A cover letter is at the forefront of your entire application for a job. It serves as the preface for what your resume will say and encourages the employer to read more about you.
Your cover letter should put your best foot forward and immediately show the hiring manager why you are a candidate they simply can’t pass up the opportunity to learn more about.
But, how do you start a cover letter so that you immediately get noticed and pegged as someone who would excel in the position without overwhelming them with information or adding too much fluff?
So, let us answer the question: how do you start a cover letter to get noticed?
1. Personalise It
How would it make you feel if you received an email about interviewing with a company that addressed several people or just had a general “hello” rather than your name?
It would feel insincere. And this works both ways.
While it is okay to have a generic template that you use for your cover letters, we always recommend personalising each cover letter to the job you are applying for.
Use the hiring manager's name, include the job you are applying for, and note why you can offer that specific company value.
2. Mention recent news about the company
While you might be applying to several companies and have a general idea of what they all do, you should still appear more invested than that in the eyes of the potential employer.
Make them feel unique. They want to see that you have put time and effort into considering their company and that you know more about them than just where to send your resume.
Of course, it would be unnecessary and actually damaging to go over-the-top and include every recent fact you can find, but you should include one key piece of recent news that demonstrates a genuine interest in them.
3. Mention a contact
This is a tip that you will only use if applicable. While it is useful to have a contact where you are applying, we understand that this will not always be the case, nor is it necessary to secure the job you are applying for.
However, if you do have a contact, especially one that is well-respected within the company, mentioning their name in the cover letter will typically give you brownie points.
4. Share an achievement
As mentioned in the beginning, your cover letter is your chance to put your best foot forward. Use this opportunity to share a relevant achievement that your peers might not be able to include in their cover letter.
This is one of the best ways to stand out without being too boastful or trying to polish up your skill set more than is accurate.
5. Provide value
During the hiring process, the potential employer is looking for what you can do for them.
They are going to spend the money on your salary and benefits, so they want to know what value you can provide them in return.
6. Tell a story
Keep in mind that your cover letter should only be one page, structure it as a narrative – but take this term lightly.
By structuring it as a narrative, we mean that it should flow like a story.
Make it easy for the employer to read and entice them to learn more, almost like a cliffhanger at the end of a book.
7. Use humour or surprise
The element of surprise is an attention-getter. The hiring manager likely does not yet have a preconceived notion of who you are, as your cover letter is one of the first things they will look at.
However, they might have already read through the cover letters of a few other applicants at this point, so using humour or surprise to switch things up is a great way to grab their attention and show that you are personable.
Tip: Be cautious when using humour. You do not want an attempt to lighten the mood to come through as an irresponsible or immature mishap.
Examples of how to start a cover letter
Here are a few examples of how to apply the above to the start of your cover letter:
Smith and Company were recently voted one of the top five employers in our area; and I would be honoured to show just as much dedication and devotion to your company as an employee.
As a former colleague of Jane Doe, I know that you will appreciate the high standards that applied to the projects we completed in our time together.
I have been a long-time client of Smith and Associates and after seeing the great work you have done for me and my team over the years, I would now like to join your team and help further that reach.
For more help with writing your cover letter, be sure to download our guide to writing killer cover letters.
Get started on writing your cover letter
At ZygaUni, we understand that your dream job can seem like just that, a dream. However, we are confident that we can provide you with the tools to prepare you to snag that dream job right off the market.
Writing a cover letter that will get you noticed requires some thought and finesse, and our guide will help you write a cover letter that you’ll love.
And make sure to use our innovative online resume builder to create an eye-catching resume to go with your cover letter.