Cover Letter

7 Examples Of Fresh New Ways To Start Your Cover Letter

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

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. 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.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter.

12 comments

  1. Ngobesing Suh Romanus

    I must say I enjoy this cover letter. If I were an employer and found such a cover letter I would pay attention to it. I think it’s a great job. Bravo!

  2. I have been reading all kinds of cover letter and resume articles for my recent job hunt. It’s beyond discouraging to see how many of them are tailored to corporate people with contacts and a list of quantifiable achievements. Honestly, how much help do people with backgrounds like that need when they are writing a cover letter and resume? Not everyone is in corporate. Not everyone can say they saved the company all kinds of money or made all kinds of money for their clients. Some of us don’t have clients. Stop making it so easy for yourselves, authors.

    • I totally agree. There are many people who are simply applying for a job to pay the bills for a few years while they decide their future, and there are others who enjoy the field they are in which may not be corporate. Not everyone wants to be a high flyer. The important things is to show how all the experiences you have and the skills you have learnt in work and in life can be transferred to the job you are applying for. You could go to training.gov.au and search your work field, say ‘seafood retail’, choose a Cert I course and see what employability skills are listed there and include those phrases in your covering letter to show what you actually can do. You might also want to search ‘capacity building’ which is just the latest fancy name for “developing your ability to do things related to your job”. Take note of some of the terms and phrases used in “capacity building” and use the ones that relate to your skills. I am a volunteer Career Mentor at QUT in Brisbane, and I work with new graduates so they have a limited CV, and if you take out the degree factor, they have to learn to sell themselves by referring to the skills and abilities they have developed in their dealings with people and the community, and perhaps some brief work experience. So take heart, you have lots of offer, you just need to know how to sell it.

  3. to Cem and Gary: When you say “nothing to write about” in terms of experience, I assume you mean you feel your experience is less than others that are out there competing? Well a cover letter can only do so much, so you might want to consider beefing up your networking skills so that you are referred to opportunities based on people who know you and what your potential is…highly responsible, quick-learner, reliable, etc. These are the “soft skills” that every hiring manager knows are impossible to teach people OTJ, so if you can bring them into the job yourself, the hiring manager can easily train you on the specific work duties.

    But, back to your cover letter question, I would look at the targeted job requirements and focus on the areas of the soft skills (like “good communications”, good teamwork, strong work ethic, etc) – all job postings list these things. Then your cover letter can focus your strengths on those areas. Obviously having awesome work skills and years of experience is the best, but if you don’t have it, then talk about what you have

  4. It is no tough job to write an outstanding cover letter if you have the experiences like those the author has exemplified. What about people without experience, nothing to write about?

  5. Jessica,

    I agree that it is time to dump that age-old line. Surprisingly, however, I haven’t seen that type of opening on a cover letter in years and am kind of taken aback that candidates are still using it!

    It goes without saying that detailing the candidate’s knowledge, skills, attributes, and professional title in the beginning of the letter is among the most effective ways to capture the hiring manager’s attention.

    There are a myriad of ways the above can be achieved and the 7 ways you draw attention to will help candidates get a good start on improving their cover letter documents.
    Thanks.

  6. I’m sorry but when you receive resumes of resumes, you never read the cover letter first. I only read the letter if I feel the resume fits the position.

  7. Overall, I like the article. I have a couple of cautions:

    1) In #4, saying “my passion” is like telling someone “I’m a self-starter.” Using the word “passion” backfires when talking about yourself. Instead, describe what you do in a compelling way. The other person will conclude whether or not you are passionate about something.

    2) In #7, I would change “leadership” to “management.” “Leadership” sounds too self-promoting, as does “unfailingly.” “Unfailingly” is also inconsistent with “solid.” These two words indicate very different levels of performance.

    That said, this article has some strong, effective opening sentences to grab an interviewer’s attention.

  8. Hello. I agree with Ashley, this is a very fresh approach with great examples. Has this approach met with the approval of recruiters and hiring managers?

  9. I can always tell before I see who wrote the article that its you, Jessica, who wrote it. You truly break down each aspect of applying for a job that brings the process back to perspective. This article is full of great examples that I know will help make my letter fresh.

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