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How to Start a Cover Letter (Master the Introduction)

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Read Time: 11 min

Cover letters are the first thing hiring managers see. It gives the first impression, which means that it can make you or break you. Here's how to start a cover letter.

Job SeekerJob SeekerJob Seeker
You want to make a good first impression with your cover letter. (Image Source: Envato Elements)

This article will cover how to start a strong cover letter, tips on what makes a good cover letter, and how to write a cover letter introduction. We’ll also look at three different types of cover letters. Plus, we'll include example paragraphs you can adapt for your own use.

3 Types of Cover Letters

There are many different types of cover letters. Here are a few of the most common types:

1. Application Cover Letter

Talking to InterviewersTalking to InterviewersTalking to Interviewers
When people think of cover letters, an application letter often comes to mind. (Image source: Envato Elements)

This is the standard cover letter that most people think of when you say cover letter. You use this cover letter alongside a resume. This cover letter is created for a specific job, and the skills and specifications are tailored to the cover letter from the job posting.

2. The Prospecting Cover Letter

The prospecting cover letter is like the application cover letter, but it's more general. This cover letter isn't a response to a specific job posting. It's a job seeker looking for open positions in general within a company.

3. The Email Cover Letter

Email Cover LetterEmail Cover LetterEmail Cover Letter
Some cover letters are sent through email. (Image Source: Envato Elements)

This cover letter is simple, short, professional, and is sent over email. If you’re responding to a job posting and a cover letter isn't requested, then this is when to use it. There's no specific format for the email cover letter. Usually, it includes a greeting, a simple body mentioning your experience, interest in the company, and a closing that mentions any attachments you've got in the email.

Tips on What Makes a Good Cover Letter

You want to write a good cover letter. So, here are some tips to help you with the opening of your cover letter:

1. Research

Do some research before you write your cover letter. (Image Source: Envato Elements)

Research the company that you’re applying to. Each cover letter that you make should reflect the research that you’ve done. Know what kind of company you’re applying to and their beliefs.

2. Use a Premium Template

Premium templates have a stylish and professional design. Most people use a free template or no template at all. Free templates aren’t designed as well. So, stand out by using a premium template. Many Envato Elements premium templates come with cover letters and resume sets.

3. Proofread and Edit

Proofread Your Cover LetterProofread Your Cover LetterProofread Your Cover Letter
Check your cover letter carefully for mistakes. (Image source: Envato Elements)

Having a spelling or grammar edit can cause a hiring manager to stop reading. It's viewed as unprofessional to have a spelling and grammar edit if you can also get someone else to read over your letter looking for mistakes after you’ve proofread it.

4. Watch Your Tone

The tone of your cover letter opening and body should match the job level you’re applying for. You also need to keep in mind the job industry you’re applying to. If you lack experience, your enthusiastic tone should show your adaptability and highlights some of your personality.

5. Open Strong

Catch Hiring Manager's AttentionCatch Hiring Manager's AttentionCatch Hiring Manager's Attention
The cover letter intro is important. (Image Source: Envato Elements)

The first paragraph is where you catch the hiring manager's attention and get them to keep reading. Next, you must introduce yourself and what you offer, but you must do it all on one page. So, to get noticed, you need to start strong.

10 Tips on How to Start a Cover Letter With Examples

After you’ve chosen a premium template, you’ll want to start on your cover letter. Here are ten tips on how to start strong in your cover letter introduction:

1. Highlight a Mutual Connection

Mutual Connections HelpMutual Connections HelpMutual Connections Help
Mention any connections you have with the company in your cover letter introduction. (Image source: Envato Elements)

If you were referred to by someone you know, you should mention that connection in your cover letter introduction. This catches the attention of the hiring manager because someone they know recommended you for the job. Remember, don’t use extreme language like greatest or best in your opener. Also don’t forget to show excitement and gratitude.

Be careful when talking about your recommendation not to ramble. You want it to speak for itself, so keep it brief.

Example Paragraph: I'm excited to learn about the role of Project Manager through an employee Russell Smith. He and I worked at ABC company for many years and worked on big projects together. He thought I would work well in the company and do well in this position.

2. Start With an Accomplishment

Hiring managers like to see evidence of your accomplishments. You can’t just state them. Any data or statistics you can provide is more powerful. If you don’t have any work experience or any data, you can give proof is helpful. Even if it’s as small as your boss complimenting you in an email, it’s okay to provide it in your cover letter opening.

Example Paragraph 1: My previous boss told me that I communicate so well that I could diffuse any situation. I’ve always been a skillful communicator. I'm eager to bring this skill to ABCD Company.

Example Paragraph 2: In the past month as a Marketing Manager at XYZ Company, I generated 15K in revenue, increased organic traffic to the company blog by 12%, and tripled our social media ad revenue.

3. Express Your Passion

Passion plays a big role in successPassion plays a big role in successPassion plays a big role in success
Your passion can play a role in your success. (Image source: Envato Elements)

A big factor behind success is having a passion for what you do. Hiring managers want potential employees who will be supporters of the company and who will work hard. It also tells the employee that you’ll want to stay with the company. So, tell the hiring manager in your cover letter opening why you're motivated at your job and express how passionate you're about it.

