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Cover Letter Tips

4 Best Cover Letter Opening Lines to Make a Mark in the First Paragraph

manager reviewing cover letter

Do you feel that writing a cover letter opening paragraph is always the hardest part? 

Who would have thought that you could agonize so much over two to three sentences? First, you are struggling to come up with an appropriate cover letter greeting. Then there you want to make a catchy hook. But end up writing what every other applicant does — “This is my cover letter for [Position Name] at [Company Name]”. 

So you are probably wondering what you can do to get the reader at hello (pun intended)? In this guide, we’ll provide you with several pro tips and best cover letter opening lines examples to accomplish just that. 

But first, let’s get some basics out of the way.

What is the Best Greeting for a Cover Letter?

The best greeting for a cover letter is *drum roll* — Hello [Person Name]. 

Yeah, that’s nothing fancy. But the research of some 300,000 business emails found that simple salutations like “Hey”, “Hi”, and “Hello” drive the highest open rates. 

So go with either of the above, depending on the level of formality adopted in the organization. For example, if you are applying to an educational position, it’s best to use a more formal “Hello”. But starting your letter with “Hi [HR Name]” or “Hi [Team]” is seen as acceptable by companies with a more relaxed culture. 

Pro tip: If possible, subscribe to the company’s newsletter. Then check out how they are greeting prospective customers. Then use the same type of greeting and mimic their tone of voice for your cover letter

4 Great Cover Letter Opening Lines: Examples + Tips 

We know that you’ve come looking for actual cover letter opening line examples. So no more intros! Below is our line-up with quick recommendations when each opening will work best. 

1. Share an Accomplishment 

The easiest way to wow the reader straight off the bat is by throwing in a serious accomplishment. Show that you are a motivated go-getter, eager to make things happen.

For example, you can open your cover letter for a sales position like this: 

“In 2020, I’ve attracted over $5.4 million in new business for my current employer — Pharma Inc. Most of them were from the Midwest — the market your organization is looking to enter”. 

By opening your cover letter with such a bold and boastful line you accomplish two things:

  • Instantly show that you are qualified
  • Make the reader picture what you can do for their company 

Both of the above factors get the reader hooked to continue reading your cover letter and curious to learn more about your qualifications.  

Works best for: 

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Management 
  • Hospitality 
  • Finance
  • Executive positions 

2. Drop a Name 

The purpose of a cover letter is to introduce your persona to the reader and help them learn a bit more about your character, personality, and professional qualities.

An easy way to foster an immediate sense of “connection” is by mentioning someone they know who you know too, aka your connection to the company. 

Dropping such a connecting statement instantly feeds into our association bias — the tendency to transpose associations from a past fact to a present. For example, we tend to link high prices with better quality. Similarly, our brain also associates the positive qualities of a referee with a referral. And this fact makes name-dropping so powerful. 

For example, you can open your letter with this statement:

“I’m referring to [position name] as per the recommendation of Josy Gilbert, an Adjunct Professor at your institution and once a Ph.D. supervisor of mine.” 

Don’t have a direct connection to the company? Don’t worry! You can also build up an association link by mentioning an interaction with the company recruiter or employee, bringing up a fact about the company leadership, or name-dropping your current employer if they are a big name in the industry.  

Works best for: 

  • Academia
  • Legal
  • Finance 
  • Hospitality 
  • Healthcare 
  • Creative industries 

3. Share Your Passion 

Every employer wants to see eager, motivated people with sparkling eyes, rushing around the office premises (or checking in via Slack). 

And that sentiment makes perfect sense. Research found that calling-oriented workers (people with a great passion for their work) are more satisfied and successful at work than those who primarily work for money. So there’s less turnover. 

You can show that you are this person too. Here’s a sample passionate opening for an internship cover letter

“Since I was five, I have been writing short cover stories and asking my Mom to find a publisher for me. Now, I represent other aspiring writers (of legal age) and get them deals with the best publishing agencies in the country”  

Works best for: 

  • Recent graduates 
  • Interns 
  • Career transitioners
  • Tech 
  • Management 
  • Marketing
  • Design 
  • Creative professions 
  • Social work 
  • Customer service 

4. Use Flattery

Sharing your fascination and appreciation for the company you are pitching can help you get your foot into the door.

Let’s be real: everyone loves a bit of flattery. But to be impactful, your gushing sentiment has to be genuine and concrete. It’s not enough to say that “I love what you do”. Instead, you have to come up with a way to connect your skillset with the interest in the company operations.

Here’s a sample opening line doing just that:

“When I first entered the Sama Brand flagship store in NY, my first thought was: can I stay to live here? Your merchandising team has meticulous attention to curating your furniture in a way that says “home”. So instead of secretly squatting at your store, I went to check the open jobs, so that I could spend more time at your amazing space”. 

Works best for: 

  • Hospitality 
  • Travel
  • Retail 
  • Marketing 
  • Management 
  • Service industry 

The Best Opening Lines for a Cover Letter are Those You’ll Come Up With! 

Don’t get caught up in putting down the perfect opening paragraph from the first try. Leave it blank and work on the body of your cover letter instead. Then circle back to writing that opening.

And if you are still stuck, check out more cover letter examples we have on our website!

Author

  • Elena runs content operations at Freesumes since 2017. She works closely with copywriters, designers, and invited career experts to ensure that all content meets our highest editorial standards. Up to date, she wrote over 200 career-related pieces around resume writing, career advice... more

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