Many underestimate the power of a great cover letter opening statement. Even fewer know how to write one that helps win the job interview.
And yet, in many cases, almost nothing is more important. After all, your opening statement encapsulates who you are and describes what value you can bring to the company. Done well, it encourages the hiring manager to read the rest of your cover letter… or give your resume a second look.
So use these five tips to make sure your opening statement is persuasive and memorable.
1. Don’t Be Generic or Obvious
Some of the worst cover letter opening statements aren’t specific. Don’t write “To Whom It May Concern,” but actually figure out who is doing the hiring for the position. Then write specifically to that person. You also don’t want to include any generic formalities or waste space by writing obvious statements. These can be:
- “My name is…”
- “I am also writing to express my interest…”
- “I have also enclosed my resume…
2. Replace a Generic Opening Statement with a Dynamic One
All of the best examples replace generic, non-specific phrasing with a short description of who you are. They also provide reasons you’re excited by the company’s opening:
- “I’m a dynamic educator with six years of experience teaching fourth grade math and science.”
- “As the social media manager for _____, I have implemented new tactics that have increased our Twitter followers by 10 percent.”
- “I was excited to see a position open at _____ because your work with low-income families has long been an inspiration to me.”
3. Create a Natural Segue to the Introduction
Your opening statement should flow easily into the rest of the opening paragraph. To make that possible, your opening statement should be as concise as well as focused. Remember, don’t write out your entire life history or work experience. Instead, make sure that you’re answering these questions:
- Who are you?
- Where have you’ve worked?
- What are your major accomplishments?
- How can you succeed at the company?
4. Learn to Write an Email Cover Letter
Today’s modern cover letter is sent via email. So you always want to write a cover letter email.
Do NOT send a cover letter as an attachment.
To nail the email cover letter opening, keep your first paragraph limited to under 150 words. This opening should hook the reader by detailing your abilities. It should also entice the reader to keep reading.
5. Tailor the Opening Statement by Matching Keywords
Of course, you want your opening to fit the job description exactly. So use Jobscan to match your cover letter to the keywords used on the job posting. Jobscan then identifies keywords from the posting you need to include in your cover letter. In the end, this means it will be easier for the hiring manager to see how well you fit into the company.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Jobscan.
About the Author: James Hu earned his bachelor’s of Information Systems and Finance from University of Washington. He is currently the Founder and CEO of Jobscan. James has also enjoyed work experiences at Boeing, Microsoft, Groupon, Kabam Games, and a start-up of his own. Through his work in the United States, China, and Spain/Gibraltar, James truly integrates a global mindset into his career. In his free time, he also enjoys water sports and backpacking. Follow James on Twitter.