Good Cover Letter Starter Sentences

Cover letters have the (incorrect) reputation nowadays of being a formality. Like saying “bless you” when someone sneezes, or ending an email with “best.” Frequently, people write a cover letter “just in case” the hiring manager feels the urge to look at it. Which is the wrong move, considering that it’s capable of making or breaking a candidate’s chances.

You probably get where I’m going with this. In the same way that it’s really obvious when an actor is phoning in a performance, the person reading your cover letter can tell when you fill it with generic and meaningless filler.

With the beginning of the cover letter dictating whether the rest will be read or not, let’s focus on the very first line. Here are five phrases you need to ax now.

1. “To Whom it May Concern”

Would you read a letter addressed like this? You’d probably toss it thinking it was junk mail, right? Hiring managers, who are living, breathing human beings, have similar reactions. Make your cover letter more personal by trying your best to address it to the right person. Here’s more on how to do that.

2. “My Name Is…”

Assuming the hiring manager looks over your letter, your first sentence is the only one you can guarantee he or she reads. Is the most engaging or important thing to start with really your name? Give some serious thought to what your first line should be. (Also, give the reader credit for being able to figure out your name.) If you were in an elevator with your potential manager and had about 15 seconds to make an impression and convince him or her to keep the conversation going, what would you say? Use that.

3. “I Am Writing to Express my Interest…”

This probably won’t get your application tossed, but it’s such a wasted opportunity. The cover letter is legitimately the place to “express interest,” so do it. Make a compelling case for why you’re so thrilled to see the job posting, and offer how you’ve been following the company’s latest initiatives. Write something that shows you really are enthusiastic about this specific opportunity, and that you’re not just sending in some form letter.

Make it a little easier on yourself by speaking to a career coach

Right this way

4. “I Have Enclosed for Your Consideration my Resume, Outlining my Qualifications...”

Your cover letter is not the place to rehash your resume, and honestly, it’s silly to mention it at all when you’ve presumably sent the document the same way you sent the cover letter. This is your chance to share your story, motivation, or excitement in a way that would be impossible to convey in your resume (i.e., let your personality shine!). The goal for your cover letter is for it to add something important to your application, not to be redundant.

5. “I’m Probably Not the Best Candidate, But...”

All of these phrases have been bad, but in my opinion this is the worst of the bunch. If you think about it, including this in your cover letter is literally giving the hiring manager a reason not to hire you. It’s one thing to be humble, but’s another to set yourself up for failure. Focus on all the reasons why you should be hired, and let the search committee decide whether or not you’re the best candidate. Hiring managers are reading tons of cover letters, and if you give them a reason to dismiss yours, they will.



So, now you know what not to say. Here are 31 examples of really excellent ways to start off your cover letter. Each one is unique and grabs the reader’s attention. While you won’t be able to copy any of them directly (being unique and all), they should offer you plenty of inspiration to write your own clever opening paragraphs.

It's easy to start a cover letter.

 

Just stare at a blank computer screen until your forehead bleeds.

 

You've written "Dear," so many times you've nearly worn the letters off your keyboard.

 

Worse, you get the sinking feeling you'll bore the hiring manager and she'll skip your resume.

 

Take heart. You're about to see an engaging cover letter opening you can shape to fit your needs.

 

This guide will show you:

 

  • How to start a cover letter so it pulls the reader in.
  • Several sample cover letter introductions you can really use.
  • Which salutation to use: Dear Kate vs Dear Ms. Smith vs Dear Hiring Manager.
  • Examples of great cover letter openings that can get you to the interview. 

 

Here's a sample cover letter made with our fast online cover letter tool. It shows the best way to start a cover letter. Want to write your letter fast? Use our cover letter templates and build your version here.

 

 

So, there's your perfect cover letter template. Now let me show you several ways to do it right.

 

1

How to Start a Cover Letter with the Right First Paragraph

 

The first sentence of a cover letter is critical. If it doesn't hook the manager, you're sunk.

 

That's why you should never write a cover letter opening paragraph without the one thing guaranteed to interest any hiring manager. What is that, you ask?

 

It's the manager herself.

