Many hiring managers only spend a few seconds scanning your application, so writing an effective cover letter introduction is key if you want to maximize your chances of getting an interview.
If your cover letter opening lines are too stiff, wordy, or rambling, your argument about why you’re an excellent candidate won’t come through. Instead, get straight to the point and impress the reader with your qualifications in those pivotal first lines.
We’ll demonstrate how to successfully start a cover letter with 12 great examples of cover letter openings and a few tips for writing your own introduction.
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12 winning ways to start your cover letter
Below are several approaches for your cover letter introduction to help you learn how to open a cover letter in a way that stands out from the rest and lands you an interview.
1. Mention a contact within the company
If you were referred to the role by a former coworker, classmate, or friend who’s highly regarded in their company, mention their name in the opening sentence of your cover letter for some immediate credibility.
Upon learning about the social media manager opportunity at StarWon through my former colleague, Jennifer Henderson, I was thrilled by the prospect of joining your dynamic team. Jennifer and I collaborated closely during my two years at Turbofun, where we successfully executed eight high-impact social media projects. I’ve heard great things about the work being done at StarWon, and I’m confident my skills and experience would make me an excellent asset to your team.
Hiring managers are more likely to take your application seriously if you’ve been recommended by someone they already work with and respect. That’s why referencing a mutual contact is one of the most effective ways to distinguish yourself from other applicants, especially if you’re writing an entry-level cover letter.
In fact, according to LinkedIn, 70% of people hired in 2016 had a connection at their new company, making networking the most effective way to get a job.
2. Express enthusiasm for the role
Employers love candidates who care about their work. That’s why one of the first things any hiring manager looks for in your cover letter is enthusiasm. Specifically, they want to see that your passions align with the responsibilities associated with the role.
My senior year of high school, I saved up for nearly a year to buy the first generation Oculus Rift headset — my parents thought I was nuts. But ever since, I’ve been obsessed with the potential of virtual reality technology and have been thrilled to see its presence grow in our changing media industry. That’s why I’m excited for the opportunity to put my passion for VR to work as an Engineer at NextGen VR Corp, and help build the future of virtual reality technology.
Employees who are passionate about their work are likely to perform better, stay longer, and make a greater long-term contribution to the company.
To demonstrate your enthusiasm, use your cover letter’s opening paragraph. Explain what draws you to the position, and how it fits into your career goals so employers know how dedicated you are to their mission.
3. Show your excitement about the work being done by the company
If you’re genuinely excited about a company’s brand, their mission statement, or their products, highlight this excitement in your cover letter introduction. Relate the company’s work to your personal mission.
As a long-term admirer of the contributions to solar panel technology being made by your team at GreenWays Engineering, I’m excited to submit my application for the open entry-level technician position posted on your site. As a recent graduate from the University of Rochester with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering, I’m confident that my knowledge of PV systems, practical experience performing energy modeling assessments, and precise attention to detail will make me an asset at GreenWays.
This candidate’s cover letter intro is especially effective because in addition to expressing their interest in the role, they also mention some of their most relevant qualifications up front.
4. Impress employers with a relevant accomplishment
The best cover letters demonstrate a candidate’s expertise. So if you have experience in your field, start your cover letter by noting a professional achievement that demonstrates your expertise in your industry.
With over six years of diverse accounting experience under my belt, I’ve cultivated a strong foundation in financial management and cost reduction strategies, enabling me to make a substantial impact on any team. For instance, during my tenure at Smith Johnson & Sons, I balanced a $400,000 budget while reducing costs by 20% for a client. I’m eager to bring my attention to detail and analytical abilities to the Senior Accountant role at Walker & Company and achieve similar results while further enhancing my expertise.
To successfully show off your accomplishments in your own cover letter introduction, draw a connection between what contributions you made at your previous job and how the skills you gained will help you succeed in your next role.
By giving a specific example of what you achieved, you reassure employers that you’re fully capable of performing well at their company.
5. Acknowledge a career change
Writing a career change cover letter can be daunting when you’re up against more experienced applicants. The key to winning over hiring managers is to demonstrate how your skills and experience transfer to your target job.
One great approach is to directly address your career change in the opening paragraph of your cover letter and make a convincing case for why they should hire you. This way, they’ll be more likely to consider your application instead of making a quick judgment due to your lack of work history in this field.
