A well-written opening paragraph in your cover letter captures your reader's attention and is the first impression you make on a hiring manager. Use our guide to learn how to write an engaging opening as part of the perfect cover letter.
1. Research Your Audience
Before writing your cover letter, take the time to research the company through its official website, social media, LinkedIn and any other available source. A thorough understanding of the company allows you to present yourself and your accomplishments in the most relevant way.
2. Get Personal
Use a specific salutation rather than something generic such as "Dear Sir or Madam." With all the information available on the internet, you should be able to find the name of the hiring manager. If you have a personal connection with anyone in the company, it's a good idea to mention it in the opening paragraph.
3. Lead With a Specific First Sentence
An opening sentence that simply states your intent to apply for the job is boring. Instead, start by indicating your excitement about the job and explaining why you're the right candidate.
4. Be Enthusiastic
Enthusiasm is extremely important, though you must be careful to avoid sounding insincere. Write about your interest in the company's vision or a specific aspect of the job announcement and connect your excitement with examples of your related experience and accomplishments.
5. Write Concisely
Be as succinct as possible throughout your entire cover letter including the opening. The perfect cover letter allows the reader to glean all the important information with a quick glance.
6. Use Action Verbs
Use specific action verbs to describe your experience and accomplishments and be careful to avoid excessive use of modifiers.
7. Connect Your Accomplishments With Job Requirements
Use the opening paragraph to connect your unique skills with specific items listed in the job advertisement. Don't simply repeat the information from your resume, but tell a story relating your qualifications to the company's needs.
8. Be Sincere
It's important to be enthusiastic and positive but make sure you don't sound fake.
Spelling and grammar mistakes are absolutely unacceptable in a cover letter. Be sure to proofread your letter and take advantage of online grammar check programs.
10. Conclude on a Positive Note
Keep your opening paragraph short and to the point, but use positive language to encourage your reader to continue on to the rest of your application materials.
Take it a Step Further
If you really want to take your perfect cover letter to the next level, consider using some additional elements such as persuasive language and storytelling. Align your unique experience with requirements listed in the job announcement and mention your understanding of the company's goals or mission statement. If possible, write a short narrative highlighting an accomplishment in a related field. Take the time in the opening to address the hiring manager directly. Be confident without sounding boastful and avoid using a sales pitch to indicate your value as an employee. Avoid using cliches and flattery, and keep attempts at humor to a minimum. Before you submit your letter, proofread it a final time to verify the company's information and ensure your letter meets the submission requirements for length and format.