Are you a Graduate?
This article will change your entire LIFE! OK… That might be overselling it a little bit, but this proves a good point. If you want someone to keep reading something, you need to hook them right from the beginning. The same is true whether you’re talking about blog articles, blockbuster movie scripts or even your cover letter. So, to boost your chances of getting the job, you need to know how to start a cover letter with a bang (no special effects required).
The so-called job hunt isn’t so much a hunt, it’s a game, with hundreds of players vying for victory. Your competition knows how to play dirty, which means you have to know how to beat them. The key to success when you’re trying to find a new job seems simple enough; stand out from the pack. However, you can only do that if you know how.
Since your cover letter is going to be responsible for the very first impression you make on an employer, a lot is riding on its shoulders. One page could be standing between you and your dream job. A cover letter can help you reach your career goals, but a good cover letter needs a good introduction.
Recruiters and hiring managers are busy people – they don’t always have time to read every CV they get sent. Remember, they’re looking for the ideal candidate to join their business; a weak opening line could consign your application to the recycling bin. This means that your CV might not even get a look in!
When writing a cover letter, try to convey to the reader that you can offer them something to their company. It’s essential to sell yourself in your cover letter, but do this without giving too much away – that way, whoever is reading it will want to find out more in your CV.
To get things off to a good start, your cover letter needs to look and sound the part. The best cover letters are:
If everything looks good, that won’t distract the reader from the points you’re trying to put across or undermine your claims. There’s no point saying you have ‘excellent attention to detail’, then spelling the company name wrong!
No two human beings are the same, and since hiring is all about people, every cover letter will be unique. While there are templates and layouts you can adapt, there is not a ‘golden’ cover letter you can whip out every time you’re looking for a job. Start as you mean to go on; as long as the beginning of your cover letter encompasses all of the below factors, you’ll be onto a winner.
Good cover letter introductions get straight to the point, without any waffle. At the beginning of your letter, clearly explain the reason you are writing it, referring specifically to the job title. Never assume an employer or recruiter will know which role you’re applying for.
If you have a contact within the business who made you aware of or recommended you for the job opening, it’s worth mentioning their name. Many employers prefer to hire individuals who know existing employees, so this could work to your advantage. Just be sure to double check that your contact is happy for you to do this beforehand.
Do not, we repeat, do not use the same generic cover letter for every job application. (The same goes for your CV, too!) Employers like to see a cover letter that is tailored to the opportunity with their business, not a ‘one size fits all’ copy and paste document. Refer to the job description as a guide, use buzzwords and mention desirable experience or skills you possess that are in line with the requirements.
Want some bonus points? Talking about specific (and relevant) achievements or accomplishments at the start of your cover letter are bound to impress!
It’s all well and good fitting the criteria for the job, but you need to show that you really want it, too! A dreary cover letter opening which lacks any enthusiasm for the role won’t inspire employers to keep reading. Instead, it’s vital to express your excitement about the position as soon as possible.
It seems like there is a lot to pack into a cover letter introduction, but it’s totally doable! Here are a couple of examples to inspire you: