Cover letters are still a crucial part of applying for the job. And no matter how you feel about writing one, sometimes the most intimidating part is the blank screen and blinking cursor daring you to get started!
While you have a whole page to talk about why you’re the perfect fit for the role, coming up with something other than “please accept my application for…” can be kind of tough! But we’re here to help you out with some creative solutions for writing your cover letter introduction.
How to Start a Cover Letter
1. Kick Off With Passion
One great way to start your cover letter is by talking about your passion for the job. This helps the hiring manager see you as someone who cares deeply about the role and is more likely to be engaged with the position and the company for a long time.
Example: I wrote my first short story when I was six and branched out into chapter books by the time I was 10. The following year, I used the family printer to self-publish and distribute my biography to everyone I knew. Though my early years of publishing did not lead to a six-figure book deal, I’ve always enjoyed writing fantastic content and sharing it with the world.
2. Mention Your Enthusiasm
The job may not be the only reason why you’re applying. You may strongly identify with the company’s mission, or perhaps you used its products and services in the past. If that’s the case, call it out in your cover letter introduction, as the company is more likely to hire someone who “gets” what they’re doing.
Example: I’m a long-time user of [product name]. It’s helped me create powerful presentations that clients connect with. Thankfully, creating these stellar presentations does not require a lot of technical skills, and I’ve come to rely on the simplicity of the product to make my job easier. It’s not often I get to work for a company that’s created a product I use almost every day, so when I saw the opening for the [name of position], I had to apply!
3. Describe Your Accomplishments
Talking about what you’ve achieved in past roles helps the hiring manager picture you in the role achieving similar goals at their company! Use the start of your cover letter to highlight one accomplishment that demonstrates you’re a fantastic candidate for the job.
Example: I’ve spent the last seven years optimizing my company’s website. My hard work and attention to detail have resulted in a 78% increase in year-over-year traffic (not to mention a 45% increase in sign-ups). I’m looking for my next challenge, and I believe I’ll find it at [company name] as your [name of position].
4. Drop a Name
This isn’t like name-dropping during an interview. In your cover letter introduction, mention a company contact if you have one. Hiring managers are much more likely to consider you for a position if someone who works there drops your name! Just make sure you and your contact are on the same page before you proceed!
Example: [Contact name] and I worked together at [X] company. It was the first job for both of us right out of college! We learned a lot, and even though we’ve both moved on, we’ve kept in touch. [Name] recently reached out to me about the opening for [name of position]. Hearing them describe the job and talk about the company, I knew I had to apply.
5. Tell a Story
Telling a story about yourself is a great way to bring a bit of your personality into the cover letter. You can even consider adding some humorous elements. But since not every company has the same definition of “funny,” do a deep dive into the company’s culture as part of your research before you take the humor route!
Example: I started college majoring in undecided with a minor in partying. After several tries, I finally settled on communications and ended up in a career writing press releases for a small pharmaceutical company. The job was stable and paid the bills, but after a few years, I realized I missed the party aspect of my old minor. That’s why I’m very interested in the event planning role with [company name]. It’s the perfect mix of everything I learned in college.
6. Short and Sweet
Sometimes, none of the above suggestions work. For example, if you’re applying for a role as a lawyer or at a bank, you may want to go with a straightforward opening and use the rest of your cover letter to discuss why you’re qualified for the role.
Example: I’m applying for the position of [name of role with company name]. I’m confident that my [X] years of experience in [name of career field] will be an asset to your team.
Get the Ball Rolling
Here’s one more tip: save the introduction for last! Instead of worrying about how you’ll start, jump right into the “meat” of your cover letter. You might be surprised to find that the introduction writes itself after that.
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