A cover letter is an additional document that job seekers use to accompany their resume to complete a job application which is why it is essential that, beyond being well-written and relevant to the specific vacancy, a cover letter needs to grab the potential employer’s attention within the first few seconds. There are several ways of doing this, from traditional methods to making creative, bold statements to using a professional cover letter writing service like that offered on resume services, but every technique should be well researched, depending on the type of candidate, position and company you’re applying to.
Read on for some expert advice on how to get your winning cover letter started and feel confident sending your job application.
How to Begin a Successful Cover Letter
After writing the salutation you’ve decided on – remembering that using the hiring manager’s title and surname is always a more personal way to reach out – don’t allow yourself to lose momentum. Writing resumes and cover letters can be challenging but by planning how you want to come across to the reader, you can get your cover letter written in no time.
Firstly, there is the standard technique that people often use to begin a cover letter. This ‘traditional style’ includes directly communicating to the reader your objective for writing the letter by stating that you are applying for X position and proceeding to indicate your background, professional experience or academic career which demonstrates your suitability to the role.
The downside to this traditional style is that hiring managers have seen it so many times, they are bored with it, they may even just stop reading at the first sentence.
Another favorite cover letter opening sentence involves describing an achievement that shows how the job seeker has been able to overcome a problem, improve practices or profits, develop successful new strategies, etc. that demonstrate how the applicant could serve the company they’re applying to.
Discussing an accomplishment that is pertinent to the sector or responsibilities of the vacancy is a sure-fire way to impress a potential employer and to peak their interest to ensure they keep reading.
If you learned about the role through a contact at the business or someone with connections to the hiring manager, you should always begin your cover letter by naming this mutual relation. To get your foot in the door, recruiter’s are always keen to know that the candidate has been recommended or suggested by a person of reference.
Even if this technique feels like name-dropping, it is proven to be extremely successful to get your cover letter into the ‘yes’ pile within seconds.
A technique that is relatively new to the recruiting scene, is the use of keywords in job applications. A job description is full to the brim with keywords that describe the type of person the company is looking for, through their professional experience, qualifications, technical skills and personal abilities. With the increase of Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) systems in larger companies and recruiting agencies, it is vital for job seekers to employ these terms and specific vocabulary in their applications. One way to do so is to begin the cover letter describing some of the required skills that you possess or highlight your experience or specialist knowledge.
However, make sure not to overuse keywords, either in the first paragraph or throughout your cover letter. You do not want to make the letter feel as though it is written for a robot!
A more adventurous method to grab the hiring manager’s attention is to use a more creative or even humorous opening. This allows you to demonstrate part of your character while also mentioning skills or making reference to your experience.
But, if you choose to begin your cover letter with the ‘creative style’, remember that it may not be appreciated in all professions or companies. It is highly recommended that you do your research first to ensure you don’t overstep the boundaries.
Kick Start your Career
There is no one correct opening sentence for cover letters, there are many factors at play when it comes to completing your job application and a cover letter is just another way to hook the employer and demonstrate the ways that you are the right fit for their company.