Writing a cover letter is not something most people look forward to. It is one of those tasks that come with every job application but not something that is easily done. Eventhough the cover letter has become less crucial for a job application over recent years (first selections based on just a short look at the CV’s or LinkedIn profiles has almost become the standard procedure). But nevertheless you are still expected to send a cover letter to accompany your job application. Particularly the start or the first sentence of the cover letter can cause difficulty. Some believe that the first sentence is crucial for your job application and that it should blow away the reader of your cover letter. Fortunately this is almost never the case (maybe when you are applying for a position as a creative writer…). Using a traditional (or conservative) first sentence is not something a recruiter will see as a dealbreaker, especially when the content of your CV stands out from other candidates. But when the competition in your area is fierce and the content of your CV is not (yet) sufficient to differentiate yourself from other candidates, your cover letter, and especially the first sentence, can help you to grab the recruiter’s attention.
There are several starting points possible for your cover letter. You can use a tradional or conservative first sentence. A traditional first sentence is very acceptable when you are applying for a formal position or at a very formal company. A very appreciated way to start your cover letter is to express your excitement or enthusiasm for the job opening. If you want to create more personal connection between the company / the recruiter and yourself you can start your cover letter on a more personal note by sharing your passion or inspiration. Another smart way to demonstrate a connection between the company or the recruiter and yourself is to use name-dropping. Do you want to get straight to the point and you immediately want to differentiate yourself from the competition? You can start your cover letter by pointing out your strengths and experience in the first sentence. When you are writing a speculative job application requires a different approach. For each category we have composed several example first sentences.
TRADITIONAL / CONSERVATIVE OPENING SENTENCES
I’m writing to express my interest in the position as [position title] at [company name]
I’m writing to apply for the position of [position title] at [company name].
I would like to propose my candidature for the position of [position title] with [company name].
I was very interested to read the job post for [position title] at [company name], I herewith send you my CV to consider.
Please find enclosed my CV as application for the position as [position title] at [company name].
SHOWING ENTHUSIASM / EXCITEMENT AT THE START OF YOUR COVER LETTER
With great enthusiasm, I am writing in reponse to your advertisement for [position title] at [company name].
I was excited to come across the job post for [position title] at [company name].
I’m excited to be applying for [position title] at [company name].
I’m excited to present my CV to you for the position as [job title] at [company name].
Throughout my career I have always been eager to accept exciting challenges. The opportunity to work for [company name] as a [position title] and to work on the challenges described in the job description sparked my enthusiasm.
USING NAME DROP AT THE START OF YOUR COVER LETTER
I was excited to receive a message from John Adams about a job opening in the [department name] department of [company name].
Last week I met John Adams from your sales department at the London fashion week event. He kindly informed me about the job opening for [job title] at your company.
A mutal friend of ours, John Adams, recently suggested I should apply for [position title] at your company.
When I visited your store in [location] last week I was excited to come across the job post for [position title] at the message board.
FOCUS ON EXPERIENCE OR STRENGTHS IN YOUR COVER LETTER
As an experienced account manager, I strongly believe in data analysis as a source of new opportunities.
As a marketing manager I have experienced the rise of digital marketing in a highly competitive business environment.
My extensive experience in sales, marketing and leadership, as well as my excitement for new challenges, has motivated me to apply for the position of [position title] at [company name].
After spending five years of leading a marketing team in an international business environment, I am looking for an exciting new challenge.
As a sales expert with a passion for the travel industry, I read your advertisement for the position of [job title] with great interest.
USING A PERSONAL APPROACH
Ever since I was in nursery school I wanted to become a teacher.
As a passionate traveller, I enjoy meeting new people, learning about new cultures and adapting to changing circumstances. I was excited to see all these elements in the job post for [position title] at [company name].
As a inspired volunteer in my own local community, I have watched [company name] efforts to support local communities all over the UK with great admiration.
I’ve wanted to work in the hotel industry ever since I visited a hotel with my parents for the first time when I was five years old.
[company name]’s goal to reduce the co2 emission in the transportation industry inspired me to visit your website. There I was excited to see there is the current job opening as [position title].
As a social worker, I believe that every child should have the opportunity to explore life in a safe environment.
OPENING SENTENCES FOR A SPECULATIVE COVER LETTER
I’m writing to enquire whether there is an opportunity available to join [company name] as a [position title].
I’m interested in working for [company name] for some time, therefore I am writing to explore if you have any current [position title] vacancies.
I’m writing to inquire into your need of a [position title] at [company title].
I’m very interested in the business activities of [company name], I’m writing to enquire whether there are any current [position title] vacancies.
Do you need someone that can motivate your sales team to reach challeging targets and to explore new opportunities? If so, look no further!
There are probably many more categories of first sentences you can think of. In some industries it is popular to write a bold or creative first sentence to draw the attention to your job application. think that there is one category of first sentences missing from this overview; the bold and creative first sentences. It is not that we don’t believe a bold or creative first sentence can help you to stand out from other candidates. Making a bold or creative statement at the start of your job application is something that has to come from your own creativity and it has to suit your personality. If you write “look no further, I am the perfect candidates” you should be able to back this attitude up during a job interview. Bold or very creative statements are a bit of a acquired taste, there is a chance that you strike exactly the right chord, but there is also a good chance that you strike out and reduce you chances.
We have gathered the sentences above to give you inspiration to start your cover letter. We know from our own experience that the first sentence of your cover letter can sometimes feel like the most crucial element of your job application. But in reality it hardly ever is, even with a very traditional or conservative first sentence you can be successful. Don’t let the first sentence of your cover letter hold you back from applying for your dream job!