 

Your cover letter first paragraph can start with any of these facts about the manager:

 

  • Her name.
  • Something you like about her company.
  • Her company's biggest needs.
  • Some facts that prove you'll help her company.

 

How to Start a Cover Letter Examples

 

right

Dear Alice,

 

As a longtime fan of Cisco's internal certifications, I was excited to see your project manager opening. With my experience cutting costs 55% for VMware while dropping lead times 35% and boosting quality, I think I can help with Cisco's current challenges as I continue to expand my skill set.

wrong

Dear recruiter,

 

I'm a project manager with 5 years experience, skilled in all aspects of project management. I've worked for and with several big ISO 9000 companies, working with internal and external stakeholders to draw requirements and facilitate project completion. I think I'd make an ideal project manager for your company because of my unique skill set.

 

The difference? 

 

The first example of how to begin a cover letter is all about the manager. The second? Me, me, me. Like George Costanza in a revolving door.

 

Don't know the hiring manager's name? Stick with us. We've got some great tips for "To whom it may concern" cover letters in a bit.

 

Pro Tip: Don't be afraid to research the hiring manager. The more you learn about her interests, the closer you'll be to finding common ground.

 

Want to go beyond the "how to start a letter" stage? Need a creative cover letter template? See our guide: "How To Write A Cover Letter [Complete Guide With Examples]"

 

2

How to Start a Cover Letter with Exactly what the Manager Wants

 

"I killed Lord Voldemort."

 

If you're Harry Potter, that's how you start your cover letter.

 

You don't do it by talking about your spell-casting skills.

 

Those are impressive, but they're not the most impressive thing about you.

 

Look in the job description. Figure out what's most important to the company.

 

Then, brainstorm your achievements. Find the shiniest one that fits their needs.

 

Company Needs: Two How to Start a Cover Letter Samples

 

Check out these two examples of how to begin a cover letter.

 

They're for a job posting that values marketing ROI.

 

right

Dear Steve,

 

I am so excited InterExchange needs a marketing director skilled at storytelling and driving ROI for student travel. With my track record of boosting marketing ROI by 55% for InternationalStudent through storytelling and creative leadership, I think I'm a great fit.

wrong

Dear Hiring Manager,

 

I'm a highly skilled marketing manager with 2 years experience in crafting creative marketing programs and leading marketing teams. I think you will agree that my strategy, budgeting, planning, and campaign creation skills make me the ideal candidate.

  

See that first example of a creative way to start a cover letter for marketing? It grasps the company need. Dale Carnegie would be impressed.

 

The second is a to whom it may concern cover letter. It's as generic as a can of store-brand peas.

 

Pro Tip: The job offer will be packed with company needs. As you read it, highlight them all. The best cover letters start with the most important.

 

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write your cover letter in our resume builder here. Here's what it may look like:

 

See more templates and create your resume and cover letter here.

 

All set with how to start off a cover letter? Need to move on to the ending? See this guide: "How to End a Cover Letter: Sample & Complete Guide [+20 Examples]"

 

3

How to Open a Cover Letter with a Company Fact

 

Wow.

 

The hiring manager (we'll call her Alice) just read your resume with great interest.

 

Your letter connected in all the right ways.

 

How?

 

You made it about her.

 

Begin your cover letter with a little digging.

 

To find good cover letter openers, look for facts you like about the company.

 

Browse their website. Look at their careers page. Read news items online.

 

Company Facts: Two How to Start a Cover Letter Examples

 

Look at the difference in these cover letter opening lines:

 

right

Dear Nancy,

 

The Boston Consulting Group's emphasis on employee development is why I'm so excited about this position. My 98% client satisfaction rate at Deloitte owes a lot to my commitment to constant skills improvement. I'm excited to see where I could take your client KPIs within such a well-constructed system.

wrong

Hi Mrs. Tillotson,

 

I've been a consultant for four years and I've achieved some amazing things, including cutting client costs. I'm highly skilled at communication, sales, and strategy creation.

  

That first example of how to start a cover letter uses a great fact about the company. The second is as self-centered as Gordon Gekko.

 

Pro Tip: Be honest. Find a company fact you really do like. Even better if it shows you're perfect for the job.

