How to Start a Cover Letter

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Your cover letter is one of the most important pieces of correspondence you will ever write. It has to capture the attention of recruiters and tell them a story about your skills and work experience. Starting a cover letter is often the hardest part of tackling this type of project, especially if the job advertisement does not list a specific contact person. Use these tips to strengthen your cover letter introduction and make sure recruiters read to the end.

Starting a cover letter with "Dear Recruiter" is not always the best way to get noticed. The opening line of your introduction should almost always address a specific person. If the recruiter or hiring manager's name is not listed in the job advertisement, call the company and ask for the name of the recruiter screening resumes for the position you want. If the name could belong to either a man or a woman, use a search engine to find more information about the person. This will help you determine whether to open the cover letter with "Dear Ms. Smith" or "Dear Mr. Smith."

Another way to handle unisex names is to use the person's full name in the opening line. "Dear Alex Taylor" is a better opening than something more generic. The only time your opening should start with "Dear Hiring Manager" is if the job advertisement does not include the company name, making it impossible to call and ask for the name of the contact person. Follow your greeting with a colon or comma. Start a new paragraph before you continue typing the rest of your letter.

After starting a cover letter introduction with a professional opening, write the first paragraph of the letter. This is the best place to tell the recruiter how your skills and experience would benefit the potential employer. When starting a cover letter, avoid including a list of your skills. This information should be on your resume, so there's no need to waste valuable space repeating it in your cover letter. Explain why you are the best candidate for the job opening, and then use the rest of the cover letter to back up your statements. If your work history doesn't seem to apply to the job opening, connect the dots for the recruiter. Discuss how your experience has prepared you to succeed in other types of jobs.

Starting a cover letter is often the hardest part of applying for a job. You must use a professional greeting and address the letter to a specific person whenever possible. The first paragraph of the letter should tell the recruiter why you are the best candidate for the job. If you follow these tips for starting a cover letter, you'll capture attention and make sure recruiters think of you in a positive way.




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