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How to Write a Job Application Cover Letter
Writing a cover letter is essential when applying for jobs. This is the perfect way to express how your specific skills are relevant to the open position. Wow your future employer with this simple cover letter example format.
Write a First Draft
Writing a first draft makes your letter concise and professional, states The Balance Careers. Organize your thoughts by making a list of what you’re trying to convey. Make sure you prioritize certain aspects like your previous job experience and why you would be a good fit for the position. Clearly state what position you’re interested in and why. Think about why you’re applying and what caught your eye about this specific position. Your cover letter will be easier to write after your thoughts are collected and organized.
Customize Your Salutation
When writing a salutation, make sure you know who you are writing to. Is this person the owner of the company or a Human Resources administrator? If you’re not sure, research the company to find out. Addressing your cover letter to a specific person shows initiative and attention to detail. After your salutation, start your letter with a short introduction of yourself. This gives future employers insight into who you are and the purpose of your cover letter.
Your cover letter should be no more than one page, so keep your points brief. Clearly state what position you are interested in and why. Explain why you are a good fit for the company because of your past job experience. If you have no similar job experience, let the employer know why you are changing career paths. Expand on your skills and give specific examples of how that skill set helped you at your last position. Name projects you’ve worked on and show results.
Close Your Letter
End your cover letter with a brief sentence and sign off. Thank the employer for their time and express your interest towards the job again. Let them know you’ll follow up with them if you do not hear back within a week and leave your contact information. Sign off with a professional farewell and leave room for a signature if sending a hard copy.
Edit and Proofread
As you finish writing your cover letter, make sure you take time to edit and proofread your document. Make sure it’s structured in a professional format with the company’s information, the salutation and introduction, the body of the letter, a brief closing sentence and farewell. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes to ensure a formal result. Make sure all names are spelled correctly, as well.
MORE FROM QUESTIONSANSWERED.NET
30 Genius Cover Letter Openers Recruiters Will LOVE
Hot jobs on the muse.
Traditional cover letter wisdom tells you to start a cover letter with something to the effect of:
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to apply for the marketing manager position with the Thomas Company.
We say: A cookie cutter cover letter intro feels as outdated as a Hotmail address.
SEARCH OPEN JOBS ON THE MUSE! See who’s hiring here , and you can even filter your search by benefits, company size, remote opportunities, and more. Then, sign up for our newsletter and we’ll deliver advice on landing the job right to you.
Your cover letter is the best way to introduce yourself to a hiring manager—who you are, what you have to offer, and why you want the job—but you have an extremely limited amount of space to do it. So if you really want to get noticed, you’ve got to start right off the bat with something that grabs your reader’s attention.
What do we mean? Well, we won’t just tell you, we’ll *show* you—but first, a few super quick tips!
Tips for writing an effective cover letter
Here are a few pointers to guide you as you use our example cover letter openings—we’re getting there, we promise!—to craft your own:
- Avoid boring or overused openers: Recruiters have read cover letters that start with lines like “I’m excited to apply for the front-end engineering position,” or “Your job posting on The Muse prompted me to…” so often they could wallpaper their homes with them.
- Be lively and personable: People like reading interesting, engaging stuff. The kind that paints a picture, tells a story, and maybe even makes them smile. People like it when you’re human, genuine, and memorable.
- Communicate that you’ll bring something to the company: You’ll get more into the details after your opening, of course. But your cover letter opener should still tell the reader, “This person can do something for us ,” rather than, “This job would really help them .”
- Stick to the point: Your opener, while creative, should still be relevant to the job. Don’t begin by highlighting an unrelated accomplishment or recounting an anecdote that never connects back to why you’re applying for the job.
- Find an alternative to “ To Whom It May Concern .” Seriously, banish those five words from your cover letter vocabulary forever.
30 strong cover letter openers
We’ve come up with 30 examples and separated them by the method they use to grab the reader’s attention. We don’t recommend copying and pasting them because, well, your cover letter should be unique to your stories, background, and interests, but you can most definitely use them to get inspired for your next application. (If you’re looking to see what an entire cover letter might look like, check out our article on the best cover letter examples for every type of job seeker . )
Start with passion
Employers want to hire people who care about what they’re doing. If you start your cover letter off talking about your passions and how they relate to the job, you’re telling the reader that you’ll be an engaged and motivated employee who’s likely to stick around. Plus, it’s a good way to tell the company a bit about who you are as a person right off the bat. Just be honest and realistic.
- If truly loving data is wrong, I don’t want to be right. It seems like the rest of the folks at [Analytics Company] feel the same way—and that’s just one of the reasons why I think I’d be the perfect next hire for your sales team.
- I’ve been giving my friends and family free style advice since I was 10, and recently decided it’s time I get paid for it. That’s why I couldn’t believe it when I found an open personal stylist position at [Company].
- After about three years of trying out different roles at early-stage startups around San Francisco, watching more “ find your passion “ keynotes than I’d like to admit, and assuring my parents that, yes, I actually do have a real job, I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that I’m happiest when I’m doing two things: writing great content and getting it out into the world.
- The other day, I took a career assessment , which told me I should be a maritime merchant. I’m not quite sure what that is, but it did get me thinking: A role that combines my skills in business development with my lifelong passion for the ocean would be my absolute dream. Which is how I found this role at Royal Caribbean.
- As a kid, I once gave up a day of a family vacation to transport an injured lizard I found by our hotel two hours each way to the nearest animal hospital (and talked my dad into driving me pre-GPS!). When I was a bit older, I found out I could care for animals every day for a living, and I’ve been working toward that goal ever since.
- “I am constantly checking my LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds—and not because of FOMO. Because I’m someone who wholeheartedly believes in the power of sharing ideas in online communal spaces, and I’m positive that I can help spark meaningful conversations as your next social media assistant.”
- When I was growing up, I wanted to be one of those people who pretend to be statues on the street. Thankfully, my career goals have become a little more aspirational over the years, but I still love to draw a crowd and entertain the masses—passions that make me the perfect community manager.
Start with admiration
Companies often want to hire people who already know, love, eat, and sleep their brand. What better to kick off your cover letter than a little flattery? Of course, remember when you’re telling a company why you love it to be specific and genuine. Because while everyone likes a compliment, no one likes obvious self-serving B.S.
- I pretty much spent my childhood in the cheap seats at Cubs games, snacking on popcorn and cheering on the team with my grandfather. It’s that memory that’s shaped my career—from helping to establish the sports marketing major at my university to leading a college baseball team to an undefeated season as assistant coach—and what led me to apply for this position at the Chicago Cubs.
- It was Rudy, my Golden Retriever, who first inspired me to apply to your operations assistant opening—not only have we used your app to find other dogs to play with in our neighborhood, he’s really excited about the prospect of coming to work with me every day. As I learned more about how [Company] is using modern tech to help pets thrive in cities, I couldn’t help but get excited to be part of it, too.
- When I was seven, I wanted to be the GEICO gecko when I grew up. I eventually realized that wasn’t an option, but you can imagine my excitement when I came across your events manager position, which would have me working side by side with my favorite company mascot.
- When I attended SXSW for the first time last month, I didn’t want to leave. So I decided I shouldn’t—and immediately went to check out job openings at the company.
- If I could make the NYC apartment rental process better for just one person, I would feel like the horrors of my recent search would all be worth it. So a customer service role at [Apartment Search Company], where I could do it every day? I can’t think of anything more fulfilling.
- [Vacation Rental Company] is synonymous with luxury and escape, known for spaces that inspire. I’ve felt this firsthand every time I’ve stayed at one of your properties—whether I was throwing a bachelorette party or working from home in a new locale—and I would love the chance to contribute to this reputation as your destination manager.
- I was an hour out from hosting my first big dinner party when I realized I had forgotten to pick up the white wine. In a panic, I started Googling delivery services, and that’s when I first stumbled across [Delivery Service Company]. I’ve been hooked ever since, so I couldn’t help but get excited by the idea of bringing this amazingness to nervous hosts like me as your next social media and community manager.
- Though I’m happily employed as a marketing manager, seeing the job description for your company’s PR director position stopped me in my tracks. I’ve been wearing your glasses for many years, and have always been impressed by the way the company treats its customers, employees, and the community at large.
- A group of us IT folks were sitting around talking about our favorite Pacific Northwest companies this morning (coincidentally, over coffee). As you might figure, Starbucks was among the first names that came up. What makes you such a standout among Seattle-based corporations? Here’s the list we compiled:
Start with accomplishments
For any given job, you’re going to be competing with a lot of other people—presumably, a lot of other similarly qualified people. So a great way to stand out in your cover letter is to highlight something about yourself—a character trait, an accomplishment, a really impressive skill—that’ll quickly show how you stand out.
- My last boss once told me that my phone manner could probably defuse an international hostage situation. I’ve always had a knack for communicating with people—the easygoing and the difficult alike—and I’d love to bring that skill to your open office manager position.
- Among my colleagues, I’m known as the one who can pick up the pieces, no matter what amount of you-know-what hits the fan. Which is why I think there’s no one better to fill this customer service leader position.
- Last December, I ousted our company’s top salesperson from his spot—and he hasn’t seen it since. Which means, I’m ready for my next big challenge, and the sales manager role at your company is exactly what I’m looking for.
- After spending three years managing the internal communications for a 2,000-person company, I could plan a quarterly town hall or draft an interoffice memo in my sleep. What do I want to do next? Put that experience to work as a consultant for executives looking to level up their communications strategy.
