8 ideas for cover letter opening lines
On your well-written cover letter (also known as a job application letter), your opening should grab the employer’s attention and make them want to continue reading. You should also include the company’s name and title of the position you want in the first paragraph in case the employer is hiring for multiple positions.
Here are eight beginning strategies and creative cover letter opening sentence examples:
1. Show your passion
Employers love investing in passionate workers. Even if you lack a skill or two required for your target job, showing passion in your cover letter’s introduction tells employers you’re worth extra training effort on their end.
Here’s an opening line that showcases your passion:
I dream in Middle English and often catch myself using it in everyday conversation. That’s how enthralled I am with Chaucer’s works, and why I’m an exact match for Oxford University’s open Medieval Studies Teaching Assistant position.
If you know someone who works at the company, start your cover letter by mentioning their name (with their permission, of course). Mentioning someone the employer knows immediately creates a personal connection with said employer, likely getting you a place on their shortlist.
Here’s an example of how to drop a reference’s name to start your cover letter:
I’m [Your Name], an experienced social media marketer reaching out about your Social Media Marketing job. Your marketing manager, [Reference’s Name], is familiar with my experience and skills, and she encouraged me to apply.
3. Discuss relevant news
Bringing up recent news about the industry you’re applying to in your introduction is sure to grab the employer’s attention. Doing so aligns your interests with their own, and they’ll be curious to read the rest of your cover letter to search for more connections.
This cover letter opening shows that the applicant who wrote it stays informed about the company’s industry:
I’ve made my living the past 8 years as a web developer and engineer, but I’ve long dabbled in game development on the side, dreaming of making it my day job. As I followed Team17’s IPO last week, I finally mustered the courage to apply for [Company Name]’s Engineer position.
4. Highlight research
Impress the employer with information from their latest press release or a reference to one of their upcoming projects in your cover letter’s introduction.
Here’s an example of how to start your cover letter with research:
I believe I’m ideally suited to fill your vacant Sales Assistant position. I noticed that [Company Name] recently acquired a mid-level extreme sports clothing retailer, and my prior experience as a semipro skateboarder enables me to help you grow your new venture.
5. Include your top accomplishment
Opening your cover letter with an impressive achievement is always a good idea. If you choose this strategy, use data to maximise the impact of your accomplishments, like the following example does:
I saw [Company Name]’s Sales Manager position posted on LinkedIn, and I knew I had to apply. I’m an experienced salesperson who’s topped his current company in commissions and gross revenue in 8 straight quarters, and I’m looking for a new challenge and opportunities to advance my career.
6. Use humour
If done right, humour is a perfect way to start your cover letter. Employers spend hours reading applications filled with dull repetition, so if you can make them chuckle with your opening line, you’ll increase the chances they keep reading.
Here’s an example of a cover letter beginning with a touch of appropriate humour:
I’m [Your Name], and my goal is to be the first person to deliver a pizza on Mars. But until then, I’d love to hone my driving and customer service skills as a Delivery Driver for Homeslice Pizza.
7. Express admiration for the company
Everyone loves a compliment. Beginning your cover letter by praising the company not only flatters the employer but also indicates you’d be an effective brand ambassador.
This cover letter opening does a great job of buttering up the employer:
My name is [Your Name], and you can’t imagine how thrilled I am to apply for Centrepoint’s Supported Housing Officer position. The support you provide to the underprivileged in our community is amazing, and I’d be honoured to join your team.
8. Explain how you can help the company
One of the best ways to start your cover letter is by telling the employer how your skills meet their needs. But don’t just say you’ll help the company. Instead, show how you’ll be useful with specific reasons like this applicant does:
I’m a professional driver with 4+ years’ experience delivering food in the Greater London area. Familiarity with your delivery area and a spotless driving record make me an ideal candidate for [Company Name]’s open Delivery Driver position.
How to choose a starting strategy
If you have multiple ideas for how to start your cover letter, here’s how to choose the best one:
Study the job advert and do some internet research to determine what CV skills the company is looking for and get an idea of the company’s culture. Here’s what to do with the information you gather:
- Include skills from the job advert because many companies rely on applicant tracking systems (ATS) to automatically sort applications based on relevant keywords
- If the company seems formal use a straightforward opening, like detailing an impressive achievement or describing how your skills can benefit the company
- If the company appears laid-back express passion for your work or consider using humour to show your personality
We’ve underlined the skills keywords and hints about the company culture in this job advert to help you know what to look for:
Cover letter introduction cliches to avoid
Let’s be honest: writing a new cover letter for each application you submit is time-consuming. You’ll be tempted to use cliches for efficiency, but you must resist or risk making your application easy to ignore.
Avoid starting your cover letter with these overused phrases:
- I’d like to express my interest
- I’m writing to apply for
- As you’ll see on my attached CV
- I’m excited to apply
- I’d love to be considered
How to address a cover letter
Another important part of starting a cover letter is the greeting. If you know the name of the employer’s contact person, proper cover letter formatting looks like this:
Dear [Mr/Mrs/Ms][Contact Person’s Last Name],
Dear [Department or Company Name],