How to Start a Cover Letter that Leaves a Strong Impression

how to start a cover letter
Created by CakeResume

While your resume tells a lot about your skills and expertise, it's usually not enough to convince someone to invite you for an interview.

So how do you persuade the hiring manager to send you an invitation?

Well, you make your case by sending a cover letter. 

A cover letter is a document that you attach alongside your resume that further elaborates your skills and qualifications. Hiring managers evaluate cover letters to narrow down the applicant pool and to estimate whether or not it is worth his/her time to read through the applicant’s resume.

Thus, having a striking cover letter opening sentence is important to catch the eye of whoever reviews your application. A good intro for an application letter should intrigue the reader and make them more curious about you.

If you are wondering, "How do I start a cover letter that will intrigue the hiring manager to keep reading?" You're in luck! Because in this article we will uncover different approaches to writing your cover letter opening lines, guide you on what you should include at the beginning of a cover letter, share tips on how to start off a cover letter, and give examples of memorable cover letter opening paragraphs. Let’s get right into it!

Strategies on How to Start a Cover Letter Effectively

You've been staring at a blank page on your computer and nothing comes into mind, or if there are any, they're cookie cutter cover letter opening lines. And you know better, they just won't cut it.

Thinking of writing a cover letter opening paragraph is like creating art. There's no right or wrong, but there are impressive ones.

We know that the start is usually the most challenging part. So, to make it easier for you when writing the cover letter intro part, here are some cover letter opening ideas to help you get started.

1. Clearly state your purpose for writing.

The easiest way to kickstart a cover letter when you don't know how to begin is by conveying your intention. Although it isn't the most compelling intro, most recruiters do appreciate simplicity.

To-the-point cover letter opening example:

“I am writing to express my interest in the entry-level procurement position at Awesome Company. I graduated from Awesome University with an International Business, and my courses in marketing, supply chain, and finance have equipped me with the necessary skills to build my career in the Fintech industry.”

2. Mention a mutual connection.

Referral applications can take you a long way. Putting the reference as a part of your cover letter opening lines grabs the attention of the hiring manager. It will put you ahead of the rest of the candidates because they would want to know what makes someone they know and respect recommend you for the job.

How to start a referral cover letter example:

“I was excited to learn from John Doe that your company is looking for a full-stack developer. John and I worked together for 4 years at our previous company and he recommended that I reach out to you for this opportunity.”

3. Mention a notable accomplishment or skill related to the position.

The humblebrag technique is probably one of the most obvious ways to attract the hiring manager. The achievements work as proof of your skills, and which managers dislike actionable skills?

How to start a cover letter with accomplishment example::

“I'm known as the best at throwing dinner parties amongst my peers. But more than that, I was awarded Event Manager of the Year in 2019 at my previous company.”

4. Highlight what values you can bring to the position.

Instead of writing why you want that job so badly, put what contributions you can make to the position and the company at the beginning of your cover letter. It shows that you truly understand the role and are proactive.

Example of how to point out value as a cover letter intro:

“Teamwork, strong communication, and attention to detail are what I implement in order to reach my targets. Supported with my 7-year of expertise, I am confident that bringing me as your healthcare consultant will enrich your team.”

5. Express your passion.

Passion is one of the greatest components of success. Exuding one's passion as an opening statement of a cover letter is a good way to appeal to recruiters. Companies always look for people who can advocate for their brand, vision, and values.

Example of how to communicate one's passion to start off a cover letter:

“Growing up in Hawaii, I always lived near the ocean and many of my fondest memories happened either around or at sea, for instance, helping my father rescue a washed-up seal. Thus, I have been dedicating my life and career to protecting marine life.”

6. Be direct.

Cut to the chase with a persuasive intro for your application letter. With only so much space to tell the recruiter how you make the perfect candidate for that job, straightforwardness becomes an essential part of writing an impactful cover letter opening paragraph.

Example of how to begin a cover letter directly:

“I would like to officially submit my application for the Content Strategist position at Amazing Company. As the lead strategist for Startup Company, I successfully drove their subscriber count organically from 0 to over 100,000 in 3 years, with over 50% of those converted to leads and sales."

7. Express your beliefs or goals.

Declaring what you deeply care about at the beginning of your cover letter allows recruiters to get a quick peek at you as a person. It is a great way to add a personal touch to your application and can be an advantage over the other candidates.

Example of a belief statement in a cover letter opening paragraph:

“For me, graphic design is not only about creating pleasant-looking logos or posters and selecting the perfect font and color. It's about representing values, ideas, vision, and who you are for the world to see.”

How to Begin a Cover Letter (Format, Things to Include)

To successfully write an impressive cover letter, there are 3 components that you must include:

1. Cover letter header

A proper intro for an application letter always has a header that contains these information:

  • Your contact information:
    • Full name
    • Professional email address
    • Phone number
    • Location or mailing address
  • Date of writing
  • Recipient's information: 
    • Hiring manager's full name 
    • Hiring manager's job title
    • Company name
    • Company address

💡 Tip: If you don’t know the hiring manager’s name and job title, this cover letter header section can be replaced with [Department Name])

2. Cover letter greetings or salutations

If you happen to know the hiring manager's name, be sure to mention it again in the greeting. However, most of the time the hiring manager's name is undisclosed. What do you do then? 