As a self-taught makeup artist, I’m most fulfilled when I’m practicing makeup techniques at my full time role as a certified nursing assistant — for years I’ve honed my skills and made my patients feel beautiful, whether for special occasions or as part of our daily care routine. Inspired by your brand’s commitment to centering women over 50, I’d love to bring my eye for aesthetics, empathy, and incredibly steady hand to your team as I transition to my dream career.
Despite their lack of formal work experience, this applicant shows how qualified they are and explains why this position aligns with their skills, experience, and passions.
They cleverly include transferable skills (such as a steady hand) and relevant experience working closely with the company’s customer base so the hiring manager knows they’re a great fit.
6. Demonstrate what you can do for the company
Ultimately, employers want evidence that you’ll quickly be able to contribute to the company after being hired. To catch their attention, use your cover letter opening lines to highlight either a problem you can help them tackle, or any specific hard or soft skills you have to offer.
I’m writing to apply for the Software Engineer role at Jasper Development. With over five years of experience as a backend engineer, I’m confident that my expertise would allow me to become an immediate contributor to the team at Jasper. Specifically, I understand that Jasper is looking to expand their services in cloud computing. At my previous job, I spearheaded a new cloud computing project that generated a 15% revenue increase. The Software Engineer role at Jasper would be an exciting opportunity for me to help your team build up the company’s cloud computing capacity while continuing to hone my skills in this area.
Part of why this example is so persuasive is because the applicant gives a lot of detail about what they’ve achieved in an area where the target company is looking to grow.
By including the project type, their role, and a quantifiable result that added value to the company, the hiring manager can easily see that this applicant would be an asset.
7. Be direct
Hiring managers are busy people, and often don’t have time to read each applicant’s cover letter thoroughly. To make sure your application isn’t overlooked, write a short cover letter that gets straight to the point in the opening lines.
I’m writing to apply for the restaurant manager position at La Fare Bistro. With more than eight years in the restaurant industry as a host, server, and manager, I’m confident that my expertise aligns closely with the responsibilities required of the restaurant manager position.
To model your cover letter’s first paragraph after this one, clearly and concisely state what job you’re applying for and why you’d be a good fit. The end result is a straightforward cover letter beginning paragraph that makes you seem confident and qualified.
8. Reference industry trends or recent news
Another great way to let hiring managers know you’re prepared for the target position is to mention recent trends in the field or give your take on relevant news that will impact the business.
As a passionate follower of the biotechnology sector, I was thrilled to read about Sinom Innovations’ recent breakthrough in risk reduction through personalized medicine. As a seasoned biomedical engineer with a 10+ year background in genetics and data analysis, I’d love to bring my experience in planning customized treatments to Sinom’s mission of revolutionizing patient care.
If you choose this cover letter opening approach, make sure to use your cover letter body paragraphs to demonstrate how your experience has prepared you to respond to recent changes. Hiring managers will appreciate your initiative, but will also want to see evidence that you’re well-equipped to navigate industry changes effectively and contribute to the company’s success.
9. Lead with an impressive statistic
Hiring managers love to see concrete proof of your achievements. Win them over right away by including a statistic that shows off your abilities in the opening sentence of your cover letter.
In my previous role as a marketing manager at Oracle Solutions, I led a team that achieved a 45% increase in lead generation within the first six months, surpassing our annual target. Recognizing that Apex Digital’s commitment to driving growth through innovative marketing strategies aligns perfectly with my own professional experience and skills, I am eager to explore the possibility of joining your company. I’d love to use my experience developing and executing successful marketing campaigns to contribute to the continued success of Apex.
One thing this candidate does well is hook the reader with an impressive accomplishment in the first sentence, then shift the focus to what they can contribute if hired. If you choose this angle for your cover letter, make sure you follow suit and let hiring managers know you’re prepared to achieve similar results at their company.
10. Use humor (if appropriate)
Hiring managers come across dozens of generic cover letters every day. Injecting humor into your cover letter opening is an effective way to add personality to your application and catch the hiring manager’s attention.
As an online native who’s obsessed (yes, obsessed) with the GoGourmet app, I was thrilled to see your listing for the Social Media Manager position at GoGourmet Studios. Before I started watching GoGourmet’s content, I didn’t know the difference between a ham steak and a lamb shank. While I still may not be much of a chef, I would consider myself something of a social media sommelier. With over three years of professional experience as an online brand manager under my belt, I’m confident my adaptability and hands-on branding experience would make me the ideal candidate to help GoGourmet expand their online presence and user base.
Before you decide to take a humorous approach to your cover letter intro, consider whether it’s appropriate. Depending on the type of position you’re applying for or the company you want to work at, a casual tone might come across as unprofessional.