- While you won’t find the title “community manager” listed on my resume, I’ve actually been bringing people together online and off for three years while running my own blog and series of meetups.
- If you’re looking for someone who can follow orders to the T and doesn’t like to rock the boat, I’m probably not the right candidate. But if you need someone who can dig into data, see what’s working (and what’s not), and challenge the status quo, let’s talk.
- I recently relocated my family to Texas. As we neared our new home, I noticed with intrigue the many wind turbines dotting the landscape. Suddenly, it hit me: “This is the career for me.” After unloading the moving van, I promptly researched companies in this sector that may benefit most from a skilled field engineer with expert electromechanical skills. And I discovered that [Company] is where I want to be.
- You might be wondering what a 15-year veteran of the accounting world is doing applying to an operations role at a food startup. While I agree the shift is a little strange, I know you’re looking for someone who’s equal parts foodie and financial expert, and I think that means I’m your person.
- Over the last 10 years, I’ve built my career on one simple principle: Work smarter. I’m the person who looks for inefficient procedures, finds ways to streamline them, and consistently strives to boost the productivity of everyone around me. It’s what’s earned me three promotions in the supply chain department at my current company, and it’s what I know I can do as the new operations analyst for [Company].
Start with humor and creativity
OK, before you read any of these, we have to stamp them with a big, blaring disclaimer: Do your homework before trying anything like this—learning everything you can about the company and the hiring manager to gauge whether or not they appreciate some comedic relief or a bit of snark. If they do, it’s a great way to make them smile (then call you). If they don’t? Try a different approach.
- Have you ever had your mom call five times a day asking for a status update on how your job search is going, and then sound incredulous that you haven’t made more progress since the last phone call? That’s my life right now. But I’m hoping that soon my life will revolve around being your full-time social media manager. The good news is, I bring more to the table than just an overbearing mom. Let me tell you more.
- Thank you so much for offering me the marketing manager position at [Company]! I wholeheartedly accept. OK, I know we’re not quite there yet. But if we were, here are just a few ideas for what I would do once in the role.
- I considered submitting my latest credit card statement as proof of just how much I love online shopping, but I thought a safer approach might be writing this cover letter and describing all the reasons I’m the one who can take [E-Commerce Company]’s business to the next level.
- I never thought that accidentally dropping my iPhone out of a second story window would change my life (it’s a funny story—ask me about it). But thanks to my misfortune, I discovered [Phone Repair Company]—and found my dream job as an expansion associate.
- If we were playing “Two Truths and a Lie,” I’d say: I’ve exceeded my sales quotas by at least 20% every quarter this year, I once won an international pie-eating contest, and I have an amazing job at [Company]. The last, of course, is the lie. For now.
Jenny Foss , Erica Breuer , and Regina Borsellino also contributed writing, reporting, and/or advice to this article.
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- English (UK)
- Cover Letter
- How to Start a Cover Letter [+ Introduction & Opening Lines]
How to Start a Cover Letter [+ Introduction & Opening Lines]
Writer’s block got you staring at your blank screen? It’s not as hard as you think to start a cover letter that will blow the hiring manager away—this guide shows you how.
As seen in:
You’ve got your resume locked down and are ready to turn in your job application. But that damn cover letter… You’ve been staring at your blank screen for what must be days now.
How to start a cover letter?
In this guide, we’ll show you how to start a cover letter perfectly and captivate the hiring manager enough to want to immediately call you in for an interview. We’ll craft a professional cover letter introduction and sort out all the header details while we’re at it.
Want to write your cover letter fast? Use our cover letter builder. Choose from 20+ professional cover letter templates that match your resume. See actionable examples and get expert tips along the way.
Create my cover letter now
Sample Cover Letter for a Resume— See more cover letter examples here .
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Do I Need a Cover Letter? Are Cover Letters Necessary in 2023
Do I need a cover letter? Is it important? What if the job offer doesn’t require a cover letter? Read this guide to find out all you need to know.
How to End a Cover Letter [20+ Closing Paragraph Examples]
Learn how to end a cover letter in the best way. Check out our closing paragraph examples, good ending sentences, and samples of great cover letter endings.
How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? The Ideal Length in 2023
The right word count can make or break your cover letter. So how long should a cover letter be? Read on to find out.
How to Start a Cover Letter - 4 Tips for the Perfect Opening
Here you are, looking at a blank document that’s supposed to be your cover letter.
You have a general idea of what your cover letter is supposed to be about, but you’re having trouble writing those first few sentences.
We get you! Whether you’re writing your resume, an article, research paper, or a cover letter, getting started is sometimes the hardest part.
Lucky for you, though, there is a very straightforward way to get started with your cover letter, and in this article, we’re going to teach you how to do that!
Read on to learn how to effectively get started with your cover letter!
- What should your cover letter opening contain
- What to include in your contact information
- How to start a cover letter greeting
- How to write an attention-grabbing opening paragraph
- 6 Examples of how to start your cover letter
Ready? Let’s dig in!
What Should Your Cover Letter Opening Contain
To successfully get started with writing your cover letter, you should include these 3 main elements:
- The header with contact information. Includes your & the recipient’s contact information.
- The greeting to the manager. This is where you address the cover letter by greeting the hiring manager, department, or company.
- An attention-grabbing opening paragraph. The opening paragraph of your cover letter is your chance to grab the recruiters’ attention and get them to read the rest of your cover letter.
Below, we’ll teach you how to do each of them in the right way.
If you’re applying for an entry-level job and wondering what’s the best way to write your cover letter, head over to our article on entry-level cover letters .
What to Include in Your Contact Information
As we mentioned, the first thing to add to your cover letter opening is your contact information.
The header’s essential information include the following:
- Full name and professional title (if applicable)
- Phone number
- Email (a professional email, that is)
In some cases, you can also add the following:
- Social media profiles. By this, we mean profiles that are relevant to the position. This includes websites like LinkedIn , GitHub (for developers), or Medium (for writers).
- Personal website. If you have a personal website you’ve created for your industry (i.e. you’re a writer with a blog), then make sure to include the link to your website on your cover letter.
After you’ve added your information, you should add the date and continue with the recipient’s name and address. So:
- Manager’s name
- Manager’s job title
- Company’s name
- Company’s street address
Once you’ve done this, here’s what your cover letter will look like:
And just like the essential DOs, there are also some things you should NOT include in your cover letter header:
- Unprofessional email. It’s going to be difficult for a hiring manager to take you seriously if your email address is something you coined when you were still a teenager (i.e. [email protected] ).
How to Start a Cover Letter Greeting
After you’ve properly listed your contact information, it’s time to start writing your cover letter.
The first thing this includes is addressing the cover letter to the hiring manager.
Yeap, that’s right! And by greeting the hiring manager, department, or company, we don’t mean using the old-fashioned “Dear Sir/Madam,” or “To whom it may concern.”
Instead, you want to show your future employer that you’ve done your fair share of research about the job/company and that you’re not just using one cover letter template to apply for ten jobs. After all, one of the most common mistakes job seekers do (84% of them!) is not finding the hiring manager’s name and personalizing the application.
So, make sure to address the hiring manager that’s going to review your manager directly.
Now, there are a few ways you can do that.
The simplest - and most obvious - option is to look up the head of the department you’re applying to on LinkedIn.
Let’s assume that you’re applying as a Communications Specialist at Novoresume. The hiring manager is probably the Head of Communications or the Chief Communications Officer.
After a quick LinkedIn lookup, you can probably find out who that person is (that’s me!).
And just like that, you have your hiring manager! Piece of cake!
Not a fan of LinkedIn? You can also check the company’s website and look for the “Team” or " About Us " page.
If none of these work, consider using one of the following greetings when you’re addressing the hiring manager:
- Dear [Department] Hiring Manager,
- Dear Hiring Manager,
- Dear [Department] Team,
- Dear Director of [Department],
- Dear [Company Name] Hiring Team
How you conclude your cover letter is just as important as how you start it. To learn how to ace yours, head over to our guide on how to end a cover letter .
How to Write an Attention-Grabbing Opening Paragraph
The last, but the most important, part of your cover letter opening is your opening paragraph.
You want your opening paragraph to be engaging and attention-grabbing to ensure that the hiring manager will continue reading the cover letter.
After all, recruiters receive hundreds of applications daily. Obviously, they can’t spend all their working hours reading cover letters, so, instead, they simply skim your cover letter in a handful of seconds, and if it catches their attention, they re-read it more thoroughly.
And the part of the cover letter that helps catch their attention is usually the opening paragraph!
Compare these 2 cover letter openers and judge for yourself which one you’d rather read:
Dear Mr. Brown,
My name is Anna and I’d like to help your company exceed its sales target as a Sales Manager. My 5-year experience as a Sales Representative at XYZ Inc. has given me substantial skills in sales. During my last year working there, we beat KPIs by around 50%. I believe that my strong track record in sales makes me the perfect candidate for the position.
Hello, my name is Mary and I am interested in working as a Sales Manager for your company. I have 6 years of experience working as a Sales Manager for Company X, so I think I’m a good fit for the position.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with the first example, it’s not all that imaginative. Chances are, every other applicant is going to use a similar opening statement.
The second example, on the other hand, is more customized and personal, helping the recruiter understand why Anna is a good candidate for the role.
