10 Opening Lines That Are Straight Up Killing Your Cover Letter
You are just out of college and you saw a job advertisement for a job you really like, so you submitted your resume and cover letter – just as the job ad said you should do.
However, weeks have passed by and you have not heard anything back from the employer. The reason for this may be that your cover letter did not capture the attention of the employer so that he or she wants to continue reading and getting to know more about you.
The first thing you want to do is to get your potential employer impressed, not annoyed. In fact, you want to be able to give an awesome first impression of yourself – such that they cannot reject your job application.
So what is the first thing you should do to achieve this? You should amaze them with your well-written job-winning cover letter.
WHAT IS A COVER LETTER?
Firstly, what is a cover letter?
It is a letter or written communication that serves to introduce an accompanying document or introduces a resume or curriculum vitae (CV). A cover letter helps to show why you are the best person for the job description and how you will be a great addition to the company.
It also shows your capability to communicate your career objectives efficiently and to support your resume career summary.
When it comes to preparing a cover letter as a part of a job application, many job seekers are filled with anxiety about experimenting with their cover letters.
They are usually under the pressure to please the hiring manager, and it that pursuit they forget to show their personality in their job applications documentation.
This is the major reason why their application would look lifeless and will not differentiate this applicant from other applicants. You should let your personality be seen clearly through the cover letter so you stand out from your competition applying for the same position.
After several weeks or months of you searching for the perfect job and you have found it and now it is your turn to impress the employers with your cover letter so you land and stand out in a job interview, so you get the job offer.
A cover letter is the most effective way for you to introduce to the hiring or resource manager who you are, the things you have to offer, why you want the job and why you are the one to be offered the position—but you have a very limited period of time to do all of these things.
Therefore, if you really want to attract the reader or employer’s attention, you have to start right.
OPENING LINES OF COVER LETTERS
Opening lines of cover letters are usually not very specific, but they do not need to be. Abby Locke, a speaker, writer, and president of Washington DC-based Premier Writing Solutions says “Most cover letters usually begin with lines like, ‘In response to your job advertisement, I’m forwarding my resume for your review and consideration’”.
You should endeavor to make a very strong first impression by writing something spectacular and different – something that will clearly express the value you are offering.
You can attract the attention of the reader of your cover letter by:
- emphasizing your accomplishments
- expressing the reasons why you are interested in the job
- stating the mission of the employer, and
- showing how your strongest skills can contribute to the achievement of that mission.
Abby Locke suggests that the road to writing a good cover letter is to start with writing a list of the best three ways you would make an impacton the organization.
You should be able to ask yourself and answer questions such as “What core competencies would enable me to surpass the norm in the position I am targeting?”. Locke also emphasized on you answering how the employer would gain from hiring you.
The ability to convey all these details in just a few lines seems impossible. The start of the cover letter should be very catchy, but not overselling especially if you are a student or graduate who has not even a year of experience for reference.
You should ensure that your cover letter should be professional, but not boring – but be careful, as the borderline between those extremes is usually very blurry.
It is an awesome idea to have several examples of cover letters you can look through to serve as a source of inspiration when you are desperate for one.
Towards the end of this article, there will be few ideas on how to write killer opening lines for your cover letter; but firstly, let us see the top 10 opening lines that are straight up killing your cover letter
10 OPENING LINES THAT ARE STRAIGHT UP KILLING YOUR COVER LETTER
1. “Dear Sir/Madam”, “To whom it may concern” or “Dear recruiter”
It is almost criminal to use a non-specific salutation to address your cover letter as you are admitting that you have not done your research and you do not know who and where are you applying for a job.
Doing this also suggests that you are using a generic template and that you are sending the same cover letter to every employer you apply to for a job.
Do not get me wrong – templates save time and you should use them for that reason as long as you rework it for the each specific employer.
2. “My name is…”
Your name is on your resume, your application form (if you had to complete one to apply for the job) and on your envelope/email which you used to submit your job application.
It is also in your signature at the bottom of your cover letter so why waste valuable space to state your name once again at the beginning of it?
Give credit to the hiring manager/recruiter for being able to figureout your name before starting to read your cover letter and instead, use these potentially only a few seconds you have to leave a mark on the reader by stating something that will convince them to start a conversation with you.
3. “I am writing to express my interest in/for…”
Of course, you are writing to express your interest in the advertised vacancy – otherwise, you would not be writing at all.
Do not state the obvious and move on to saying why you are applying for the specific position and why are you excited by the prospect of getting it.
4. “I have enclosed for your consideration my resume…”
Similarly to the above, when submitting a cover letter as a part of a job application by default you do that to accompany your resume.
The recruiter or the hiring manager will see your resume when they open your application, so again – there is no need to waste their time and space in the letter to state the obvious.