Example Paragraph: Ever since I was little, I’ve loved fashion. I always bought fashion magazines so I could learn about the latest styles. This passion led me to give my friends and family-style advice when they asked. I want to turn this into a paying job. So, when I found the opening for a personal stylist at B Fashion, I knew this was the right job for me.

4. Refer to Current Events

Consider mentioning the company's current events in your opening when starting a cover letter. This tells the hiring manager that you’ve researched the company. It can also give you the chance to show the hiring manager some of your values. For example, if the company is recognized for innovative technology, then you can explain how you'll help the company excel further in that area.

Example Paragraph: I was inspired when I saw DEF Company in Business Magazine for its unique business strategies and successful business plans. I've got a previous record of creating unique and successful strategies that enabled GHI Company to grow success.

5. Have Creativity

Creativity Is ImportantCreativity Is ImportantCreativity Is Important
Your cover letter opening is a good place to show creativity. (Image source: Envato Elements)

You can show creativity in your cover letter introduction in different ways. For example, you can add a creative story or tell a joke. But you need to be careful when doing this. You want to catch the hiring manager's attention, not make them think you aren’t taking the application seriously. If you decide to tell a story, keep it brief. Hiring managers don’t want to read a long cover letter.

Example Paragraph 1: You posted a positioning for a Chef in the Harvest Kitchen. I'm applying to this position because I can make a sauce like no one else. I can also do utensil tricks like a chef at Benihana. Not only that, but my food is so good people will fight over it. I’m a size small, so you'll save money when you get a chef jacket for me.

Example Paragraph 2: I look at the clock and gasp in shock. I've got an important client coming in two hours. My boss just asked me to redo the product pitch and add the new product changes. With no time to waste, I completely redid the product pitch to add new details collaborating with other teams to get all the information I needed. The best part? Our client was pleased with the product pitch and was able to land the client.

6. Start With a Belief Statement

Start your cover letter introduction with your belief statement. You want your belief statement to impact the reader, and you want it to be short. A belief statement is an idea or value that matters to you.

The belief statement should mirror the company’s values and goals. But be careful that you don’t copy the company’s values and goals completely.

Example Paragraph:  As a teacher, I believe students should have the opportunity to learn the way they need and at their own pace. Students should be able to be curious and participate in hands-on activities that'll encourage learning growth in STEM.

7. Be Direct

Be Direct for a Successful Job InterviewBe Direct for a Successful Job InterviewBe Direct for a Successful Job Interview
Hiring managers are busy, so be direct. (Image source: Envato Elements)

Hiring managers are busy. They've got to read many applications, among other duties. This is why being direct in starting a cover letter. By being direct, you’ll let the hiring manager know what you’re looking for and not make them read through the cover letter to find out the purpose of your letter.

Example Paragraph: I’d like to submit my application for a sales associate at JKL company. I've six years of experience as a sales associate at TH Company, where I’ve become skilled in selling and people skills. With my skills, I know I’d be a perfect fit for the JKL company sales associate position.

8. Start With a Surprising Statement

When writing your cover letter introduction, try starting it with a surprising statement. You want to make the hiring manager keep reading. If your cover letter opening is intriguing, it could make your cover letter more memorable.

Example Paragraph: I think of myself as someone who's unique from others. What does this mean, you ask? What it means is that my different experience makes me a strong candidate who can understand, develop and complete different functions in business.

9. Start With a Learned Lesson

Add a learned lesson to your cover letter opening. You want this lesson to be relevant to the job that you’re applying to. Also, the lesson should show clearly what you’ve learned. The lesson learned should be kept short. If you go into too many details, you could lose the hiring manager's attention.

Example Paragraph: As a Sales Lead with management sales experience in the retail industry, I learned that the best way to succeed is to believe in the product you’re selling and love people.

10. Start With Intrigue

Intrigue can make your cover letter stand outIntrigue can make your cover letter stand outIntrigue can make your cover letter stand out
You want to stand out. Especially if you're applying at a larger company. (Image source: Envato Elements)

When you’re applying to larger companies, you want to stand out; adding intrigue to your cover letter introduction is one way to stand out. In addition, by adding intrigue to your cover letter, you’ll make your cover letter interesting to the hiring manager.

Example Paragraph: I know you’ve read so many cover letters today because your company is successful. My resume is one more resume you've got to read, but I've got the experience that'll make me stand out from the others.

Learn More Section

Learn more about cover letters and resumes:

The Best Source for Cover Letter Templates (With Unlimited Use)

Envato Elements is the top place to find premium cover letter templates. All you need to do is subscribe and pay a low monthly fee. When you become a subscriber, you can access resume templates, stock images, fonts, and more.

Explore Envato Elements

Envato Elements is the best value if you need digital elements often. Professionals make premium templates look stylish, professional, and impressive. So, if you’re worried about creative freedom, you still have it. Plus, you can edit the templates as much as needed.

Download a Premium Cover Letter Template and Get Started Today!

Now that you’ve read some tips and how to have a strong introduction, get started on your cover letter. Premium templates will make you stand out, and you’ll save time. So, download a premium template and sign up for Envato Elements.

Editorial Note: This content was originally published in July 2022. We're sharing it again because our editors have determined that this information is still accurate and relevant.

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