In this section we’ll give you all the tips & tricks you need to ace your cover letter introduction:
Tip #1. Show Passion and Commitment
Showing the hiring manager that you’re passionate about the job will instantly boost your chances of getting hired. It’s not a secret that committed employees are more engaged and, therefore, more productive.
After all, research shows that engaged employees are 17% more productive than their peers.
So, it’s only logical that the hiring manager will greatly appreciate a candidate who shows commitment and enthusiasm.
As such, these are both qualities that you want to showcase right from the start of your cover letter. Here’s an example of how you can do that:
I have been immersed with human rights since I specialized in Conflict Resolution and started working with Amnesty International. During my 5 years of experience in the field, however, I haven’t seen any organization do the work that you’ve accomplished with human rights. Your dedication makes me want to work for your organization and put my skills to use for the work you do.
Tip #2. Mention a Mutual Contact (if Applicable)
If someone referred you to the position, the opening paragraph of your cover letter is a great place to mention that.
Referrals are key to securing an interview, but at the same time they’re not something you can mention on your resume, so take the opportunity to let the recruiter know at the start of your cover letter.
The idea is that if someone the hiring manager knows recommended you for the position, your skills and qualifications immediately become more credible.
I was excited to learn about this job opportunity from John Doe, who has worked at your firm for five years. John and I worked on an architectural project together for over one year and he thought I’d be a good fit for the role at Company X.
Tip #3. Prove You Have Researched The Company
A generic cover letter will not give you many points in the eyes of your potential employers.
The recruiter reading your cover letter wants to know that you’re excited to be applying for that particular company , and you’re not just applying to dozens of jobs randomly, hoping that one will stick.
As such, it’s very important to do some research about the company you’re applying for, and in the cover letter, mention why you’re a good culture fit.
I have always admired the work that your organization does with vulnerable communities. I have always been passionate about social justice and I think the mechanisms you have in place to empower those in need are really making an impact. I believe my previous experience as a social worker could bring value to your mission.
Tip #4. Lead With An Achievement
There’s no better way to grab attention than to lead with an achievement. It immediately gives you credibility and makes the hiring manager curious to read more about you.
To make sure your achievements stand out, though, do this:
- Whenever possible, make your achievements as quantifiable as possible. “Improved sales by 20% in 2 months” is more impressive than “improve sales.”
- Show how your past achievement is relevant or can add value to your current position.
As a Public Relations representative for Company XYZ, I worked with the press to improve its reputation and public image. This translated into a 40% increase in customer satisfaction and better public reception of the company’s values and identity. I am eager to yield the same results as the Head of Communications in your organization.
Tip #5. Start With a Powerful Belief
A short and impactful belief statement that represents your work ethic and professional values is another great way to attract the recruiter’s attention. Obviously, you get bonus points if said belief statement aligns with the company’s goals and objectives.
However, don’t just copy-paste the company’s mission statement to make a good impression. Rather, use your own words and beliefs to sound more genuine and original.
As a teacher, I believe every child should have access to quality education early on. This is the only way to ensure future generations’ equity and the best chance we have at improving our society. I admire your institution’s commitment to enabling quality education in the most remote areas of our country and I’d be honored to contribute to those efforts by becoming a teacher here.
Tip #6. Be Direct
Oftentimes, beating around the bush gets you nowhere. So, a great strategy to follow when you start writing your cover letter is to just be direct about the position you’re applying for and the reasons you believe make you the perfect fit for the job.
There’s another upside to this. Recruiters receive hundreds of applications daily - sometimes, even for different positions within the same department - so it helps them to know what position you’re applying for early on, as well as what exact qualifications make you the perfect fit for the job.
I’d like to officially apply for the marketing manager position at Company X. Over the past 7 years, I’ve worked with 6 clients, helping them drive more than $2,000,000 worth of sales. I am confident that my marketing skills and proven sales results make me a perfect match for the position.
Match your cover letter with your resume to make a better impression on the recruiter and reinforce your personal brand !
And that’s a wrap!
Hopefully, you’re now more confident about how you can start your cover letter!
Now, let’s do a small recap of the most important points we covered in the article:
- Your cover letter opening should contain a header with contact information, a greeting to the hiring manager, and an attention-grabbing opening paragraph.
- Your header should include your contact information, such as your name, phone number, and professional email, the date, as well as the contact information of the recipient.
- You should try to find the hiring manager’s full name in order to greet them. If you can’t find their name or title anywhere, then you should greet them using Dear Hiring Manager , Dear [Department] Team , or something similar.
- The opening paragraph of your cover letter should grab the hiring manager’s attention and make them want to read your cover letter. Some tips to write an attention-grabbing opening paragraph include being direct, starting with a strong belief statement, or leading with a relevant achievement.
- How to Write a Cover Letter in 2023
- Cover Letter Tips
- Cover Letter Mistakes
- Do I Need a Cover Letter?
- Hubspot Blog
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How to Start a Cover Letter to Impress Employers [+ 14 Examples]
Published: August 11, 2021
According to Career Builder, 40% of recruiters look for a cover letter when they're considering job applicants.
But if you had to flip through a hundred cover letters a day, and each one began, "To whom it may concern, I am applying for the digital marketing position at your company ...", how important would you rank them?
Your cover letter is an opportunity to showcase your personality, display your interest in the job, and include relevant information that otherwise wouldn't be surfaced in your application. An ideal cover letter leaves the hiring manager with a positive and memorable impression of you, something a resume alone won't always do.
To help you overcome writer's block and hook your reader right away, take a look at some sharp opening sentences you can use for inspiration.
5 Free Cover Letter Templates
Fill out this form to access your cover letters., creative cover letter opening sentence examples.
- This position has me written all over it.
- I've wanted to work in [your industry] since [this moment of inspiration].
- Although [current employee] suggested I apply for this position, I don't just want to work with my former colleague again -- I want to join all of you in transforming the industry.
- I like to think of myself as a round peg thriving in a square hole kind of world.
- Aside from the requisite industry bona-fides in my CV, I bring the following to the table:
- Last year, I generated [this much money] in revenue for my company, generated [this many leads], and almost tripled our social media ROI.
- You might not know me, but your client services team certainly does, and now I want to join the vendor that made me such a successful [type of professional].
- When I discovered [name of company] was hiring, I knew I had to apply.
- I considered submitting my latest credit card statement as proof of just how much I love online shopping, but I thought a safer approach might be writing this cover letter, describing all the reasons why I'm the person who can take [name of ecommerce company] to the next level.
- You might compete with my current employer, but why can't we be friends?
- As a [current job position] with high-level management experience in the [industry], I learned that the best way to achieve success was to [biggest lesson you've learned].
- I understand that you have been deluged with resumes since you've been listed as one of the best companies to work for. Mine is one more, but I do have experience that is hard to come by.
Read on to find out 14 ways to grab an employer's attention with an exceptional cover letter introduction.
Featured Resource: 5 Free Cover Letter Templates
Start off your cover letter (and finish it) with a bang with 5 Free Cover Letter Templates. The templates are professional and completely customizable to help you get your dream job.
How to Start a Cover Letter
1. start with humor..
Employers are humans too, and they'll often appreciate a good joke, pun, or funny opening line as much as the next person. If done tastefully and respectfully, starting your cover letter off with a joke can be an excellent way to stand out.
Plus, a joke can still include a powerful explanation for why you're the right person for the job, without coming off as boastful. For instance, think about something you love to do or something you're really good at, and then imagine how friends or family might make a joke about it -- if you're really good at analyzing data, for example, a joke or pun related to that might be a good way to exemplify both your skills and personality.
Here's a good example of using humor to bring attention to your skills, from The Muse (you'll notice this is one of our picks for most creative opening lines, earlier in this article):
"I considered submitting my latest credit card statement as proof of just how much I love online shopping, but I thought a safer approach might be writing this cover letter, describing all the reasons why I'm the girl who can take Stylight's business to the next level."
Why This Works
Right away, the personality displayed here grabs the reader's attention. Even better, this applicant uses humor to convey an important message to the employer -- she loves shopping, and she's well-versed in ecommerce as a consumer -- which might've otherwise not come up on her resume or phone screening.
2. Start with passion.
For an employer to know you'll stay dedicated to the role and company, they'll want to ensure you're passionate about what the job entails. Passion is more incentivizing than a paycheck.
For an employer, demonstrating how your passion matches the required skillset is a promising sign that you'd enjoy your job -- if you enjoy your job, you're more likely to stick around longer, help drive company growth, and become a dedicated member of the team.
Consider starting your cover letter with a few lines that showcase your passion: "I've been passionate about writing since I was ten years old. My love for writing has led me to write two personal travel blogs, get published in a local newspaper, and pursue two summer internships at publishing firms. Now, I'd love the opportunity to combine my writing skills with my interest in storytelling as a content marketer at Company A."
If you don't have extensive work experience in the industry you're trying to break into, but you've been unofficially preparing for years, let the employer know. In the above example, the candidate's resume would probably look weak, with only internships indicating professional experience. Her cover letter introduction, however, shows the employer she's been writing for audiences and advancing her natural ability for years.
3. Start with an accomplishment.
Employers like seeing numbers. It isn't enough to mention you're a "digital marketer with proven success in SEO strategies." Proven success? Okay, can we see?