5. “My qualifications for this job are…”
Your resume will list all your qualifications in details, but can mention them in brief in your cover letter too but not at the very beginning.
The start of the letter should grab the reader’s attention and many of the other applicants for the same job will probably share your qualifications, so that will not make you distinct in the eyes of the recruiter.
You can do better when it comes to the opening line of your cover letter – keep reading for tips how you can achieve that.
6. “My first job was [X], my second job was [X], my third job was…”
Well, like this you have re-written your CV into your cover letter! Having your resume in two different places is not the way to sell yourself.
Your cover letter is an opportunity for you to expand and add detail to the experiences and skills you have listed in your CV, as well as to prove to the potential employer that you are the best choice among the other applicants, so use it well!
7. “I am probably not the best candidate, but…”
Oh, boy (imagine the reader facepalm as soon as they read this)! If you don’t believe in yourself and that you are the best candidate for the job, why would the recruiter?
It is good to be modest and not come across as arrogant narcissist when writing your cover letter, but it is not good to set yourself for failure.
Starting your cover letter with this sentence will give reasons to the recruiter to reject your application right off the bat.
8. “This job will be the perfect opportunity to develop my skills”
Big NO-NO! Telling your potential employer that you need this job because it will allow you to learn new or improve existing skills is a rookie mistake. Employers pay you for bringing your skills to their workplace – they are not a training school.
Employers also know that a good employee will not be static at the new workplace, they will pick-up new skills and further develop their current skills but this should not be the main reason why you are applying for a given position.
Instead, you should convince the reader in the first sentence that they should hire you because of the skills, abilities, attitudes, experience, and qualifications you bring to the table.
9. “My mum/friend/family told me to apply for this job”
Even if this was really the case, there is no need for the world to know this, especially not your future employer.
No company wants employees who are not passionate about their work and their industry, as they know these employees have short career span.
They will leave the company as soon as another opportunity closely matching their interests appears.
So, do not start your cover letter with an information about who suggested you apply for the vacancy – ideally, this idea should have come out of your desire to work in that particular industry/company.
10. “Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my application”
Ok, you are polite – we get it. However, you will have your chance to thank the reader for their time reading your application at the end of the cover letter (once they have actually read it).
Again – do not waste very limited space at the begging of your cover letter to say something that can be said somewhere else in the letter.
Be smarter about how you use your cover letter “real-estate” as it will be either a very good or a very bad investment you will make for your future.
HOW TO WRITE A KILLER OPENING LINE FOR YOUR COVER LETTER
Now that we have seen what opening lines NOT to write, let us review few examples of good opening lines and few pieces of adviceon how to write the opening lines in cover letters that can help you bag the job that interests you.
Use Powerful Words
“As an expert in the field of financial planning, I have given financial advice for the executions of projects of different kinds both at large and small scale”.
Using powerful words to describe yourself grabs the attention of the reader to your cover letter. Display of confidence in abilities is better than false humility.
The job that you are applying for is requiring a certain amount of self-confidence and abilities and you need to have the experience to back up your claims.
Some other examples of opening lines following this rule are:
- The position advertised by you sounds like a great match with the qualifications and skills that I have been able to acquire during [Here mention the relevant study program or job employment]…
- Financial analysis, project management, and research are my passions and areas of expertise. Not only are these my passions, but also I believe these skills are the foundation for any project management professional. As an analytical financial manager, I excel at extracting data to understand where the company’ focus should be.
- As an experienced financial manager and former business owner, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to remain current with the fluctuations in the value of currency and inflation in the investment portfolio market without breaking the budget.
- As an event planner for ABC Company, I ensure seamless communication and marketing between all involved parties. By implementing new social media marketing tactics in the past year, I have doubled the attendance at all events organized by the company.
Kill The Competition
“While soldiers are eager to battle, strategists win the war. I am an artful strategist of my profession, different from my co-applicants in the following ways…”
You should be able to differentiate yourself from your competition. Ensure you use your most relevant accomplishment stories to explain your value to the company.
Other examples of this are:
- “Unlike many other project cost managers, I ensure all parties know who is responsible for what, and when each part is due. I do this using my own system that I have used for 20+ years because it works. At any time, I can see the status of all activities. This ensures every project execution is on time and on a budget, plus we clearly see when we’ve succeeded, and what needs to be developed next time.”
- “After spending five years managing the internal finances for a 2,000-person company, I could plan a quarterly town hall project budget or draft an inter-office budget in my sleep. What do I want to do next? Put that experience to work consulting executives on their financial strategy.”
Introduce The Leader In You
“I coordinated the Annual Youth Science Expo which occurred for 340 hours, 30 volunteers in the course of five weeks.”