 

After you know how to start your letter, you'll need to know how to format the entire thing. See our guide: "Cover Letter Formats: A Complete How-To Guide [10+ Examples]"

 

4

When to Start Your Cover Letter Introduction with Name Dropping

 

You're sweating bullets.

 

You've got some great accomplishments, but nothing world-shaking.

 

You need to know how to start a cover letter without a lot of cred.

 

But. You just happen to be friends with Wonder Woman.

 

If the most impressive thing is who you know, start there.

 

Name-Dropping Samples for How to Begin a Cover Letter

 

Check out these two very different introduction paragraph examples.

 

right

Dear Robert,

 

Candace Peters suggested I apply to this position because she knows: 1. My software solutions achieved 97% performance-to-goals at Uber, and 2. You're looking for a developer with speed and efficiency, which my resume demonstrates.

wrong

To whom it may concern,

 

I'm a software engineer with 5 years experience. I'm highly skilled in Java, Python, C, Ruby, C#, PHP, Objective-C, and SQL. Candace Peters said I should apply.

 

Which one will wake a bored hiring manager?

 

If you picked the first example of how to open a cover letter for a software engineer, you're on the right track.

 

If you picked the to whom it may concern cover letter, think again.

 

The name dropping trick works even better with a letter of introduction.

 

Pro Tip: Don't have a name to drop? Network. Meeting people in the company can get you the job faster than learning how to begin a cover letter.

 

Writing a letter of introduction for an internship? See this guide: "How to Write a Cover Letter For an Internship [+20 Examples]"

 

5

How to Write a Cover Letter Intro Based on Passion

 

Okay, so you haven't recently destroyed the Death Star. Also, you're not best buds with Chris Hemsworth.

 

The shiniest fact about you? Passion. You shimmer like someone dipped you in a vat of yellowcake uranium.

 

If that sounds like you, you've found your opening lines.

 

A Cover Letter Opening Statement Based on Passion

 

Look at these two examples of how to start a cover letter with excitement.

 

right

Dear Sharon,

 

When faced with the CPA exam in school, I told my mentor, "I want to blow this test out of the water," and I did. Beyond my 98 average score across all four sections, a passion for finance has always been the guiding factor in my life. That's why I'm so excited at the chance to work for Signature Consultants.

wrong

Dear recruiter,

 

I'm a financial analyst with over 3 years experience developing financial models and analyses, coordinating information collection, and developing reports. 

  

That first example of how to open a cover letter for financial analysts will get the interview.

 

Here's another example, this time for a graphic design cover letter.

 

right

Dear Alan,

 

Graphic design for jewelry shows has always been a passion of mine. My panel talk on jewelry graphics at the AIGA Design Conference was put on YouTube and retweeted 1,500 times.

wrong

Dear recruiter,

 

I'm a graphic designer with 3+ years experience at creating exciting design. I've never held a position yet that specifically handles graphic design of jewelry shows, but I am quite interested in jewelry graphic design.

  

The first example of how to start a cover letter for graphic designers shows passion and competence.

 

It's guaranteed to make the hiring manager stop daydreaming about turducken.

 

Pro Tip: Even small details can show your passion. Statements like, "I've always loved," or "I'm fascinated by," can help you nail your how to begin a cover letter goal.

 

Once you know how to begin a cover letter, you'll need a resume. We've got a guide for that: "How to Make a Resume: A Step-by-Step Guide (+30 Examples)"

 

6

How to Start a Cover Letter with Current Events

 

Let's snoop some more on our HR director, Alice.

 

She's reading through a bunch of cover letters, but she's bored.

 

Then she hits your letter.

 

It's all about the award her company just won. Finally, someone gets her.

 

That's how to start a cover letter based on recent news.

 

Introductory Paragraph Examples that Use the News

 

right

Dear Sarah,

 

I love, love, love that Wegmans Food Markets is #2 on Fortune Magazine's list of top companies to work for in 2017. Google is #1, but I cut spoilage 38% for the Hannaford store I managed, whereas I don't even know what "algorithm" means.

wrong

Dear recruiter,

 

I've got 5 years of experience as a grocery store manager. In that capacity, I handled tasks including ordering, scheduling, hiring, firing, and training.