It's more powerful to provide statistics. You want to show the employer you're capable of solving for long-term results. How have you contributed to your company's bottom line? For instance, did your Facebook marketing campaign grow your social media following, or has your blog content increased organic traffic?
Consider starting your cover letter with something like this: "Over the past year as digital marketing manager at Company A, I've generated $30k+ in revenue, increased organic traffic to our blog by 14%, and almost tripled our social media ROI."
Even if you don't have the work experience to report impressive numbers, you can still offer proof when opening with an accomplishment. Think about the qualitative feedback you've received from employers. For instance, how would your boss compliment you or tell you you're doing a good job? An accomplishment can be as simple as your boss sending you an appreciative email regarding your diligent meeting notes.
In this example from The Muse , the applicant provides an example of a skill for which he's been previously acknowledged: "My last boss once told me that my phone manner could probably diffuse an international hostage situation. I've always had a knack for communicating with people -- the easygoing and the difficult alike -- and I'd love to bring that skill to the office manager position at Shutterstock."
Even though the applicant doesn't offer numbers as proof of success, they do manage to highlight some proof of their past performance in the form of a former boss's praise. The candidate's candid and funny explanation -- that his last boss liked his phone manners -- is another good way to brag about accomplishments without, well, bragging.
4. Start with excitement for the company.
Employers want to know why you like their company, and they'll appreciate an explanation on why you're interested. But it's imperative your reasoning is thoughtful and considerate, and specific to the company. For instance, if you're applying for a financial position, don't write about your interest in finance; write about how your interest in finance relates to the company's goals.
You don't want to just say, "I'm excited to work at Company A because I'm passionate about finance, and I think my skills and experiences will be a good match." Sure, you've explained why you want to work in the financial industry, but you've done nothing to explain why Company A specifically suits your interests.
Instead, you'll want to mention something about the company and culture in correlation to your interest in finance. Take a look at this example from Glassdoor : "When I discovered Accounting Solutions was hiring, I knew I had to apply. I've been waiting to find a company where I feel like I can make a difference while working as an accountant. Not only are your clients awesome, but the overall mission of your company is something I believe in, too."
This candidate shows they've done their research and care about Accounting Solutions in particular. Remember, employers want to hire people who have a demonstrated interest in working at their company. They want someone who will enjoy the nature of the work, but just as importantly, they want a candidate who enjoys the work culture and the company mission as well.
5. Start with news about the company.
Mentioning company news in your introduction indicates you've done research on the company. Plus, including company news might give you the chance to incorporate your own values, as well. If the company just won an award for its innovative solutions in the computer industry, for instance, you might add how you value forward-thinking methods in technology, as well.
Here's an example of an introduction that uses a newsworthy event, from Indeed : "When I saw that Company ABC was featured in Fortune Magazine last month for its commitment to renewable energy and reducing waste in the workplace -- all while experiencing triple-digit revenue growth -- I was inspired. With my track record of reducing costs by 30%+ and promoting greener workplaces, I'm excited about the possibility of taking on the account executive role to expand your company's growth and work towards a more sustainable future."
The candidate does a good job demonstrating how Company ABC's news aligns well with the candidate's personal achievements. She shows she's done her research on the company, and also indicates she values similar environmental efforts in the workplace.
6. Start with what they don't know.
According to one seasoned hiring manager , a cover letter that begins, "I am writing to apply for [open position] at [name of company]" is grounds for nearly instant rejection. Of course you're applying for this job -- why waste your lede with something so boring and obvious?
Your cover letter should never directly state what they already know -- or restate what's already listed on your resume. Instead, start your cover letter by offering something new, expanding on what the employer already knows about you, and presenting new details about what you can bring to the company. Impress employers by telling them something about your skills or experiences they don't already know.
To offer new information not displayed on his resume, one of my colleagues at HubSpot wrote this cover letter introduction: "My resume will tell you I'm Content Marketing Certified. Your records will tell you I've interviewed for a few different HubSpot positions in the past. What neither one will tell you is that I've been working with your customer success team to build a new campaign strategy for my company -- one of your latest (and largest) clients."
The candidate wrote an introduction that captured the reader's attention and demonstrated he wasn't interested in wasting anyone's time. This is a memorable and impressive tactic. Consider writing a similar introduction, where you provide information absent from your resume.
7. Start with what you can bring to the table.
A hiring manager here at HubSpot told me she always looks for cover letters to tell her how the company and applicant can benefit each other.
Any employer is going to want to know why you think you can grow from the position you're applying to. An employer is more inclined to hire you if she thinks you have a genuine, intrinsic motivation to work hard in the role.
A hiring manager is also going to want to know how you'll contribute to the company's larger vision and goals. It's important for the manager to know what you want to get out of the role, but it's equally important to know how you'll help the company grow. How will the company benefit from you, over someone else?
Here's an example: "I am seeking opportunities to improve my writing ability in a forward-thinking environment while growing organic traffic and optimizing content to beat out competitors in search engines. At Company A, I believe I will find that match."
See how it works? In the example above, the candidate explained how she'd benefit from the role. She also explained what Company A could get out of the transaction -- increased organic traffic, and optimized content -- so the hiring manager is informed of the equality of the potential relationship.
8. Start with a statement that surprises them.
When applying for a role at HubSpot, one of my colleagues began her cover letter like this: "I like to think of myself as a round peg thriving in a square hole kind of world."
Doesn't that make you want to keep reading? It certainly kept me interested. Of course, you'll only want to include a bold statement if you can follow it up with some concrete supporting information. My colleague, for example, continued by writing this: "What does this mean? It means that my diverse background makes me a well-rounded candidate who is able to comprehend, develop and execute various functions in business."
While the rest of her cover letter veered on the side of professional, her opening line was casual, quirky, and surprising. Plus, you feel her personality in the line, and when an employer feels like a real person is behind the cover letter, she's going to want to keep reading.
9. Start with a lesson you've learned in your career.
A great way to start a cover letter is with a lesson you've learned in your industry from your experience.
For example, you might say something like, " As a [current job position] with high-level management experience in the [industry], I learned that the best way to achieve success was to [biggest lesson you've learned]."
This opening sentence lets a recruiter know your experience level. Not only that, but it starts off with how you can benefit the company, not how the company will benefit you.
10. Start off with intrigue.
When you're applying to larger corporate companies, you know that recruiters are getting hundreds of applicants for one entry-level position.
It's important to intrigue the hiring manager and recognize that they're looking at several applicants.
For example, you could say, " I understand that you have been deluged with resumes since you've been listed as one of the best companies to work for. Mine is one more, but I do have experience that is hard to come by."
After this, it'd be great to list examples, stats, and experience that set you apart from other candidates and will benefit the company.
Recruiters see countless resumes and cover letters every day. It's important to start your cover letter in a unique way so you can stand out amongst the crowd.
11. Start with a mutual connection.
If an internal employee suggested you apply for a role at their company, don't be shy about highlighting that fact. Hiring Managers will want to see that you've been vetted — even informally — by someone else at the company. Recognizing the name of someone they know internally will likely persuade them to give you another look.
To do this tactfully, start with something like this: "At the suggestion of my old colleague Jane Smith, I am submitting my resume for your consideration for the senior copywriter position. Jane's knowledge and enthusiasm for Company X further convinced me that this is a company where my communication skills, passion for travel, and desire to be challenged can be met."
Why This Works
When the hiring manager sees a fellow employee can attest to your work ethic, it helps assuage any risk she might feel she's taking by hiring someone she doesn't know personally. Plus, it shows you've done your research and you're truly interested in the company itself — rather than sending off a slew of generic cover letters, you took the time to identify an internal connection.
12. Begin with your personal mission statement.
Don't have a personal mission statement? You might want to take some time to create one . A good mission statement can help hiring managers understand why you're passionate about what you do — which goes a long way towards ensuring you'll work hard in your next role.
A few examples on how you might start a cover letter with a personal mission statement look like this: "As a content creator, I believe inspiring readers through creative, persuasive copywriting is vital for helping them excel professionally."
Or: "As a leader, I believe encouraging innovation and creativity is critical for ensuring my employees can do their best work and improve the lives of our customers."
A manager can help you level up on certain key skills, but she can't teach you to love your job. By demonstrating an intrinsic motivation, you're essentially telling the hiring manager, "I know the importance of this role — so I won't slack off on it."
Editor's note: This post was originally published in May 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
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How To Start a Cover Letter With Examples and Tips
Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.
- How to Start a Cover Letter
- Cover Letter Opening Sentence Examples
Personalize Your Cover Letter
- What to Write in the Rest of Your Letter
Cover Letter Sample
More cover letter examples and templates.
Theresa Chiechi / The Balance
What's the best way to start a cover letter for a job? The first couple of sentences of your cover letter are the most important ones. Recruiters and hiring managers often spend mere seconds scanning your application.
If your cover letter doesn't grab their attention right away, they may never even get as far as the second paragraph. What should these all-important first sentences say? Keep in mind that you're hoping to differentiate yourself from the competition. Your goal is to explain to the reader who you are, why you're writing, and how you can contribute to the employer's success.
This might mean highlighting a contact , providing a quick window into your relevant background and experience, or emphasizing a significant accomplishment that would make you an asset to the organization.
Think about why the hiring manager should select you, above all other candidates, for an interview, and you'll be on the right track.
