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How to start a cover letter

What’s the best way to begin a cover letter? Check out our top tips and use our examples to kick-start your own letter!

How to start a cover letter

What’s the best way to start a cover letter in the UK? Those opening lines of your cover letter can mean the difference between receiving an interview invitation and getting rejected. Your cover letter is really your chance to stand out against the crowd, and those opening lines must grab the hiring manager’s attention.

So read on to discover the best ways to begin your cover letter!

  • Address the hiring manager by name
  • Show enthusiasm
  • Use keywords
  • Be original
  • Name drop
  • Get to the point
  • Highlight selling points

What’s the best way to start a cover letter?

1. Address the hiring manager by name

People start their cover letters by writing ‘Dear sir/madam’. You can stand out by going the extra mile to find out the hiring manager’s name, and addressing them directly in the salutation. 

2. Show enthusiasm

The most important thing to convey in your opening lines is your excitement for the role. Avoid using dull and lifeless language. Instead, choose words that convey your personality and express excitement.

3. Use keywords

Most of the time hiring managers will scan your cover letter. So it’s the keywords that are going to capture their attention and make them want to read on. Scan the job advert for all the key skills and implement some of those words into your opening lines.

4. Be original

The best cover letters are ones that reflect you as an individual. Avoid being rigid and following generic cover letter templates. Give the hiring manager something different to read!

5. Name drop

Do you know somebody within the organisation? Perhaps you recently read an article with the company’s CEO? Mentioning someone’s name from the company is a great way to grab the hiring manager’s attention.

6. Get to the point

Those opening lines are precious so use every word carefully. Avoid being long-winded and be as direct as possible. Make it clear which position you’re applying for, and in which office.

7. Highlight selling points

If you have any achievements or relevant work experience to shout about, it’s a good idea to drop one of these into your first few lines. Whether you were the top salesperson, or you’re an expert at using a particular software, make this known at the start of your cover letter!

3 examples of how to start your cover letter

Opening lines example 1

“Dear Mrs. Taylor,

After reading your CEO, Dave Williams, impressive interview in Time Magazine, it is with great pleasure that I’m writing to apply for the position of Software Developer in your London office. With 3 years’ experience working as a Python developer, I believe I make a strong candidate for this position.”

Opening lines example 2

“Dear Mr. Smith,

As the top car salesperson in my current role at Ford, I am excited to apply for the position of Senior Sales Associate at Toyota’s new Manchester office. With a track record of successfully conducting face-to-face consultations, I am greatly interested in the opportunity to assist Toyota in expanding its client base in its new location.”

Opening lines example 3

“Dear Mr. Walford,

It is with great enthusiasm that I write to apply for the position of Carer in Hartland’s Birmingham branch. As a naturally empathic person who has 2 years’ experience working in elderly care, I feel I would make an excellent addition to the Hartland team.”

Cover letters for the win!

Cover letters are a fantastic way to make your application stand out, but only if you take the time to do it right! For more help writing yours, check out our guide on how to write a cover letter or check out our post on keeping your cover letter to one page.

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