 

See the difference? The first one is about the company. The second sample of starting a cover letter is as self-involved as Angelica from Rugrats.

 

Pro Tip: The best current events to use in a strong cover letter opening paragraph are big chunks of good news. Even better if they involve the hiring manager herself.

 

Now you know how to begin a cover letter that links to the job description. Do the same thing with your resume. See our guide: "6 Tips on How to Tailor Your Resume to a Job Description (Examples)"

 

7

Who Should I Address My Cover Letter To?

 

Picture this:

 

You listen to a lecturer drone on about macroeconomics for two hours. You're almost asleep.

 

Then suddenly, she says your name. You sit bolt upright and your eyes snap open.

 

Sadly, we're all pretty self-absorbed.

 

Happily, this makes it easy to know how to start a cover letter.

 

Begin your cover letter introduction with the hiring manager's name.

 

Don't know it? Look in the job offer, on the company website, and on LinkedIn. If that fails, try calling the receptionist.

 

How to Start a Cover Letter [Examples]

 

Any of these make good cover letter introductions:

 

  • Dear Jim,
  • Dear Mr. Ramirez,
  • Dear Susan,
  • Dear Mrs. Kelftree,
  • Dear Ms. Allen,

 

Pro tip: Don't use "Miss" or "Mrs." unless you know the manager prefers it. "Ms." works great and doesn't comment on marital status.

 

Also, if the manager has a title like Dr. or Professor, she worked hard for it, so use it.

 

But what if you can't find a name?

 

How to Start a To Whom It May Concern Cover Letter

 

Did your name search fail? Don't fret. You haven't flunked your cover letter opening paragraph just yet.

 

You can ditch the salutation and start with the first line of the letter. Or use any of the following:

  

  • Dear Software Team Hiring Manager,
  • Dear Hiring Manager,
  • Dear Recruiter,
  • To Whom it May Concern,
  • Dear [Company Name] Recruiter,

 

Those all work for how to address a cover letter without a name. That said, "Dear XYZ Team Hiring Manager," is best. Why?

 

It's specific, and it shows you know what goes on inside a company.

 

Pro Tip: Don't sweat the salutation. Do your best, then move on. That's How to Open a Cover Letter 101.

 

Does starting a cover letter really matter when so many managers don't read them? See our guide: "Are Cover Letters Necessary If Most Recruiters Don't Read Them?"

 

8

How to Write an Address on a Cover Letter

 

Knowing how to start a cover letter is hard.

 

Knowing how to write an address? Easy.

 

If you're asking how to address a letter, it's just Dear + [FIRST NAME],

 

If you're searching how to write an address in general, do this:

 

Put the your address at the top of the letter.

 

Add a line space, the date, two more blank lines, then the recruiter's address.

 

Luke Skywalker

24 Wamp Rat Drive

Tatooine, Arizona 01138

 

11/2/17

 

Darth Vader

1142 Sith Way

Darklord, Nebraska 02812

 

Dear Darth Vader,

 

Dear Recruiter

 

What about the "Dear recruiter" salutation?

 

Isn't that a bit old fashioned?

 

Starting a cover letter Dear ______, is fine.

 

Job applicants have been doing it for years. By now, recruiters are used to it.

 

Pro Tip: Writing an email? You don't need your full mailing address. Your web URL, email address, and phone number are enough.

 

Already know how to start a cover letter first paragraph? Just need to know how to write an address? See our guide: "How to Address a Cover Letter: Sample & Guide [20+ Examples]"

 

 

Learning how to start a cover letter isn't easy. Remember this advice:

 

The best tip for how to begin a cover letter? Make it all about the hiring manager. Use her name. If you don't know it, take the time to learn it.

 

Include some big accomplishments that fit the company's needs. See our application letter examples for more help.

 

Add other attention grabbing facts, such as things you like about the company, or recent company achievements.

 

Want to know more about how to write a cover letter? Not sure what the opening paragraph of your cover letter should be about? Perhaps you found the best way to start a cover letter? Give us a shout in the comments! We love to help!

0 thoughts on “Good Cover Letter Starter Sentences”

    -->

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *