The most important part of your cover letter isn’t where you lay out your qualifications or thank the person for reading it. It’s your opening line!
A great opening line to your cover letter will get you noticed. Hiring managers read the beginning and immediately make a judgment call on whether or not they should keep on reading.
While there’s no perfect way to open a cover letter, there are good ways and there are bad ways.
What not to do
Avoid at all costs the type of opening line pleasantries you probably learned in elementary school – phrases like, “To whom it may concern” and “Hello, my name is.” These impersonal, non-specific and flat-out boring openings are a waste of digital ink and they give the impression you aren’t the most vibrant person.
Also, avoid the phrase “I am contacting/writing you because I am interested…” Because the reader already knows you are interested in the job, start by showing just how interested and excited you are about the opportunity.
What to do
A great technique for opening a cover letter is to jump right into it. Start by laying out what you do and what your major accomplishments are so far. By letting the reader know you do ‘X’ and you’ve achieved ‘A, B and C,’ you’re conveying a sense of confidence and showing respect for the reader’s valuable time.
If it comes naturally to you, you could also start out by genuinely expressing excitement. Let the company know you are a fan of theirs and their reputation proceeds them. The hiring manager who reads it will get the sense you will be a dedicated, loyal and passionate employee.
Because some companies use automated software to shift through their applications, you may also want to start out your cover letter with keywords – which are words or phrases you know are associated with the job or the industry. For instance, a copywriter may want to include the term “SEO” or a graphic designer may want to include a reference to the latest edition of Adobe Creative Suite.
If you know someone at the company, you might want to mention that person’s name right away. If you are going to name drop, don’t do it in a way that makes you sound overconfident about your prospects. For example, you could say, “A former supervisor of mine, Joe Smith, recently told me about an amazing job opportunity at your company.”
You could also start your cover letter by referencing the latest company news. If the business was recently profiled on CNN or Fox News, letting the reader know that shows you keep on top of the latest events. It also acts as a bit of harmless flattery.
Work With a Top Supply Chain Recruiter
At ZDA, we help supply chain job seekers with everything from cover letter writing to interview prep. If you’re currently looking to take the next step on your supply chain career path, please contact our team today to get started on working with a top supply chain recruiter!