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How to Start a Cover Letter?

how to start a cover letter

Are you having trouble connecting with employers and hiring managers? 

Perhaps you’ve sent out a stack of resumes and have had no success. If that’s the case, it’s probably time to polish your cover letter. Although this document is very important, it’s often overlooked by job seekers. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself and present your relevant skills and experience in the best possible way. 

So, let’s find out…

How To Start A Cover Letter?

Hiring managers typically receive hundreds of resumes and cover letters every week. They have limited time to thoroughly read all these documents and tend to skim them. The way you start your resume can either intrigue or bore them straight away. So here are some ways to get your document started the right way. 

Choose a powerful heading

The heading needs to be as strong as possible to grab the attention of the reader. It needs to go in the subject line when emailing this document. This is your first chance to interest the hiring manager and makes them want to know more about you. 

A strong heading can be the difference between your cover letter being opened immediately or overlooked. It needs to be dynamic while also making it clear that you are not spending a spam email or sales pitch. Set the tone by writing something like ‘talented professional ready for a new opportunity.’ 

Read more: How to End a Cover Letter?

Address the hiring manager directly

Using the name and title of the hiring manager is the best way to show you’ve done your homework. It also shows that you have created a unique cover letter or at least tailored it for the specific role. This adds a touch of professionalism that gets you started on the right foot. 

You need to do some research and work out the best person to send your cover letter to. In most cases, this will be the hiring manager, and you should address this person by name. If you met the person previously, using their first name helps to create a connection. This emphasizes that you are not simply a random candidate and helps you stand out from the crowd. 

Create a strong opening sentence

Your opening paragraph is perhaps the most important part of this document. The paragraph must be strong enough to immediately engage the reader. The very first sentence will indicate to them if it’s worth keeping reading. 

Introduce yourself

You need to make it clear which job you’re applying for. Hiring managers often receive applications for several different jobs at the same company. After providing your name, state the title of the job you are hoping to win. 

Highlight your relevant experience

It should be clear right from the beginning that you are a good match for the job. This is your chance to emphasize your experience, particularly if it’s impressive. This can help you get the edge over the competition. 

Be enthusiastic

Make it clear to the hiring manager that you want to work for the company. Do some research and find a few things that you particularly like about them. Highlight at least one of these things to show that you would be the perfect fit for the role. 

Keep it brief

The beginning of this document sets the tone and captures the interest of the reader. While the opening sentences need to be as strong as possible, they also need to be easy to read. Carefully edit and remove any unnecessary words and sentences to make the beginning flow smoothly.

Effective Ways To Do It

The way you begin your cover letter will depend on several different factors. Each time you create this document, it should be tailored to the job and contain unique elements. Here are some tips to help you get started. 

Effective Ways To Do It

Begin with an accomplishment

It is always best to put your best foot forward when creating employment documents. Begin with at least one skill or achievement that makes you stand out from the crowd. This will show the hiring manager straight away that you are a strong candidate. This will also make them want to know more about the skills you have to offer. 

Explain what you have to offer

This is a good opportunity to highlight your strongest skills and professional experience. You should reference one skill that makes you a particularly desirable employee. This could be a project that you worked on that taught you valuable skills connected to the role you’re applying for. 

Demonstrate your respect for the company

Make sure the hiring manager knows that you genuinely want to work for the company. It’s no secret that you usually have to send out several applications when you’re job hunting. There are likely to be certain roles that you’re more interested in than others.

The hiring manager needs to know that you will accept the job offer if one is made. Going to the trouble of interviewing you if you’re not really interested will be a waste of time. Include a sentence that shows what you like about the company and why you are applying to work there. 

Don’t be afraid to name-drop

If you know someone who works at the company, it may be a good idea to refer to them. While this doesn’t guarantee you the job, this person could serve as a character reference. Make sure the person holds a position of authority and is a respected employee.

The best way to do this is by stating that the person recommended you apply for the job. This shows that someone else is familiar with your skills and experience and believes you would be the right fit. Of course, you need to make sure the person knows you are using their name and will back you up. Internal referrals can give you a huge advantage over the other applicants and should not be overlooked. 

Don’t be overly enthusiastic

Although your boss may appreciate enthusiastic employees, this will seem fake in your application. While you need to make it clear you are interested in the job, don’t overdo it. Telling the hiring manager that this is your dream job is likely to come across as insincere.

