of ABC Bank. Congratulations on this new venture and its already impressive $20 million in loans pre-charter! The possibility of contributing to the growth of your bank is exciting, and I would like to explore a potential employment match that I am confident will be a win-win proposition.
Find financial analyst jobs.
Health Program Management
Would you like to reduce medical costs, increase productivity and build a team of happy, healthy employees? If so, you may be interested in adding me to your management team. For my current employer, I have:
- Saved lives through medical screenings, risk-reduction programs and wellness education;
- Decreased medical costs by $180K annually; and
- Reduced employee absenteeism to an all-time low.
Find healthcare program manager jobs.
As an experienced technology manager and business owner, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to remain current with ever-evolving technology without breaking the budget. But whether you are trying to equip your workforce or stock your retail showroom with the latest in next-generation laptops, I promise you will find the solution (and the value) you are looking for by retaining my services as an IT consultant.
Find IT jobs.
Marketing New Graduate
DEF Company's marketing assistant opening is an excellent match to my qualifications. As a recent graduate of ABC University with a major in marketing, I offer solid academic credentials as well as industry experience gained from an internship at GHI Company. If given the chance, I know that my strong business and marketing foundation would benefit your department, customers and bottom line.
Find marketing jobs.
If you are seeking to augment your legal team with a results-proven, technically skilled and solidly credentialed paralegal, my enclosed resume will be of interest. Characterized by my current supervisor as a "shining star in the department" with an "exceptional knowledge and skill base," my expertise in corporate law will enable me to hit the ground running as a paralegal with your firm.
Find paralegal jobs.
Real Estate Agent
In my previous position, I sold dirt...for millions of dollars. But if you asked my real estate clients what they had purchased, they would describe their soon-to-be-built, luxury high-rise condominium homes. It's that kind of pre-sales success that I offer your firm, and I am very interested in joining your team.
Find real estate agent jobs.
If you are seeking to augment your business-development team with a top-producing sales professional, my enclosed resume will be of interest. In my strong interest in joining ABC Company, you will find a history of No. 1-ranked sales performance combined with a six-year track record of outperforming quotas by as much as 150%.
A few things not to do
Don't use your cover letter as a way to regurgitate the information that's on your resume. For example, don't say, "My name is Jane Doe, and I graduated from USA College in 2015 with a degree in marketing, and I'm looking for a job in a relevant field."
Don't forget to double-check that you took out the name of the previous company and position you applied to. That's a big no-no. Pay attention to detail—every single employer wants to see that you're on your game.
Don't sell yourself short. One way to turn off a hiring manager is by appearing less-than-enthusiastic about the job. "I know you've probably seen much more qualified candidates..." or "I hope I'm not taking up too much of your time..." rank among the weakest opening lines in cover-letter history. Get out in front by expressing your passion for the job and company, and just how awesome of a hire you would be.
Find sales representative jobs.
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