How to Start a Cover Letter
Be direct. In these opening sentences, you want to explicitly let the reader know which position you're applying for. Hiring managers are often looking at candidates for several open jobs at any given time. Make sure it's easy for them to discover your intent. For example:
I am interested in the coordinator position at ABC company.
Mention a contact. If someone referred you to the position , include that information early on as well. Referrals are one of the key aspects to securing an interview, so be sure to mention yours right away. For example:
Jane Doe suggested I contact you about the job, as she feels my skills would be a good fit for the position.
State an accomplishment. Try to state an accomplishment from your previous job. If you can, show how you added value to the last company you worked for. You might even add the job title you had if it's similar to the one you are applying for. For example:
As coordinator at XYZ Enterprises, I have increased my group's output by 37% over the past 15 months.
Express excitement. Convey your passion for your work, and your excitement about the job and company. Your cover letter is an opportunity to sell yourself to the hiring manager, and to share why you're well qualified for the job. For example:
I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss what I have to bring to the position at ABC company.
Use keywords. If you can include any keywords from the job listing, do so. You can mention a skill you have that was included in the post. For example:
My track history of successfully managing teams and delivering projects on time and on budget makes me a good fit for this role.
Examples of Cover Letter Opening Sentences
- 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 utilize the resources I had by employing well-defined objectives and an attitude of empowerment.
- I am very interested in the entry-level position that is available at ABC Investment Partners. I recently graduated from XYZ college, and my courses in investments, finance, and business have equipped me with a solid base upon which I plan to build my career.
- I am writing to express my strong interest in the international marketing position open at WellCam, Inc. My colleague Janna Doling recommended that I contact you directly about this position, owing to the years I have spent developing successful campaigns for XYZ company.
- I'm writing to express my interest in the editorial assistant position listed on Monster.com. Given my five years of editorial experience and excellent capabilities, I would appreciate your consideration for this position.
- I have a very strong interest in pursuing a teaching career. With experience working at both 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.
- I was excited to read about the administrative assistant job opening at XYZ company. I have several years of administrative experience in a variety of fields, including insurance and finance.
- I understand that you have been deluged with resumes since Computer World released their list of the best companies to work for. Mine is one more, but I do have experience that is hard to come by.
- 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.
When you're not sure how to get started, it can be really helpful to review examples of cover letters . You can use these as a guide, but be sure to tailor your introduction to your personal circumstances and the job you're applying for.
The more closely you construct your cover letter to show that you're a match for the job requirements , the better your chances of getting selected for an interview.
What to Write in the Rest of Your Cover Letter
Of course, the rest of your letter is important too. You'll need to use an appropriate salutation , and make your cover letter closing polite and inviting. In the body of your letter , you have the opportunity to pitch your qualifications for the job in more detail than you have room for in your resume.
If there are specific events or accomplishments you feel are likely to make you stand out, you can briefly mention them and explain in more detail should you secure an interview.
Make sure your contact information is complete as well, and format your signature to match the letter style you are using.
Download the cover letter template (compatible with Google Docs or Word Online) or read the example below.
Sample Cover Letter (Text Version)
John Smith 37 Oak Street Middle Village, New York 10502 555-555-555 firstname.lastname@example.org
March 22, 2021
Dr. Jane Doe All Smiles Dentistry 5 Main Street, Suite A Middle Village, New York 10502
Dear Dr. Doe,
My former coworker, Maria Rodriguez, suggested that I contact you to express my interest in the position of dental assistant in your office in Middle Village.
I’m a licensed dental assistant with over 10 years of experience helping dentists and hygienists make their patients smile. In my current role with ABC Dental, I have gained proficiency in the four-handed dentistry technique, as well as mastering Henry Schein Dentix software.
I also have the following skills and qualifications, as outlined in the job description on your website:
- Experience taking and developing dental X-rays
- Infection control expertise, including preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment
- Knowledge of several different types of scheduling software
- Language skills (bilingual: English/Spanish)
- Excellent customer service skills and attention to detail
Most importantly, I love people. I consider it a great privilege to help dentists improve their patients’ lives by providing the very best support and customer care.
I’ve enclosed my resume, and I hope you’ll contact me at your convenience to arrange an interview.
Signature (hard copy letter)
Review cover letter examples for many different types of jobs, and get downloadable templates you can use to write your own cover letters.
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How to Start a Cover Letter: 7 Great Cover Letter Openings (+Examples)
Beginnings are always hard. The same goes for writing a cover letter. You know exactly what you want to say, but you’re not sure how to start a cover letter.
Generally speaking, the cover letter intro is a place where you should:
- introduce yourself in detail
- explain why the job is exciting for you
- show you’re a great fit for the position
Of course, there’s no single right way to do it. That means that you’ve got multiple options and can get a little creative.
Whether you’re looking for a traditional cover letter introduction, or something more unconventional, you’ll find it in this article — together with a quick guide and cover letter openings examples.
Alternatively, you can also just watch this quick video guide on how to write a cover letter below.
Successful cover letter introductions (examples)
We’ve gathered some really good opening lines from successful cover letters that got people hired in well-known companies such as HubSpot, Siemens, or Lush:
HubSpot Director of Business Development Cover Letter Sample
Account Executive Cover Letter Intro Sample
Sales Associate at LUSH Cover Letter Intro Example
Siemens SCADA Engineer Cover Letter Intro Template
Warner Bros. Public Relations Intern Cover Letter Example
Do you want to know how to craft such a strong cover letter opening yourself? Follow a quick guide below.
And if you prefer to see more examples from hired professionals or find a job-specific cover letter example for your industry, visit our cover letter library .
Intro paragraph: a quick guide on how to start a cover letter
When it comes to cover letter openings, rule number one is that you should always start your cover letter in a way that grabs a recruiter’s attention from the get go.
On the other hand, be careful and stay professional. Don’t overdo it.
So the question is — when should you pick a standard opening paragraph and when to go with something more creative?
Well, it all depends on a particular job and the company culture .
Take time to research each company where you’re applying for a job and identify its tone of voice.
Are they formal or casual? Look at the job description, their website, and social media accounts and you’ll be able to get the right idea.
Then in your cover letter opening, follow at least one of these 7 main principles :
1. Be direct
Employers are busy people who usually don’t have time to read long texts or overused cover letter phrases . What they want to know is simply whether you’re a good fit. Why not make it easier for them and be specific from the very beginning?
Let them know what position you’re applying for and use your cover letter opening to highlight years of experience in your field and any relevant hard or soft skills you bring to the table.
It’s a universal, yet effective answer to how to start a cover letter.
Cover Letter Intro Example #1
I am very interested in the Sales Specialist opportunity at [Company XYZ] that was advertised on LinkedIn. I am a hard-working and dedicated individual with over two years of extensive industry experience, a Business & Management degree from McGill University, and a strong determination to meet and exceed all business goals and objectives.
2. Respond to the company’s needs
Employers want to know how you can contribute to their company. The first paragraph of the cover letter is a great place to demonstrate that.
Have a look at the job offer, go over the company’s needs, and pick those that you can easily relate to.
Then take a look at your achievements and impressive skills, and use them to illustrate how you can bring value to the new job. Ideally by mentioning any quantifiable results from your previous jobs.
Cover Letter Intro Example #2
Over the course of last year, I more than doubled [Company XYZ]’s Twitter followers and ran two successful Instagram ad campaigns that generated $35K+ in revenue. I’d love to bring my expertise in organically expanding the social reach and delivering ROI to the social media manager position at [Company XYZ].
3. Include company facts and news
Companies want to see that you’re interested in them and their industry. If you show that you already know about them and have done your research, you can make a great first impression.
Browse their website and scour the internet for related news articles. They can provide you with interesting facts that pertain to your role.
It can be anything — a specific event, fact, notable statistic, or an award that the company has recently received.
Cover Letter Intro Example #3
When I saw that [Company XYZ] was featured in Fortune Magazine last month for its commitment to renewable energy and reducing waste in the workplace, I was truly inspired. With my track record of reducing costs by over 30% and promoting sustainable technologies, I’m excited about the opportunity to take on the account executive role to expand your company’s growth and work towards a greener future.
4. Highlight a mutual connection
Referrals can work like magic when it comes to getting invited to a job interview . So if someone has recommended you for a position or you know anyone at the company who can vouch for you, mention their name right away.
After reading your cover letter, recruiters will most likely want to learn why your referrer thought you’d be a good fit. If nothing else, it will make recruiters pay attention to the rest of your cover letter.
Cover Letter Intro Example #4
I was excited to learn of this job opportunity from my former colleague, Lucy May. We’ve worked closely together for several years, most recently on a complex data analysis project at [Company XYZ]. She advised me to apply as she thought I’d be a good match for this position on your team.
5. Show passion for what you do
Employers love job candidates who are enthusiastic about what they do. These candidates tend to perform better and are more dedicated to their roles.
So if you’re all hyped up about your job, don’t hesitate to infuse your cover letter with a couple of sentences demonstrating your excitement about what you’re doing.
Cover Letter Intro Example #5
I knew I had a knack for writing ever since I was the main editor of our high school magazine. Thanks to my 15+ years of experience, I’ve transformed my passion into a fashion blog with 30K+ monthly readers, featured articles on Time and Cosmopolitan that have garnered over 50K views, and a writer’s workshop I founded for young up-and-coming writers.
6. Open with a relevant accomplishment
Hiring managers like achievers. If you’ve accomplished something noteworthy while with your previous employer, there’s a good chance you can bring the same value to your next job too.
