Get started with your letter

Of course you want the first paragraph of your cover letter to stand out from the crowd. But how do you tackle this?


27.06.2017

The most difficult task is to start your letter. But the first paragraph is also the most important one as its role is to encourage the recruiter to read on. That’s why we’ve dedicated a section to how to start your letter in the most efficient way.

“I am interested to see that you are looking for a management assistant. I started my training in office communication, and subsequently completed a secretarial college degree with the emphasis on (…)”

Candidates who apply for a job often start their letter in a similar way. Although it is a concrete and direct introduction, it isn’t really catchy. Remember that a recruiter often receives dozens or even hundreds of cover letters. Standing out in your first paragraph is therefore essential!

Here are a few ideas for you to start your letter:

Describe what you thought when reading the job offer

The job offer always makes you think or at least arouses your interest, otherwise you wouldn’t apply. Think carefully about what you thought when you saw the ad for the first time and mention it in your opening sentence: “When I read your description of the job on offer at StepStone, my first thought was: here is the ideal job for me. I’ll try to explain why in this letter.”

Choose an introductory sentence in connection with the business

Consider the company for which you are applying. Is it a creative advertising agency? Or a more formal firm? Start your letter with a sentence that matches the values of the company.

Be careful: your objective is to be taken seriously without seeming to be presumptuous. Think about how you would react to your introductory sentence if you were in the recruiter’s shoes.

Highlight your interests and abilities straight away

In the opening sentence of your letter, mention your strengths and how they match with the company. For example: “Since I started law school, I have always wanted to advise companies on legal matters. A job as a lawyer in your company would therefore match my profile perfectly.”

Talk about current events

Relevant news is important for all businesses. Think of a topical issue or a current theme in relation to the position for which you are applying. For example: “Children are increasingly affected by obesity. As a dietician, I would like to contribute to the fight against this scourge. That is why I am very interested in the post of Children’s Dietician at your organisation.”

Now that you’ve made a good start to your cover letter, take a look at our next chapter that gives a checklist for an effective letter.