How To Start Off A Cover Letter For A Resume

It’s time to dump the old line: “Please accept this application in response to…”

(Stuck in a career rut and need help? Watch this free webinar)

If you’re still starting your cover letter with this overused one-liner, then I implore you to stop what you’re doing, delete the line, and spend a few minutes reading this article to discover seven new examples of how you can catch the hiring manager’s attention with an attention-grabbing opening line.

Entice them with the job title and some of your standout accomplishments…

1. As an IT Director for ABC Company, I manage IT operations for a 500+ employee organization. Since I was recruited in 2005, my goal has been to modernize and scale the technology landscape and drive forward initiatives to expand the capabilities, systems, and performance across the organization. To date, the results have been impressive, including transition to a new Storage Area Network (SAN), Microsoft desktop environment, data warehouse, and Internet technology tools. Further, I have captured more than $2.5 million in development and operating cost reductions.

Keyword-rich opening lines that demonstrate fit…

2. I am a veteran Construction Manager with extensive experience in the designing, planning, budgeting, staffing, and on-site supervision of new construction and renovation projects. With 15+ years in construction and project management, I bring to ABC Company value-added expertise in:

3. As an accomplished Chief Financial Officer, I possess broad cross-functional experience in emerging, high-growth, and well-established corporations. Unlike other finance executives, my focus has not been limited to just finance but includes strategic planning, change management, system implementations, and business operations, as well as the performance improvement of teams. Highlights of my career include:

4. Designing, developing, and leading physical fitness training programs are my passions and my expertise. My 11+ years of progressive leadership experience in the U.S. Air Force, together with my upcoming ACE certification and my achievements in fitness instruction and coaching, make me an excellent candidate for your Personal Trainer position.

Highlight the fact you can meet their needs to keep them reading…

5. Cultivating relationships to deliver exceptional results is what I do best. Whether in a start-up situation or a high-growth organization, I have consistently increased sales and customer satisfaction through my ability to develop first-class sales solutions and drive professional excellence. Highlights of my career that may be of interest to you include:

6. Cross-cultural communication, multi-departmental collaboration, and producing highly detailed and dependable administrative and marketing support are what I do best.

7. Delivering massive value to my clients has been the focus of my career for the past 13 years. In my role as ___________ for ABC Company, I have unfailingly provided my clients with strategies, action plans, and the leadership necessary to enhance people, processes, and technologies. In addition, I have established a solid reputation for assessing challenges, creating solutions, and responding quickly to changing business requirements. This is the value I offer to XYZ Corporation.

Words to remember…

It’s important to remember your cover letter should be a brief introduction that demonstrates fit and motivates the employer to read your resume. If you’re narrating your whole life story or using the same old line that’s been written a million times before, then you’re not really captivating the reader or communicating the most vital information necessary to win the interview.

Using these simple points as guidelines and the cover letter samples provided above as a starting point, create your own unique and captivating opening line that draws the reader in and keeps them interested.

If you’re having trouble landing a job, watch this free webinar “How 5,000+ Professionals Got Out Of Their Career Rut” with J.T. O’Donnell. REGISTER NOW!

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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About the author

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter. Want to work with the best resume writer? If you would like us to personally work on your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile—and dramatically improve their response rates—then check out our professional and executive resume writing services at GreatResumesFast.com or contact us for more information if you have any questions.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a Work It Daily-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Jessica Holbrook HernandezJessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter. Want to work with the best resume writer? If you would like us to personally work on your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile—and dramatically improve their response rates—then check out our professional and executive resume writing services at GreatResumesFast.com or contact us for more information if you have any questions.

Example Cover Letter Opening Lines

Cover letter openers are often pretty generic, but they don’t have to be. "Most cover letters begin with something like, 'In response to your job advertisement, I'm forwarding my resume for your review and consideration,'” says Abby Locke, speaker, writer and president of Washington, DC-based Premier Writing Solutions. “Make a stronger first impression by writing something different -- something that will readily show the value you offer."  

You can grab the reader's attention by highlighting accomplishments, your passion for contributing to the employer's mission and your strongest related skills. To get started, Locke suggests writing a list of the top three ways you would add value to an organization. "What core competencies would enable you to excel in the position you're targeting?" Locke asks. "How would the employer benefit from hiring you?"