What’s more, it shows that you’re an expert in your field.
If you have any special skills or accomplishments that will make you stand out from other job candidates, mention them right away in your cover letter opening.
However, try to make no general claims without providing evidence. Support your arguments with real numbers and statistics.
Cover Letter Intro Example #6
Over the past year as digital marketing manager at [Company XYZ], I’ve generated $50k+ in revenue, increased organic traffic to our blog by 18%, and almost tripled our social media ROI.
7. Use humor and creativity
Recruiters are human beings, too (shocking). In a pile of boring resumes and repetitive cover letters and motivation letters , they may find a good joke, juicy pun, or funny opening line a nice refreshing break.
It can even be a reason to call you up for an interview.
So if the company seems to have an easygoing vibe, use humor to bring attention to your skills or relevant personal traits that are needed for the position you’re targeting.
Cover Letter Intro Example #7
Before I flood you with all the reasons why I’m going to be your next writer, I would like to tell you a little about myself. I didn’t learn to hold a pencil until I was about six years old, which made everyone think I’d never pen a single letter. And now here I am, bidding to become your next Shakespeare.
Cover letter beginning: What other things to include?
Now that you saw some great examples of cover letter openings, you may wonder what else can you do to perfect your cover letter introduction.
Well, there are a few other key elements that a good cover letter beginning should include :
- contact information both for you and the company
- headline (optional)
- personalized greeting
To know where to put this information, just scroll down.
Find out your resume score!
This is the place for your and your company’s contact information.
Make sure that right at the top of the page you list your contact details such as:
- phone number
Optionally, you can also include:
- your professional title
- date of birth
- current date
- personal website/LinkedIn
Additionally, never forget to add company-related information . You should always include the manager’s recruiter’s name (if it was made available to you), job title department, the name of the company, and their address.
Left align all of this information. Or make it easy for yourself and choose a pre-designed cover letter template and only fill in the details.
You don’t have to include it, but it can help you grab the hiring manager’s attention.
In your cover letter headline, you can use numbers, questions, or interesting adjectives .
It can be something like “5 Ways I Can Help You Improve Your Company’s Marketing.”
Alternatively, you can just state the name of the position you’re applying for.
Salutation (or how to address a cover letter)
Try to avoid using “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam” . This form of address, while correct, has become so overused it won’t help you stand out at all.
Instead, try to research the hiring manager’s name online . Look at the job posting, and check the company’s website or LinkedIn .
Alternatively, you can address it to the whole team or HR.
Generally, stick to these rules:
- How to address a cover letter to a recruiter or hiring manager: The best practice is to use a personalized greeting in the following form: “Dear [first name]” or “Dear Mr./Mrs. [last name]” for formal companies.
- How to address a cover letter to multiple recipients: If you’re addressing your cover letter to the entire team or human resources, you can use “Dear [name of the company/department] Team” or “Dear Human Resources” .
- How to address a cover letter to an unknown person: If you fail to find the hiring manager’s name and don’t want to address your cover letter to an entire team or HR, use “Dear Hiring Manager” , or “Dear Recruitment Officer” .
After the salutations, you can continue with an attention-grabbing intro paragraph.
HR expert tip: Christy’s word of advice
“In general, a traditional formal cover letter is the safest bet. But there are times when you can totally throw that advice out the window and have a bit of fun putting your personality on paper! Take a look at how the company brands its ‘voice’ on its website and in the job description. Do they sound relaxed and personality-driven? Is formality anathema to them? If yes, don’t be afraid to reciprocate (while still keeping it professional). After all, you’re not just applying for a job: you’re applying to be part of the company’s culture”. — Christy Morgan, Resident HR Expert
Key takeaways: How to begin a cover letter
To sum up — the beginning of your cover letter will determine whether the hiring managers will read the rest of it or not.
If you want them to pay attention to what you have to say, make sure your cover letter opening:
- Uses a personalized greeting
- Says who you are
- Shows you’re passionate about the job or the company
- Highlights your top (and relevant) accomplishments and skills
- Mentions a mutual contact
- Reflects the company’s tone of voice
- Is tailored to a specific position and company’s needs
- Uses keywords from the job description
- Is short, nice, and direct
Of course, the rest of your cover letter is important too.
If you’d like to know what to write in the rest of your letter, check out our complete cover letter guide , get inspired by cover letter examples , or learn how to end a cover letter .
This article was recently updated. The original article was written by Nikoleta Žišková in 2021.
Kaja Jurcisinova is a fresh graduate and a junior copywriter at Kickresume. Kaja completed her undergraduate degree in Art History at the University of St Andrews in 2018 and graduated with a Master’s in Arts and Culture from the University of Groningen in 2021. She was an intern at multiple cultural institutions across Europe, including the Dutch Museum Association in Amsterdam, the Matter of Art Biennale in Prague, and the European Cultural Centre in Venice. At the moment, she resides in Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland.
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7 cover letter openers to land you an interview
When your job application is jostling for attention, a great cover letter can set you apart from the crowd – so starting out with strong opening lines is key.
A letter that grabs the employer’s attention from the first paragraph will give you a far better chance of scoring an interview.
“If a recruiter is finding it difficult to cut down their shortlist due to a number of really strong candidates, then the cover letters may help them narrow down that list,” says Leah Lambart, a Career Coach at Relaunch Me .
Research for SEEK shows nearly half (47%) of employers say a customised cover letter influences their decision to hire the applicant. And 53% of employers think that including examples of skills is one of the most important things for applicants to include in their application.
A great opener to your cover letter can help you show both your genuine interest in the role, and your skills – so it’s worth putting some extra effort into those first few lines.
How to start out strong with your cover letter
So, how do you convince the employer that you’re the right person for the job in the first few sentences?
“Be confident that you have the skills and attributes to be successful in the role,” Lambart says. If you’re unsure how to convey that, preparation will help.
- Read the job ad closely: Take time to fully understand what the employer is looking for in an employee. Make a note of the key requirements and check back after you’ve written your letter draft to ensure you’ve covered them all.
- Sell your soft skills: Don’t just write about your technical skills, qualifications and experience, Lambart says. Also show that you have the soft skills, like communication and resilience , that they would desire in an employee.“It’s particularly important not to overlook this for technical roles in IT, engineering or data analysis,” she says.
When you start writing, it can help to think about your 30-second-elevator pitch and ask yourself:
- What can I do that this employer would really want?
- Why am I best for the role and organisation?
- What experience and strengths can I highlight?
“At the end of the day, your cover letter needs to convey three things: that you can do the job, that you want the job and that you will fit into their organisation,” Lambart says.
Cover letter opener ideas
With all this in mind, it can still be hard to start writing your cover letter when you’re staring at a blank screen. To get you started, here are some ideas for opening lines that you can adapt to your situation:
- Highlight the job title and your achievements: Get right to the point and highlight your background, says Pete Noblet, senior regional director at Hays . ‘As a Social Media Consultant for [Company A], I manage many digital media channels to help drive engagement and brand awareness with consumers. By implementing new social media marketing initiatives, I have tripled our audience on Facebook and doubled our followers on Twitter. This has led to an increase in website traffic, lead generation and sales.’
- Show your knowledge of the industry and its challenges . Lambart suggests an opening such as: ‘With 10+ years’ experience in the wine industry, representing international brands in global markets, I have developed a strong network of customers across hospitality and retail. I understand the challenges faced by both sellers and suppliers in navigating international supply chain logistics, accessing new markets/products and optimising commercial performance. I’m excited by the potential for digital solutions to transform the wine industry and recognise [Company X]’s emerging leadership in this space.’
- Show your genuine interest in the role and explain how the role will enable you to follow your career interests, Lambart says. ‘Having worked as a senior Procurement Specialist for diverse businesses, primarily in the SME sector, I am keen to join [Company X] to develop my procurement career within a large and complex multinational FMCG business. The dynamic nature of this role and the opportunity to be actively involved in value chain analysis and value engineering is of particular interest to me, as I have a natural aptitude for analysis and critical thinking.’
- Use keywords . Employers love keywords, Noblet says, and they’ll also be picked up by automatic applicant tracking systems. ‘Written and verbal communications are two of my key strengths. My extensive experience in public relations has honed my skills in media relations, social media, community engagement and leading a team. By combining these skills, I believe I am the best candidate for the position of Communications Manager.’
- Refer to your network of contacts . Name dropping can work well, Noblet says. ‘My name is _____ and recently I spoke to your Communications Coordinator, _____, who informed me about the opening in your human resources department. She recommended I contact you about the position because of my strong interest in HR.’ However, Lambart adds: “Be wary of name dropping if it’s possible that the person won’t remember you.”
- Show you’re informed . Employers are impressed if you’ve taken the time to research the company, Noblet says. ‘Your company has recently been featured in the Sydney Morning Herald and the AFR because of your partnership with not-for-profit [Company A]. The articles have inspired me to seek employment with your company and I would like to apply for the position of Receptionist.’
- Show your enthusiasm . Employers love to see potential employees who are excited about the company and are genuinely interested in what the company does. “If you’re applying for a graduate program, try to avoid being generic. Explain why this organisation stands out from their competitors,” Lambart says. ‘I was excited to find an opening in IT with [Company X] because of your work with data analytics. I have been watching for openings at your organisation for a while now. I’m an ideal candidate for this position because it combines my experience with IT and data analytics.’