If this is your genuine feeling, it’s best to save it for the interview. This will give you the chance to explain why you are so interested in the job. For now, stick to one or two sentences that demonstrate your genuine interest in the job. 

Reference current company events

Next, on my rundown of How to Start a Cover Letter, most companies arrange special team-building exercises and charity events throughout the year. Mentioning a recent event shows you have done your homework and are genuinely interested in the company. It indicates that you are ready to take an active part in the company culture. 

Most companies are particularly proud of their charitable events. However, trying to get employees to be enthusiastic about these events can be a challenge. Highlighting a way you could contribute to them can make you a stronger candidate. 

Let your personality show

In addition to having the desired experience and skills, you must be able to work well with other employees. This is particularly important if you will be working as part of a team. The hiring manager will need to know that you will be a good fit for the working environment.

Certain professional buzzwords can provide insight into your personality. The best way to highlight that you will be a good fit is by carefully reviewing the job post. Highlight one or two words from the post and add them to your cover letter. This will show that you are aligned with the company’s goals and culture. 

Stick to professional language 

The flip side of using language that reflects your personality is that you could appear unprofessional. Trying to come across as funny or wacky can ruin your chances of securing an interview. The hiring manager is likely to feel that you don’t take the process seriously and don’t really want the job.

Humor is a personal thing, and you need to create a rapport with the hiring manager before using it. If your joke is taken the wrong way, your professionalism is likely to be questioned. If something could potentially be taken the wrong way, it’s best to stick to a formal tone. 

Make it clear what you want

It is important to be direct and make your intentions clear. The hiring manager needs to get a strong impression of who you are and what you want to achieve. Because the goal is usually securing an interview, make sure this point is highlighted. 

Make it clear what you want

Create a powerful belief statement

This belief statement is your demonstration of why you are right for the company. It should consist of one or two sentences that are unique to the role you’re applying for. It should convince the hiring manager that you are the candidate they have been searching for. 

Tailor your cover letter to the role

Although creating a generic cover letter will save you a lot of time, this approach is unlikely to be effective. The hiring manager wants to know why you are applying for that job in particular. Failing to demonstrate this point means that your document may be placed at the bottom of the pile. A weak cover letter that falls short of the objective shows that you are unprepared.

Even if you are pushed for time, you need to include a few unique elements in this document. These elements need to clearly demonstrate why you are the perfect candidate for the job. They must create a compelling reason for the hiring manager to arrange an interview. 

Don’t simply repeat your resume 

This is the place to include information that won’t fit in your resume. You can briefly mention a relevant experience that deserves to be highlighted. This is the best way to make sure that your valuable skills and experience are not overlooked.

Focus on formatting

The beginning of the cover letter is the most important part, and it needs to be formatted correctly. The hiring manager will have expectations regarding how the document should appear. Failing to conform to this is likely to make you look unprofessional.

Make sure each of your sentences is fairly short and easy to read. It is a good idea to check out a few official format templates and look at the common structure. This will guide you to the best way to format this document. Or take a look at our in-depth Best Resume Format Guide, as well as the Best Font for a Resume.

Carefully check for mistakes

All your work will be wasted if the document is full of spelling and grammar mistakes. Before sending any type of professional communication, it is important to check for errors. You also need to edit the document to make sure it is easy to read. All the information you include should fit together well and serve a purpose.

Need More Advice On Resumes?

No problem at all! We’ve put together a great selection of resume guides such as How To Tailor Your Resume To A Specific Job Description, the Top Hard Skills To Put On A Resume, the Best Professional Resume Writing Services, and our guide to the Best Free Resume Builders.

Next, take a look at some excellent Resume Accomplishments Examples, the Best Resume Introduction Examples, as well as the best way to list Work Experience on a ResumeHow to List Cum Laude on a Resume, and the Best Opening Statement Examples For Resumes in 2023.

Lastly, let’s find out Does A Resume Need An Objective, the Most Important Skills To Put On A Resume, followed by How To List References On A ResumeHow Long Should A Resume Be, and finally, How To List Education On A Resume.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of important elements to include at the start of your cover letter. You need to try and insert as much information in as natural a way as possible. Therefore, crafting the start of this document takes time and practice.

It is also important to create a slightly different cover letter for each job you apply for. Make sure you include references to the job you are applying for and highlight why you are the perfect candidate. Although this can be a lot of work, hiring managers are sure to appreciate your time and professionalism.

Happy Job Hunting!

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