We all have a template saved on our computer labeled “Cover Letter.” I know when I started drafting cover letters, I had no idea where to start, especially with the introduction. Employers are reading multiple cover letters and resumes a day, so how can you make your cover letter stand out from the rest? Here are 8 great opening lines that will make your life a little easier.
1. Get to the point
This opening line has not failed me. It’s to the point, and the employer knows exactly what you’re looking for. This formula allows you to state the position you’re applying for, your background and a brief description of your credentials. For recent graduates, this is a good spot to add where you graduated from.
A recent graduate example would look like:
I am very interested in the XYZ position with ABC company. I am a recent graduate from ______ University, and my classes in A, B, and C have equipped me with the skills needed for this job.
Non- recent graduates:
I am very interested in the XYZ position with ABC company. Given my experience and credentials, I believe I am a perfect fit for this position.
2. Mention someone they know
Let’s say you received this position through a friend or old colleague. The best way to capture the reader’s attention is by mentioning a familiar name.
Maria Smith brought this job to my attention and I believe I have the suitable credentials for this position.
Now, they have a direct reference that in a way is going to confirm that you’re a good candidate for the job.
3. Make it personal
Another way to stand out is to research the company or who you are sending your cover letter to. You can mention a specific project or achievement the person earned if that information is readily available. This way, they know you did your research and get a taste of your work ethic at the same time.
4. Show off
You found the perfect job. You meet all of the qualifications and you can already see that offer in front of you. This is your time to shine! Start your cover letter with an accomplishment that will wow your future employer. Once they get a taste of your experience level, they’ll be eager to finish your cover letter and read what other great things you’ve accomplished.
5. Get excited!
I know that I personally get excited when I see a job that fits every criterion I’m looking for. When I see these types of opportunities, I make sure I express it in my cover letter. My opening line would look like:
I am eager to discuss my experience and what I can bring to XYZ company.
Following this line I would praise the company and explain why I believe I am the perfect candidate for this position.
6. Key. Words.
When in doubt, key word it out. This is a great method if you are completely stuck and can’t apply any of the other tips. Take what the job application spelled out in the qualifications section and figure out what skills of yours overlap with theirs. Then, mention them briefly as your opening line before going into depth in the body of your cover letter.
7. Tell a story
If you’ve ever listened to a TEDTalk, the speaker usually opens with a short anecdote of how they got to the topic they’re about to discuss. In a similar way, you should tell a story that connects you to this position and how that experience has given you insights for the future.
8. I believe…
This last tip I have used myself, but I typically used it as my closer. However, it could easily be used as an opener as well. If this company has a mission statement, take the action words in their statement and tie it in with your own belief system. For example, Nexxt’s mission statement reads; With a strong background as a fast-paced company that consistently strives to foster growth and innovation, Nexxt uses today's most effective marketing tactics to reach the full spectrum of talent.
I believe that every member of an organization should strive to foster growth and innovation, especially in an ever-evolving field such as recruitment.
These are my 8 favorite opening lines for cover letters and all of them are great starting points for the rest of your cover letter.