Opening StatementBegin your letter with a smooth, no-nonsense line or two that lets the reader know which job you’d like to apply for and how you found out about it. If you choose, you can also add a hook or a jazzy opening statement that makes the reader want more—just make sure you stay on topic.If you start with a joke, make sure it’s genuinely funny, and if you start with a quote, make sure you choose something that’s insightful and relevant. Sparking a reader’s interest with these tactics can definitely be a big win, but taking the wrong approach can also be an equally big turn-off. For this reason, if you’re unsure of the effectiveness of this more untraditional approach, stick with something simple.Here’s an example of a straightforward opening statement:“I found your post in the Industry Review and I’d like an opportunity to apply for your Warehouse Manager position. I’m a distribution logistics expert with five years of experience in the food and beverage space, and I’m looking for a position in the Seattle area. I think my skills are a fit for your needs.” Avoid a few common mistakes as you draft your opening statement: Don’t ramble or repeat yourself. Watch out for typos, since they can cause the most damage when they appear in your first sentence. And of course, keep your tone respectful and warm, not wooden and awkward.
Body ParagraphThe second and third paragraphs of your letter should accomplish two goals. First, they should get right to the point and present accomplishments and achievements that support your primary argument: you’re a perfect match for this job. Second, they should demonstrate how your past experience and skills would translate to big wins for the company (you’ll need to do your homework on the employer for this part).If you aren’t a natural writer, that’s okay. You can get some editing help, but first you’ll need to complete your first draft. So go forward boldly.Watch out for these easy mistakes that tend to occur in the body paragraphs:
- Don’t wander off the topic at hand.
- Stay relevant.
- And as you describe your accomplishments and contributions, be specific, not vague. Don’t repeat what you’ve clearly stated in your resume, avoid generic boasts that lack substance, and focus on the kinds of accomplishments that are specific to your own record.