4 Cover Letter Openers That Score the Interview
The first sentence of a cover letter should be like the first sentence of a good book – it should make you want to read the whole thing. If you write a bum first sentence, chances are your cover letter is going to get a quick scan and then make it’s way into the garbage file. However, if you take the time to write a first line of a cover letter that says, “I’m here, I know what I’m doing, and damnit, you should hire me,” the hiring manager reading it will be much more likely to read it line by line and get to know you a little better. And that, my friends, is when you land an interview – when the person reading your cover letter and resume feels like they’ve gotten to know you a bit better and want to know more.
About.com’s Job Searching section recently published “Cover Letter Opening Sentence Examples,” and while I don’t think all of their suggestions are terrific ones, some stood out in the crowd. Here are a few of my favorites from About.com’s article:
- 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 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.
- 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.
If you read the full About.com article, you’ll see that I’ve removed from their list every opening line that starts with “I am writing to…” or “Please accept my application for…” Stop using these openers, people! Here’s why: we know you’re applying for the job. You’ve clearly submitted your resume and cover letter for it! Your cover letter is not the opportunity to tell the hiring manager you’re applying. They are acutely aware of that fact. Your cover letter is your opportunity to tell the hiring manager the key facts they might not see in your resume, your key strengths, and ultimately why they should hire you!
Here are a few more of my own favorite ways to open a cover letter:
- Being a marketing specialist with X company will require an individual who is both experienced in retail marketing and dedicated to keeping abreast of innovation and changes in the industry. I am skilled in delivering the kinds of marketing initiatives you’re looking for, and am always looking for new ways to increase my knowledge.
- For the past five years, I have consistently achieved over $XXX in sales and led a team of X people to success in Chicago’s real estate market. I am truly excited about the opportunity to bring my excellent track record to X company.
What’s the overall point here? Follow these guidelines when you write your cover letter’s first line:
- Lead with success. What is amazing about what you’ve done recently that this company needs?
- How do you fit the role better than anyone else?
- Why are you the best fit for the company?
- Do you have the experience and the strengths this job needs? Why?
So go ahead, write that first line and make yourself the Charles Dickens of cover letter first lines.