If the first few lines of your letter are causing your readers' eyes to glaze over, it's time for a makeover. Review these examples for ideas and inspiration.

Administrative Assistant

Your company is truly a leader in healthcare information -- you offer solutions that ultimately enhance the quality of healthcare delivery. I am excited by your mission and would be able to translate this excitement by providing top-notch administrative services to you and your team members.

Find administrative assistant jobs.

Community Liaison

ABC Organization's community liaison position is an excellent fit for my qualifications, and I am very interested in speaking with you about the opening. Although my current role as a youth worker is tremendously rewarding, I would like to become more involved in preventing the vicious cycle of hunger, poverty and unfulfilled human potential on a broader, national level. Your opening presents that precise opportunity.

Find community liaison jobs.

Customer Service Representative

Profit-minded and customer-centered, I believe that the path to revenue-goal attainment begins with providing exemplary customer care. Toward that end, I have been successful in solving an assortment of service, billing and order-processing issues to build a loyal client following. My 10 years of customer service experience for diverse industry employers will enable me to provide outstanding service to your customers.

Find customer service representative jobs.

Financial Analyst

I read with great interest the article in Fortune announcing the upcoming launch of ABC Bank. Congratulations on this new venture and its already impressive $20 million in loans pre-charter! The possibility of contributing to the growth of your bank is exciting, and I would like to explore a potential employment match that I am confident will be a win-win proposition.

Find financial analyst jobs.

Health Program Management

Would you like to reduce medical costs, increase productivity and build a team of happy, healthy employees? If so, you may be interested in adding me to your management team. For my current employer, I have:

  • Saved lives through medical screenings, risk-reduction programs and wellness education;
  • Decreased medical costs by $180K annually; and
  • Reduced employee absenteeism to an all-time low.

Find healthcare program manager jobs.

IT Consultant

As an experienced technology manager and business owner, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to remain current with ever-evolving technology without breaking the budget. But whether you are trying to equip your workforce or stock your retail showroom with the latest in next-generation laptops, I promise you will find the solution (and the value) you are looking for by retaining my services as an IT consultant.

Find IT jobs.

Marketing New Graduate

DEF Company's marketing assistant opening is an excellent match to my qualifications. As a recent graduate of ABC University with a major in marketing, I offer solid academic credentials as well as industry experience gained from an internship at GHI Company. If given the chance, I know that my strong business and marketing foundation would benefit your department, customers and bottom line.

Find marketing jobs.

Paralegal

If you are seeking to augment your legal team with a results-proven, technically skilled and solidly credentialed paralegal, my enclosed resume will be of interest. Characterized by my current supervisor as a "shining star in the department" with an "exceptional knowledge and skill base," my expertise in corporate law will enable me to hit the ground running as a paralegal with your firm.

Find paralegal jobs.

Real Estate Agent

In my previous position, I sold dirt...for millions of dollars. But if you asked my real estate clients what they had purchased, they would describe their soon-to-be-built, luxury high-rise condominium homes. It's that kind of pre-sales success that I offer your firm, and I am very interested in joining your team.

Find real estate agent jobs.

Sales Representative

If you are seeking to augment your business-development team with a top-producing sales professional, my enclosed resume will be of interest. In my strong interest in joining ABC Company, you will find a history of No. 1-ranked sales performance combined with a six-year track record of outperforming quotas by as much as 150%. 

A few things not to do

Don't use your cover letter as a way to regurgitate the information that's on your resume. For example, don't say, "My name is Jane Doe, and I graduated from USA College in 2015 with a degree in marketing, and I'm looking for a job in a relevant field." 

Don't forget to double-check that you took out the name of the previous company and position you applied to. That's a big no-no. Pay attention to detail—every single employer wants to see that you're on your game.

Don't sell yourself short. One way to turn off a hiring manager is by appearing less-than-enthusiastic about the job. "I know you've probably seen much more qualified candidates..." or "I hope I'm not taking up too much of your time..." rank among the weakest opening lines in cover-letter history. Get out in front by expressing your passion for the job and company, and just how awesome of a hire you would be. 

Find sales representative jobs.

Impress employers with a high-impact resume and cover letter from the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service.


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