Here are alternatives on how to start a cover letter with no name:

  • Dear Hiring Manager,
  • Dear [Company Name] Hiring Team,
  • Dear [Department Name] Hiring Manager,

3. Cover letter opening paragraph

After the formal greeting, you can start off your cover letter by mentioning the information below:

  • Job title
  • Current or most recent company name
  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Achievements

Below is a sample of a cover letter header template that you can copy and paste:

[Your First & Last Name]
[Your Email Address]
[Your Phone Number]
[Your current city and country of residency]

[Date of Writing]

[Hiring Manager’s Name/Department Name]
[Hiring Manager’s Job Title]
[Company’s Name]
[Company’s Address]

Dear [Hiring Manager/Department Name]:

[Opening Paragraph]

Tips for Writing a Cover Letter Opening

In this section, we'll share more tips to make an attention-grabbing cover letter intro:

💡 Always tailor each cover letter to the job.

Don't mass-produce your cover letter opening lines. Put thought and spend some effort to customize the intro for your application letter to show that you've done your homework for the role and the company.

💡 Show your excitement.

Be enthusiastic in starting off your cover letter because the emotions you project through your cover letter opening lines can affect how the recipient feels throughout reading the rest of your cover letter.

💡 Be sincere.

The first rule for any job application is always be honest. Express genuine interest and intention in your cover letter intro.

💡 Introduce yourself properly.

Even if the company you're applying to has a laid back and casual work culture, always use a formal introduction in the beginning of your cover letter. That means don't omit any essential information and always use proper language.

💡 Be creative and use a bit of humor.

If you dare to be different to make a lasting impression, go for light humor to start your cover letter. Big, blasting disclaimer: do your research thoroughly before you try using jokes as a cover letter opening. You want to make sure you’re not offending anyone before you’re even part of the company.

How to Start a Cover Letter – Examples

Still stuck and wondering how to start writing a cover letter that will awe the hiring manager? We have more cover letter opening paragraph examples. Check them out below.

Cover Letter Opening Example #1

“I used to grow up eating frozen food because my parents worked a lot and did not have enough time to properly cook for me. That childhood memory motivated me to be able to cook. At the age of 15, I learned how to prepare food for my family and that's how I discovered my passion for cooking and decided to pursue a career as a chef.”

Cover Letter Opening Example #2

“I stumbled upon a recent news article mentioning that Super Great Company is working toward reducing their carbon footprint to zero in the next 5 years. I must say that it intrigues me and I applaud your company's mission. With that said, as an engineer who specializes and has been working on renewable energy, I would like to apply for the Senior Field Engineer position.”

Cover Letter Opening Example #3

“When I go camping and am surrounded by nature, I feel that I'm in my element. The first time I encountered Super Cool Brand was on my third hiking trip. I have always admired how your company has been creating eco-friendly products without compromising quality and also donating 10% of your profits every year to the Amazon Conservation Association. When I saw the job posting for a marketing position, I knew that I had to apply immediately.”

Cover Letter Opening Example #4

“As a teacher, I believe that every kid deserves proper education regardless of their background. Education should not only be accessible to those who can afford it. That's why for the past 4 years, I have been working as a teacher volunteer in Kenya to provide the means for Kenyan children to receive quality education.”

Cover Letter Opening Example #5

“A simple principle that I live by every day is: work smarter. I am the kind of person who observes inefficient procedures, analyzes the problem, and comes up with a refreshing way to maximize productivity while also ensuring that my team members grow together. I am confident that these qualities will be assets if I get the chance to be the Head Sales at your company.”

Cover Letter Opening Example #6

“My former colleague, Jane Doe, whom I used to work closely with, mentioned that your company is in the search of a photographer and recommended that I contact you. At Super Inspirational Company where I was an Assistant Photographer, we worked on editorials, commercials, live events, and many more. Thus, when I heard Jane suggested that your company is hiring, I was excited to take this opportunity.”

Cover Letter Opening Example #7

“At my previous company, my supervisor would call me "The Scrutinizer" as I have always been able to notice flaws that others don't. During my last year as the Quality Assurance Manager at Dope Company, I saved the company almost $1,000,000 because a fault was detected early on before the manufacturing process was initiated.”

Cover Letter Opening Example #8

“My adolescence years wouldn't have been complete without Really Awesome Magazine. It helped me go through many phases from my awkward teen years to heartbreak to career dilemmas. Working for your magazine as an intern would be an absolute dream come true.”

Cover Letter Opening Example #9

“I'd like to officially submit my application for a Research Intern position at Great Research Company. The courses I took in university on Immunology, Virology, Biochemistry, and their laboratory experiment classes have provided me with a solid foundation for the position. Through this opportunity, I am looking to expand my knowledge in a more practical way and learn the ropes in research and development.”

Cover Letter Opening Example #10

“I am writing to express my interest in the Social Media Manager listed on your company's LinkedIn profile. Given my 6 years of experience in digital media management, I have the knowledge and practical skill to enhance Really Great Brand's online presence that will further strengthen the brand's community on and offline. I have built a solid online community for my previous company from the ground up and I firmly believe I have what it takes to strive for Really Great Brand.”

🔑 Key Takeaways

That’s on how to begin a cover letter!

Hopefully, you are more confident now and have some ideas on how you can write an eye-catching cover letter opening paragraph.

To sum up the most important points of this article, here are the key points to keep in mind when starting a good cover letter:

  • Always personalize your cover letter intro to the job position and company.
  • Project genuine excitement and interest in the opening paragraph of your cover letter.
  • Do not omit the header, and try your best to research the hiring manager's full name. If you don't have any luck with it, simply address them with Dear Hiring Manager or Dear [Department} Hiring Manager.

Write a unique cover letter opening statement. You can express your passion, mention your achievement, name-drop a mutual connection, or lay the values you can bring to the company.

With CakeResume, you can easily create a resume online, free download your resume’s PDF formats, and utilize ATS-compliant templates to create a resume. Land your dream job, create your resume online (free download) now!

--- Originally written by Teresa Edria ---

Resume Builder

Build your resume only in minutes!