More cover letter tips to keep in mind
Lambart also has a couple of other pieces of advice to consider when crafting your cover letter opener:
- Mention leaders in the organisation you admire . “You might highlight that you recently listened to a podcast where the CEO was interviewed which really inspired you,” Lambart says.
- Match the language used in the job ad and on the company website , Lambart says. For example, if the company refers to “client service” on their website, use that term in your letter, rather than “customer service”.
- Even if a job ad doesn’t ask for a letter, write one anyway , Lambart says. “It shows that you’re serious about the job and not just sending out resumes all over town. It’s also a great way to clearly demonstrate that you meet the criteria for the role, have done your research on the organisation and have a genuine interest in both the role and the company.”
When there’s strong competition for a role, your letter can set you apart from other candidates and help you land an interview. Using the opening lines of your cover letter to showcase your genuine interest in the role, your knowledge of the industry and your soft skills will tell employers why you’re a great fit for the role, right from the start.
Source: Independent research conducted by Nature of behalf of SEEK, interviewing 4800 Australians annually. Published November 2021.
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6 of the Most Captivating Cover Letter Openers (& Why They Work)
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Career Advice Experts
Let's cut straight to the chase: most cover letters are bad. In fact, Dawn Rasmussen, certified resume writer and president of Pathfinder Writing and Career Services , happily admits that "I love writing cover letter openings because I know how bad they usually are."
But that doesn't mean your cover letter is destined for the slush pile. By starting with what Rasmussen calls a hook, you can snag a hiring manager's attention — and even a new job.
“The best openings — otherwise known as a hook — are attention-getters,” Rasmussen says. “Hooks are similar to headlines you see online that tempt you to click and find out more."
How can you write a hook? You can open with a compelling quote, tell a story, use humor and much more. Here are six cover letter strategies you can use — plus examples you can emulate — along with the reasons why they work so well, so that you can get to writing.
Strategy 1: Open With a Quote
Dear [Hiring Manager],
“It is the spirit and not the form of law that keeps justice alive.” — Earl Warren
As a public defender, my job is to keep justice alive, and I do this by relentlessly pursuing avenues to ensure that this is carried through for the people that I represent.
According to Rasmussen, this opening works really well because “it specifically addresses the underlying motivators that encompass both law [the candidate’s chosen industry] and the driving force for justice, which fits right along the lines of what a public defender does.”
Strategy 2: Pique a Hiring Manager's Curiosity
I knew that I was destined for greatness when I was slimed on Nickelodeon. Nothing like being covered in green goo to help you realize your potential. "How does this apply to the open internship at Airbnb ?" you may be wondering. Because I am collaborative, creative and tenacious enough to get a bunch of smelly slime dumped on me and still keep smiling.
Lindsay Mustain, Talent Paradigm 's vice president of business development and job coach, says that starting a letter in a way that piques curiosity is "considered a pattern interrupt. It's silly and interesting. It's enough for someone to stop and get a little bit of attention and keep your audience interested in your story. Make sure it's something interesting to read."
Strategy 3: Show You Pay Attention to Company News
According to a recent article in the Portland Business Journal, “ABC Corporation just signed a new lease on a 100,000-square-foot office park.”
Because [your company] is making the news with such a large new office space addition, growth is in your immediate future.
It is clear that your company is adding headcount, so having a sales team that can scale revenues accordingly is critical to your continued success. And that’s where I come in.
Accelerating revenues is a hallmark of my career, and since my background is in the same sector, I see a great deal of opportunity to help expand your company’s footprint in the marketplace and enhance the bottom line with new sales.
“Holding a mirror back up to the employer so they can see themselves in the news is a great attention-getter ,” says Rasmussen. “But it also shows critical thinking skills — tying together that a new lease means more people and more money needed to keep operations afloat.”
Strategy 4: Tell a Story
When Flight 1549 touched down into the cold, dark waters of the Hudson River on January 15, 2009, as a passenger, I thought my life was over.
Seeing the professionalism and calmness of the entire flight crew was something to which I immediately connected. I had thought about becoming a flight attendant in the past, but something clicked in that moment — and I realized that my desire to serve in this capacity was actually being born in that moment.
There’s a “wow factor” when you tell a story in the opening of your cover letter, Rasmussen explains. “It grabs your attention, and makes you think, ‘Here’s someone who had something major happen to them. I should read on.'” It also shows off your personality, too.
Strategy 5: Show Your Passion
When I heard Elon Musk's quote, "when something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor," I knew I needed to tell you about the passion I have around the vision that Tesla has for infinitely scalable clean energy. I've been dreaming of a career with Tesla since I was in college and the Tesla Roadster became available.
Fact: businesses want to hire people who are passionate about their industry and company . So, show that passion, Mustain encourages. "You know the business, you know the founder, you know the mission," she says. "You are a raving fan and educated about the company. You start with why you believe in them," and then take the letter from there.
Strategy 6: Write Unconventionally
Congratulations! You have just reached the last résumé you’ll need to read to fill the open operations manager position.
So relax, put your feet up and read on to find out how I can help your company reach its productivity, cost management and efficiency goals.
This cover letter opener is gutsy, but that’s the point, Rasmussen says. “The candidate is literally going directly to the key pain points of what the employer needs,” she points out, “but in an upbeat way without being too snarky.”
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5 opening lines for your cover letter that will set you apart
Table of Contents:
Resumes tend to steal much of the limelight when you are preparing to apply for a new job, but in many cases, the cover letter is the first thing a manager will read. Or worse, the dreaded scanning software — also known as the ATS — will decide if you make it to the shortlist of candidates based on how well you wrote your cover letter.
Before we get to the examples, there are a few key components to your first sentence that you need to keep in mind:
- State the position you are applying for clearly.
- Lead with your best skill.
- Show your excitement for the position.
- If there’s a connection, mention the person by name.
- If at all possible, include a keyword from the job posting (to work with the scanning programs).
Weave in your experience like a pro
When you’re the expert, you need to make that clear. The first sentence of your cover letter is like your initial handshake and a snapshot of your professional ability all in one.
So carefully add details indicating your skills that match the job posting. You also want to mention the name of the position (even shorthand) in the first sentence.
“Make sure the letter is targeted and specific. You can’t just say ‘I’d be a great team member.’ You have to let the hiring manager know what specific skills you have that would make you a great marketing manager or office assistant,” Anita Bruzzese, author of Take This Job and Thrive , wrote.
“I have been preparing to become a Director of Surgery for the last 12 years at Mt. Sinai Hospital, where I’ve worked beneath Dr. Benson to learn the best leadership practices.”
Name-drop with grace
If an executive at the company you are interviewing for suggested you apply, be sure to state that connection and endorsement upfront. You have the backing of an MVP at the new company, and that means something. But you’ll want to use that information to share your connection and to show that you are the right candidate by also stating you have the experience, education, or drive. You also want to make sure you put that name in the opening paragraph of your cover letter.
Example first sentence:
“When Sarah Sidle called me to recommend I apply for the Lead Software Engineer job, I knew that it would be the right company and challenge to suit my technical education.”
Capture your low-key excitement
Do not use the tired “I was so excited to come across the job posting for XYZ…” first sentence. It shows that you’ve likely just copied a cover letter template and not put much effort into customizing it for this new opportunity. “Start with the punch line — why this job is exciting to you and what you bring to the table,” Jodi Glickman, author of Great on the Job , suggests.
The key to a stellar first sentence that grabs the recruiter’s attention is to show you really want this job, but not to be overly excited (read: unprofessional) or underwhelming (using a boring opener).
Example excitement explanation:
“I have been avidly following the release of your new digital platform over the last year, and when the Marketing Director position was flagged by a Google Alert this week, I immediately rearranged my schedule to apply for the position.”
Use natural keywords
You’ve likely read all about how scanning software will read through your resume and cover letter to identify if you’re a good fit. For those programs, it’s all about the keywords. Here’s how you find them.
Go through the job posting and read it once. Any repeated words, highlight them. Any key skills, highlight them. Then strategically place these words in your material to indicate you have those exact skills for the job.
Here’s one example opening sentence with keywords:
“I’m applying for the Operations Manager position because I have a decade of experience in the same industry, but I also have the unique combination of logistics, negotiations, and budget-creation skills you seek.”
Hit them with your best shot
Lastly, you can (and should) lead with your best skill. If the job you’re applying for is looking for a very specific set of skills or education that only you and a select few have, you need to state that.
Even more impressive is backing up your proficiency with proof. Just like your resume needs data to support its claims, your cover letter should lead with data too.
Keep in mind that you want to keep your cover letter concise, in general. Getting straight to the point in the first sentence will help make your cover letter stand out, and it’ll be easy for a busy hiring manager to scan quickly. “Most cover letters I see are too long,” John Lees, author of Knockout CV , says.
Example sentence with supporting evidence:
“I’m applying for the Motorsport Engineering Analyst position because I am one of the few graduate engineers with a racing pedigree, which has been proven by designing and optimizing race-winning vehicles using my own coding and analysis systems.”
The strength of this sentence will determine if you make it to the shortlist of candidates based on how well you wrote your cover letter.
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Home Cover Letter Help How to Start a Cover Letter
How to Start a Cover Letter: Introduction Tips & Examples
Not sure how to start a cover letter? Here are examples of opening lines and seven tips for writing a strong cover letter introduction to improve your chances of getting an interview.
