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How Do You Begin a Cover Letter


Our writing coach explains how to start a cover letter with examples. Also read what you shouldn't do.

'Dear Mr. Employer,

I read your vacancy for the position of project manager and I was immediately interested. (1) I have already held this position at various companies and therefore I think I'm the right person for the position within your organization. (2) Below I will explain why and in my resume you can find my work experience and training. (3)

Mark the Applicant '

Starting is often the hardest part of any writing, including a cover letter. The trick is to fascinate the reader immediately, so that he becomes curious about the sender of the letter. The above example is probably not having the desired effect.

Example: original start of the cover letter

Start by mentioning the place where the vacancy was found. At least, that's what the booklets say. But is this really important information for the employer? After all, the HR manager has set out the vacancy himself and can always check this with the applicant when in doubt. In addition, the selecting manager has probably already envisioned all of these openings and is therefore continuing to read with less enthusiasm.

You also indicate that your interest has been aroused by sending the letter. You may be able to use the limited space you have for a cover letter - namely a maximum of one A4 sheet - better than what happens in the example above.

For example, open with a recent (media) event concerning the organization or an original quirk on the company slogan. Suppose you recently graduated and want to work for ABC Inc. as a young marketer. Then compare the intro below with the example above. Do you see the difference?

'In the past few weeks I caught myself picking up an extra bag of chips in the supermarket, as soon as I suspected to have less than ten euros worth of groceries in my basket. Only to get football pictures. "

The recipient of the cover letter determines

For many applicants it doesn't sound strange at all to call yourself 'suitable' for a position, as in sentence 2 of the example. But in reality it's the recipient who determines whether you have everything for the job. You don't know exactly what the position entails, and whether you're suitable will only be determined later by the application committee.

You can say that you expect to be able to fill the position properly or you think you have the required capacities. But don't try to put this into the first few sentences with fear. In the following paragraphs of your letter there is enough room to explain what you have in store.

Don't immediately refer to your resume

The third sentence ("... you can find my work experience and training in my resume") is very common in similar forms. At first glance it seems like a great setup for the next one. But is it information that adds something? No. The resume is probably the first to be viewed and an explanation of the statements in the first sentences is already expected. Without these empty pieces of text, you have much more room to tell what an employer really wants to know about you and the text becomes a lot more readable and more personal. Just look at this third sentence from the same young marketer.

"That's why I believe ABC Inc. is the organization where I can grow as a starting marketer and learn from professionals in my field."

Connect your original opening with the reason for your application, your insights into the organization or competencies that you bring. Was it in the news that your future employer is going to expand abroad? Link this to your international ambitions or experience. This way the reader of your letter is surprised and encouraged to read through, and you want to achieve that!

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