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.
When you apply for any job, the very first tool you will use to grab the attention of employers is your cover letter. (Yes, there are of course companies that are so big they don’t have time for cover letters. But plenty of hiring managers at small and mid-sized companies do read them, myself included.) A cover letter highlights the reasons you are the best person for the job and how you will benefit the company. It also demonstrates your ability to effectively communicate your objective. That’s why the opening lines of your cover letter are so important. You need to hook the employer so they want to continue reading and learn more about you.
There’s no one right way to open your cover letter, but there are a few techniques you can try to make your letter stand out. Here are five ways to write the opening lines of your next cover letter:
1. Job Title & Accomplishments. This is a very common and effective way to start out a cover letter. The idea is to get straight to the point and impress the employer with your background. Use your most impressive and most relevant accomplishment stories to explain your worth.
Example: As a social media coordinator for Company X, I manage many digital media outlets. By implementing new social media marketing tactics, in the past year, I have doubled our audience on Facebook and tripled our followers on Twitter.
2. Excitement Means Dedication. Another approach is to begin your letter by expressing your excitement for the job opportunity. If there’s a job or company you’re particularly enthusiastic about, it’s great to say so. When a potential employer sees you’re excited, this translates into how motivated and dedicated an employee you would be. This makes them want to find out if you’re as qualified as you are eager.
Example: I was excited to find an opening in human resources with Company Y because your work with y (be specific) has been important to me for a long time. I am the perfect candidate for this position because it combines my experience with human resources and y.
3. Keywords, Keywords, Keywords. When applying for a larger company where you know an applicant tracking system will be used, a smart idea is to make your opening lines keyword-heavy. The right keywords will make sure your cover letter gets read, and will immediately highlight many of your most relevant skills.
Example: Written and verbal communications are two of my strongest areas of expertise. Through my years of experience in public relations, I have perfected my skills in social media, media relations, community engagement, and leading a team. It is the combination of these skills that makes me the best candidate for your public relations manager.
4. Network Ties. If someone in your professional network is refers you to a position, company, or specific hiring manager, the best approach is to use this right away in your cover letter. Name-dropping your mutual contact will provide the employer with a point of reference to go from. They’ll be interested to see why your referrer thought you’d be a good fit for the job.
Example: My name is Jane Doe and recently I spoke to your communications coordinator John Smith, who informed me about the opening in your IT staff. He recommended I contact you about the job because of my strong interest in the field.
5. What’s in the News? Another unique option to impress employers is to demonstrate your knowledge of current events in your opening lines. Look for recent news about the company you’re applying for and tie it into the job opening. Explain why the news item makes you think you’d be best for the job.
Example: Recently, your company has been highlighted on The Huffington Post and Forbes because of your partnership with Charity Z. After reading those articles, I became inspired to seek employment opportunities with your company and was happy to see an opening for an administrative assistant. As someone with vast experience in that area, I would be the perfect candidate for the job.
With all of these options, it’s important to tailor your entire cover letter to your specific experience and each individual job description. A personalized cover letter is essential to prove your qualifications and will be more likely to result in an interview. Start making changes to your next cover letter.
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