Show that you can be involved in leadership or management. Breaking down the details allows the employers to understand your accomplishments.
Some examples of opening lines are:
- “Through my years of experience in PR, I have established my skills and strength in social media, media networking and leading a group of team members. It is the combination of these skills that make me the best candidate for the PR Manager position.”
- “I am so happy your company needs a social media coordinator skilled at With my track record of boosting social networking by 55% increase in the number of followers through teamwork and creative leadership, I believe that I’m a great fit.
Kick-Off With Excitement
“I have been excited since I discovered the opening in project management with your company…”
Employers are attracted by those who seem to show excitement towards the job as this shows dedication.
Other examples of similar opening lines are:
- “I was excited to find an opening in HR with ABC Company because your work with XYZ Company has been important to me for a long time. I am the best candidate for this position because it combines my experience with HR and XYZ Company.”
- “As a long-time fan of ABC Company’s certifications, I was thrilled to see your vacancy. With my experience cutting costs 48% for XYZ Company while dropping lead times by nearly 20% and boosting quality, I believe I can be of help with ABC Company current market challenges as I continue to expand my personal skill set.”
Quote The Trail Blazers
“Accountability enables responsibility.” – J.K Rowling. As a manager who has gathered experiences over the years, I sincerely believe that the key to success in any work environment is accountability.”
Have your work ethic described with a quote. Quotes tend to add more worth to your cover letter.
Another example of how the use of quotes works effectively when you are applying for a job position is the following:
- “As sociologist John Hudson has observed: ‘A billion hours ago, modern homo sapiens emerged. A billion minutes ago, Christianity began. A billion seconds ago, the IBM PC was released. A billion Google searches ago… was this morning.’ I have chosen this quote as an introduction to my application as a social networkmanager because…”
Use The Culture-Field-Skill (The Bridge) Formula
“Born in Korea, studied in Canada and worked in China; my blend of cultures and Asian background may just be unprecedented! I am…”
This opening line is usually used when the job demands a bridge between fields, countries or cultures.
This also can be found in the following example:
- “Having finished my education in international relations and business, I’m interested in the opportunity to combine my passion for exploring cultures with my professional career. Your advertisement for the position as business development manager for the French market, therefore, appears very intriguing to me…”
Show Your Expertise
“Two of my best aspects of expertise are financial analysis and time management. In my years of experience in coordinating teams and meetings, I have been able to put these into full use…”
The right keywords will make sure your cover letter is read. Illustrate your passions, dreams, and goals and use these to meet their needs.
- “ABC Company’s marketing assistant opening is an excellent match to my qualifications. As a recent graduate of X University with a major in marketing and business, I offer solid academic credentials as well as industry experience gained from an internship at XYZ Company. If given the chance, I know that my strong business and marketing foundation would benefit your department, customers, and the company’s bottom line.”
Name Your Referrer
“In my recent conversation with your financial manager XY, I was informed about the opening in your Accounting Department and thus was suggested to apply for the job of…”
You named your referrer to provide the employer with a point of reference to go from. The employers will be interested to find out why your referrer thought you would be a good fit for the job – like in this example:
- “John Smith, your financial manager, suggested that I apply for this position because he knows firstly, that software solutions achieved 78% performance-to-goals at XYZ Company, and secondly – that you are looking for a software developer with efficiency and efficacy, which my CV shows.”
Display Knowledge About The Company
“Recently, your company was highlighted in the XXX Newspaper because of your partnership work with “Company ABC” whose work I follow…”
Stating your knowledge about the company and their recent events can be a real turn-on. You can start your cover letter stating your knowledge of what they do and why you know so much about them.
Some examples of cover letter opening lines of this kind are:
- “I recently read that your company is #2 on X Magazine’s list of top companies to work for in 2017 in this state.”
- “I read with great passion the article in X Magazine announcing the upcoming launch of your company’s branch in my area. Congratulations on this new venture and it’s impressive $20 million in pre-launch sales!”
The Impact Making Man
“When I learned that the ABS Company was recruiting new staff members, Istrongly felt that I had to apply. I have always been anticipating finding a company where I can make an impact.”
You should speak as if you are already hired by the organization.
Another example of opening lines such as this is:
- “When I discovered that ABC Company was hiring, I knew I had to apply. I’ve desired to find a company where I feel like I can make an impact even while working as…”
Creativity can bring you the job. Keep the cover letter simple and well detailed.
The first few sentences in cover letters have a loaded task – they are to attract the attention of a recruiter who has already reviewed many applications.
Then they need to convince a hiring manager to go deeper into your background to find out whether your skills and personality match the position they need to fill or whether you would be a benefit to the organization or not. It is your cover letter, it is your opening line, and it may be your ticket to that dream job.
Do not underestimate it.