When it comes to writing a cover letter, no section is as critical as the introduction. This is your one and only opportunity to pique the interest of recruiters and directly convey why you would be a good fit for the position and company. The beginning sentences are meant to serve as a short sales pitch for your top skills and achievements, they are not your autobiography.
Failing to create a compelling cover letter introduction tailored to your audience can have disastrous results and turn hiring managers away. Fortunately, you can avoid this scenario and produce a powerful opening paragraph by using our tips for success.
How to Write a Cover Letter Introduction
When writing a cover letter, the point is to sell yourself as the ideal candidate for an open position. The introduction is your hook; it should pack a big punch and tell your story in a clear and concise manner.
Your goal is to think like a recruiter and name the top skills and experience that make you an effective contributor to the company. This way, hiring managers are quickly able to gain insight about how your background has prepared you to be successful in the role at hand.
Avoid talking too much about how great the position would be for you. Recruiters already know this. Instead, consider their perspective and tell them how great you would be for the team. Additionally, be sure to start off your message with a custom greeting that includes the name of the company. Without these crucial details, you run the risk of sounding insincere or lazy.
When addressing your reader, a simple salutation such as “Dear [full name of person],” is sufficient. “To Whom It May Concern” is overly formal and can read as robotic to recruiters, so don’t use it. Be sure to do research to find the name of the hiring manager or HR person for the company. Going with “Dear Hiring Manager,” is an absolute last resort.
The example introduction below avoids these pitfalls and gets straight to the point about the value the hopeful candidate will add. It mentions the jobseeker’s most relevant knowledge, leadership experience, and ability to perform in a brief but powerful way. It is also tailored to the hiring company and lists an internal referral for extra credibility.
I am writing to express my eager interest in the assistant director role with the sales team at ABC Company. I am applying at the recommendation of the current director, Diana Lopez. In this role, I can deliver deep technical knowledge, 10 years of managerial experience, and proven performance recognized as among the top 5% by my current supervisor.
5 Cover Letter Introduction Must-Haves
1. A powerful opening line that captivates recruiters
Think of the first two or three sentences of your cover letter as an elevator pitch to recruiters. Clearly articulate your experience, knowledge, and top achievement in the field to which you are applying.
Right away, this makes you a competitive candidate by showcasing what you’ve learned and how you have added value in past positions. Remember that the introduction is not the place to go into detail. This is the place to entice hiring managers to keep reading.
2. An emphasis on how you contribute to the company
Inconsideration for the audience is perhaps the biggest Achilles heel on an otherwise excellent cover letter. Too often, jobseekers focus on how great the role would be for them. Instead, recruiters are looking for information on what you will add to the position.
When writing your introduction, put yourself in the hiring manager’s place and think about what you would be seeking in a potential employee. Focus on covering those qualities, referencing the job listing for inspiration.
3. Original, compelling content
When reading your cover letter, recruiters want a deeper look at your skills, experiences, and ability to handle the position. Instead of repeating what you’ve already mentioned in your resume, use your cover letter to add details that didn’t make the cut.
It is no longer necessary to be exceedingly formal in cover letters. In fact, being too formal in your language can make you seem outdated and inauthentic. An opening line such as, “I would like to express my interest in filling the available position,” does nothing to illustrate you as an easy-to-work-with and approachable employee. It can also read as a stock response, so tailor your content to each company to which you apply.
5. Referral details
If someone in your network suggested you apply for the position, be sure to include his or her name. The referral can go a long way with recruiters and managers, particularly if the person who recommended you is an existing employee of the hiring company. Including this information in the beginning of your cover letter ensures it receives attention.
Top Cover Letter Introduction Takeaways
In summary, it is best to approach the beginning of your cover letter as a pitch to recruiters explaining how you will contribute to the position and company. For optimal results, ensure this section is short, powerful, and direct. You will go into further detail in the body of the cover letter and, ideally, in the ensuring interview.
By clearly communicating your most relevant strengths and experiences, customizing your content to the hiring organization, and using approachable language, you can stand out from the pack and inspire your reader to learn more. Should you need creative fodder, don’t hesitate to reference our examples and writing tips.