Additionally, avoid making your cover letter opening longer than it needs to be. While creativity can help you grab attention, many hiring managers will find anything that exceeds standard cover letter length to be tedious.
So before adding humor to your cover letter, do some research about the company culture to determine whether a casual tone is actually acceptable.
11. Explain how you were introduced to the company
If you’re applying to a company whose work you’re already familiar with, sharing your personal experience is one way to establish a quick connection.
When I lived on Park Street, the smell of your bagels baking made me a morning person — and a loyal customer. Before long, I was recommending Bo’s Bagels to strangers on the street. 3 years later, I’m sure you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover an open position at Bo’s as an advertising specialist. I’ve directed successful campaigns for a range of small businesses in the community — most recently increasing foot traffic at a local farmer’s market by 35% — and I’m confident my expertise will help establish Bo’s Bagels as the community staple it deserves to be.
This example uses a bit of flattery paired with a great example of relevant experience to make a case for why this applicant is the best person to lead their advertising campaign. This introduction is sure to win over the hiring manager because it shows how much the applicant believes in their product and how prepared they are to achieve the desired results.
12. Start with a unique skill
If you have an uncommon skill that sets you apart from other applicants, your cover letter introduction is a great place to mention it.
Growing up trilingual and deeply connected to both my Spanish and Arabic-speaking sides of the family, I’ve been lucky enough to participate in a truly multicultural society. When I learned about Borderless Inc.’s dedication to bridging cultural gaps through expert translation and localization services, I knew I’d found the perfect opportunity to leverage my unique language skills and multicultural experience. I am confident that my linguistic expertise and exceptional communication skills will enable me to excel as a localization specialist, fostering growth and success in the increasingly interconnected global market.
If you choose to lead with your skills, make sure to use the rest of your cover letter to emphasize how your experience has prepared you to fulfill the daily responsibilities of the role. That way, hiring managers will have a clearer picture of how you can apply this featured skill.
Cover letter introduction template
If you’re still not sure how to start your cover letter, below is a text template you can copy and paste into a document. Once you’ve got your cover letter opening down, don’t forget to pay attention to the rest of your cover letter format.
Address: Street, City, State, Zip Code | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: (303) 456-7876 | LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/your.profile
Company’s City, State, Zip Code
Dear [Mr./Ms./Mx.] [Hiring Manager’s Last Name],
I was excited to see the [Position Name] listing at [Company Name] on [Job Search Platform]. Given my [relevant experience] and expertise in [area of expertise], I am writing to express my interest in the position, as I have long admired [Company Name]’s efforts to [company goal]. In my previous work at [Company Name], I [professional accomplishment], demonstrating keen [relevant hard or soft skills]. I believe that these experiences have prepared me well to [professional achievement goal] at [Company Name].
Tips for beginning a cover letter
Knowing how to begin a cover letter in a way that draws positive attention is the first step toward writing a cover letter that will impress any hiring manager.
1. Include the essential elements
To get a hiring manager’s attention, your cover letter introduction should include the following information in the first couple of sentences:
- The position you’re applying for
- The company you’re applying to
- How you learned about the job opening
- A statement expressing and explaining your interest in the position
- Any outstanding achievements that highlight your qualifications
Your goal is to hit these points in your introduction concisely. Hiring managers often have to pour over dozens of applications at a time, and one way to make a good impression is to respect their time by writing a cover letter that gets straight to the point.
2. Pay special attention to your cover letter’s opening line
Knowing what to write in the opening lines of your cover letter can be difficult because you need to concisely sum up your qualifications as a candidate and make the best possible impression.
Here are 5 cover letter opening sentence examples to give you some ideas:
The examples above are effective because they immediately indicate the position the candidate is applying for, as well as their relevant experience, qualifications, or connections.
Including informative details like this in the first sentence quickly gives employers a good idea of what makes you an ideal candidate, and encourages them to keep reading.
3. Match the tone of the company’s site or socials
The best cover letter opening lines are simple, direct, and informative.
While it can be tempting to use cover letter starters that are unique and add flair to your application, you should make sure that your opening is appropriate for the company culture. Otherwise, you risk your cover letter coming across as unprofessional or gimmicky.
Before you begin writing your cover letter, spend some time browsing the company’s social media, such as LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook.
If they have a website or blog, pay special attention to the tone of their “about us” section, where you can usually get a good idea of what the company culture is like. Then, model the tone of your cover letter after the company voice, but still let your unique personality and writing style shine through.