How to start a cover letter
How do you start a cover letter in a way that immediately grabs attention? Many hiring managers only spend a few seconds scanning your application, so the first paragraph of your cover letter is key if you want to maximize your chances of getting an interview.
Craft a strong cover letter introduction
Knowing how to begin a cover letter in a way that draws positive attention is the first step to figuring out how to write a cover letter that will impress any hiring manager.
Hiring managers often have to pour over dozens of applications at a time. One way to make a good impression is to respect their time by writing a cover letter that gets straight to the point.
To get a hiring manager’s attention, your cover letter introduction should include the following information in the first couple of sentences:
- The position you’re applying for
- The company you’re applying to
- How you learned about the job opening
- A statement expressing and explaining your interest in the position
- Any outstanding achievements that highlight your qualifications
Additionally, to start your cover letter off strong, make sure that your introduction is:
- Creative (when appropriate)
- Focused on the company’s needs
Be sure to mention any mutual contacts you have at the company as well. By making your cover letter opening hit the right tone, you can easily catch the attention of employers and improve your chances of getting an interview.
Consider your cover letter opening lines
Knowing what to write for the opening lines of your cover letter can be difficult because they’ll often form the first impression employers have of you as a candidate.
The best cover letter opening lines are simple, direct, and informative. While it can be tempting to use cover letter starters that are unique and add flair to your application, you should make sure that your opening is appropriate for the company culture. Otherwise, you risk your cover letter coming across as unprofessional or gimmicky.
Here are 5 cover letter opening sentence examples to give you some ideas:
- As a recent graduate of Western Michigan University with a degree in business-oriented chemistry, I was excited to see your listing on Indeed for a Marketing Associate at AMCOL Corp.
- With 6+ years of K-12 teaching experience, I was thrilled to hear that you have an opening for a 4th grade teacher from John Marquez, who I worked with for several years at Whitman Elementary School.
- As a cybersecurity expert with 3 years of experience in online banking systems, I am seeking a new opportunity and was intrigued by your job listing for a Cybersecurity Consultant.
- As a responsible and organized NNA-trained notary, I am writing to apply for the Notary Public position with PRA Group listed on LinkedIn.
- After speaking with my former colleague Mary Waltman about the open Real Estate Agent position at Weichert Co., I decided I couldn’t miss out on such an exciting opportunity and am writing to express my interest in joining your agency.
The examples above are effective because they indicate precisely what position the candidate is seeking, as well as their relevant experience, qualifications, or connections.
Including informative details like this in the first sentence immediately gives employers a good idea of what makes you an ideal candidate, and encourages them to keep reading.
7 tips for starting a cover letter (with examples)
To help you learn how to open a cover letter in a way that stands out from the rest and lands you an interview, we’ve assembled seven essential writing tips.
1. Express enthusiasm for the role
Employers love candidates who are enthusiastic about their work. That’s why one of the first things any hiring manager looks for in your cover letter is enthusiasm . Specifically, they want to see that your passions align with the responsibilities associated with the role.
Employees who are passionate about their work are likely to perform better, stay longer, and make a greater long-term contribution to the company.
To demonstrate your enthusiasm, use your cover letter’s opening paragraph. Explain what draws you to the position, and how it fits into your career goals.
My senior year of high school, I saved up for nearly a year to buy the first generation Oculus Rift headset — my parents thought I was nuts. But ever since, I’ve been obsessed with the potential of virtual reality technology and have been thrilled to see its presence grow in our changing media industry. That’s why I’m excited for the opportunity to put my passion for VR to work as an Engineer at NextGen VR Corp, and help build the future of virtual reality technology.
2. Show your excitement about the work being done by the company
If you’re genuinely excited about a company’s brand, their mission statement, or their products, highlight this excitement in your cover letter introduction. Relate the company’s work to your personal mission .
Employers value candidates who are personally excited to contribute to a company’s goals because it’s a clear indicator that they’d be an immediate benefit to the team.
As a long-term admirer of the contributions to solar panel technology being made by the team at GreenWays Engineering, I’m excited to submit my application for the entry-level technician position. As a recent graduate from the University of Rochester with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering, I’m confident that my knowledge of PV systems, practical experience performing energy modeling assessments, and precise attention to detail will make me an asset to the team at GreenWays.
3. Impress employers with an accomplishment
The best cover letters demonstrate a candidate’s expertise. So if you have experience in your field, start your cover letter by noting a professional achievement that demonstrates your expertise in your industry.
Draw a connection between the contributions you made at your previous job, and how the skills you learned there will help you achieve similar results in your next role.
By being upfront about your relevant accomplishments, you reassure employers that you’re fully capable of performing the job.
I’m writing to you today to apply for the Senior Accountant role at Walker & Company I saw on Indeed.com. As an accountant with 6+ years of experience, I’ve honed my accounting skills and gained a variety of experience that I’m confident will help me contribute significantly to the team at Walker & Co. Last year while working for Smith Johnson & Sons, I balanced a $400,000 budget, while reducing costs by 20% for a client. Given the opportunity, I believe I can achieve similar results in the Senior Accountant role at Walker & Company, while further enhancing my expertise.
4. Mention a contact
If you were referred to the role by a former coworker, classmate, or friend, mention their name in the opening sentence for your cover letter.
Hiring managers are more likely to take your application seriously if you’ve been recommended by someone they already work with and respect. That’s why referencing a mutual contact is one of the most effective ways to distinguish yourself from other applicants, especially if you’re writing an entry-level cover letter .
In fact, according to LinkedIn 70% of people hired in 2016 had a connection at their new company, making networking the most effective way to get a job.
To see how to reference your contact effectively, here’s a real-life example:
I was excited to hear about the open position of social media manager at StarWon from an ex-colleague of mine, Jennifer Henderson. We were on the same social media team at Turbofun for two years, where we worked on eight projects together. I’ve heard great things about the work being done at StarWon, and I’m confident that my skills and experience would be an excellent asset to your team.
5. Use humor or creativity (if appropriate)
Hiring managers come across dozens of generic cover letters every day. Injecting humor into your cover letter opening is an effective way to add personality to your application as well as catch (and maintain) the hiring manager’s attention.
However, don’t make your cover letter intro too quirky. Depending on the type of position you’re applying for or the company you want to work at, a casual tone might come across as unprofessional.
Additionally, avoid making your cover letter opening longer than it needs to be. While creativity can help you grab attention, many hiring managers will find anything that exceeds standard cover letter length to be tedious.
So before adding humor to your cover letter, do some research about the company culture and decide whether a casual tone is actually appropriate.
As an online native who’s obsessed (yes, obsessed) with the GoGourmet app, I was thrilled to see your listing for the Social Media Manager position at GoGourmet Studios. Before I started watching GoGourmet’s content, I didn’t know the difference between a ham steak and a lamb shank. While I still may not be much of a chef, I would consider myself something of a social media sommelier. With over three years of professional experience as an online brand manager under my belt, I’m confident my adaptability and hands-on branding experience would make me the ideal candidate to help GoGourmet expand their online presence and user base.
6. Demonstrate what you can do for the company
Ultimately, employers want evidence that you’ll be able to contribute to their company. To catch their attention, use your cover letter opening lines to either highlight a problem you’re confident you can tackle for them, or any specific hard or soft skills you bring to the table.
I’m writing to apply for the Software Engineer role at Jasper Development. With over five years of experience as a backend engineer, I’m confident that my expertise would allow me to become an immediate contributor to the team at Jasper. Specifically, I understand that Jasper is looking to expand their services in cloud computing. At my previous job, I spearheaded a new cloud computing project that generated a 15% revenue increase. The Software Engineer role at Jasper would be an exciting opportunity for me to hone my skills in this area while helping your team build their cloud computing capacity.
7. Be direct
Hiring managers are busy people, and often don’t have time to read each cover letter thoroughly. To make sure your application isn’t overlooked, write a short cover letter and state the job you’re applying for clearly and concisely in the first paragraph of your cover letter, that way there’s no confusion about your intent.
I’m writing to apply for the Restaurant Manager position at La Fare Bistro. With more than eight years in the restaurant industry as a server, manager, and host, I’m confident that my expertise aligns closely with the responsibilities required of the Restaurant Manager position.
Cover letter opening template
If you’re still not sure how to start your cover letter, below is a text template you can copy and paste into a document. Once you’ve got your cover letter opening down, don’t forget to pay attention to the rest of your cover letter format .
YOUR NAME Address : Street, City, State, Zip Code | Email : [email protected] | Phone : (303) 456-7876 | LinkedIn : linkedin.com/in/your.profile
[Hiring Manager’s Name] 123 Company Address Company’s City, State, Zip Code (xxx) xxx-xxxx [email protected]
Dear [Mr./Ms./Mx.] [Hiring Manager’s Last Name],
I was excited to see the [Position Name] listing at [Company Name] on [Job Search Platform]. Given my [relevant experience] and expertise in [area of expertise], I am writing to express my interest in the position, as I have long admired [Company Name]’s efforts to [company goal]. In my previous work at [Company Name], I [professional accomplishment], demonstrating keen [relevant hard or soft skills]. I believe that these experiences have prepared me well to [professional achievement goal] at [Company Name].
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Written by Corissa Peterson
Corissa is a Career Advisor and Staff Writer at Resume Genius, where she loves equipping others with the tools they need to pursue their dreams. She graduated from the... more
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