Yes. Employers do read cover letters.
I’ll start with that statement since I’m asked that question quite frequently. I’m sure not all of them do, but the majority still take a few moments to scan through the cover letter. So, having an attention-grabbing cover letter is important.
Especially if you have something significant to say!
And I assure you, if you’re applying for a position you really want, you have something very significant to say. Something like: “Hey! I want this job; I’m the best person for it, and here’s why.”
Okay, I would not recommend starting your cover letter that way, but you get the gist of what I’m saying. Your cover letter has a message to convey, and you want to be sure that it’s communicating in the most effective way possible.
Here are a few other ways that I would NOT use to start your cover letter—followed by some suggestions for how to write a better cover letter opening line that WILL grab the employer’s attention and keep it.
Boring Cover Letter Introductions
Don’t use these tired, even cliche, opening lines in your cover letter:
- Please accept my resume in response to…
- In response to the position opening in XYZ…
- With more than X number of years’ experience in XYZ…
- My unique mix of experience and education…
- My experience in X and Y make me the ideal candidate…
The Better Cover Letter Opening Line
Instead, be creative and original. Here’s how…
Speak to their need.
You know your industry and position better than anyone else. You know what is relevant to the needs of businesses looking for a great candidate who does what you do. Start with an opening line that reflects the fact that you know the needs of their organization and can meet those needs.
Ask a question.
And not just any question either—ask a question you know they’re asking themselves daily. And then answer that question by stating how you’ve successfully addressed the issue with your previous employers.
Share how you’ve tackled obstacles for other organizations that would apply to this new opportunity.
Show you’re an obstacle “overcomer”.
Use an example in your cover letter of how you overcame a challenge that directly relates to the new position you’re applying for, and make that connection in your cover letter. State the problem and your solution. Just don’t get long-winded.
You can grab the recruiter’s attention with your cover letter introduction, but only if you write something original and compelling. Use these tips… and get the recruiter at “hello!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Great Resumes Fast!
About the Author: A nationally recognized resume expert, Jessica Hernandez is President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast and a former human resources manager and recruiter. With more than ten years’ experience directing hiring practices for Fortune 500 companies, she has developed innovative and proven resume development, and personal branding strategies to generate powerful results for clients.
As a global resume authority and trusted media source, Jessica has been featured and quoted on CNN.com, Monster.com, Job Talk America radio, SmartBrief, International Business Times, and more. Jessica has her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications/Public Relations from the University of North Florida. Contact Jessica on Twitter!
Image courtesy of Bubblews.com, thank you!