Starting a cover letter can be the most challenging part of the whole writing process. The pressure is on to appear competent, daring, intelligent and creative – in other words, the ideal candidate.
In today’s sluggish job market, employers can pick and choose their candidates. And it’s no secret that the majority of cover letters get a scant glance-over before being judged worthy or unworthy of a serious look.
How do you ensure that your cover letter gets an honest read-through? The introduction is a key. Grabbing their attention with your opening sentence might make the difference between a call for an interview and waiting by the phone for a call that never comes.
Here are some tips on kicking them into action with a great opening.
Write a cover letter introduction
You can start a cover letter by jumping right in and stating your profession along with some recent accomplishments. For example: I am a professional blog writer with over twenty viral posts in the last three years.
Who wouldn’t keep reading after that? Employers will appreciate that you cut to the chase by telling them exactly what you do and exactly how well you do it.
Use strong keywords
If you post your cover letter and resume online or use LinkedIn to get connected or recruited, your best bet for getting noticed is using keywords. If you’re an Applications Engineer, state that in your opening sentence so that recruiters scouting for one will pull up your resume and cover letter easily. Include skills that are relevant to this job in the opening sentences. Basically fill it up with keywords. The more keywords you stuff into your introduction, the easier it is for recruiters to spot you.
It’s about your connections
Sometimes you may have had the good fortune of coming into contact with someone high up on the hiring food chain. If that’s the case, don’t be shy about it. Drop that name and drop it quickly. Let them know that Ms. So-and-So mentioned that the company was in need of a Public Relations expert and recommended that you send in your resume. You can be sure that your cover letter will get special attention if you already have a foot in the door with an associate of the company.
It’s what you know about the company
Other times, it’s a good idea to let the company know that you’re their biggest fan. Not in a creepy way. Quoting stats or expressing a personal experience or opinion of the company may be a good way to get their attention. If it’s a start-up that’s recently gotten funding and you knew about them way back, you can let them know that you’ve been rooting for their success and would like to be a part of it.
Expressing excitement over your career can impress an employer. They’ll see how much time and energy you’re willing to dedicate to your projects. Someone who is truly passionate and self-motivated is an easy sell. Your superiors don’t have to goad you into getting things done, you jump in with both feet because you love what you do. Bringing that across in the beginning can make them feel like finding out what else you can bring to the table.
Say something unusual
Though you run the risk of migrating into dangerous territory with this one, starting your cover letter with an unusual statement will certainly grab their attention. Tell them an uncommon fact or an interesting story that relates either to your or the company’s qualities. Ex: When I was only 7 years old, I won the New York City Rubik’s Cube Competition. Since then, I continuously test myself to see how quickly and how accurately I can solve problems. My career as an IT technician reflects this natural drive. If you’re looking for someone to give you fast results in complex situations, I’m your girl.
Whatever you do, DON’T use these tired old openings:
I’m sending you my resume in response to the advertisement I saw in X.
Please accept my resume in response to the job offering for X position.
About the author:
Cari Bennette is a dedicated blogger and content expert at custom writing service http://jetwriters.com/. She loves to share her knowledge about writing good texts and successful papers. Feel free to contact her on G+.