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Drafting An Unforgettable Opening Line For Your Cover Letter

16 Apr

Picture via www.internqueen.comYour cover letter is probably one of the most important things that you send to a recruiter. Along with your resume, your cover letter is your first line of contact with a recruiter. It is the one shot you have to show the reader why they should read your resume and why they should consider you for the interview. I have drafted many cover letters over the years and have learned one thing: boring cover letters get you nowhere. Yes, cover letters and resumes are already somewhat boring, but why make it more boring than necessary?

I used to write general cover letters that I would send out to every single employer. The only thing I would change was the name of the employer and my goals depending upon what the employer seemed to be looking for. As can be imagined, I sent many cover letters and resumes that went unanswered. It wasn’t until I got creative and changed my opening line that I started receiving calls for interviews. My opening line went from the boring “I am writing to express my interest in the open Associate position at your firm” to “One month ago I closed my first million-dollar acquisition after only practicing law for one year.” Now you tell me, which line is most likely to get the recruiter’s attention?

The goal of a cover  letter should always be to wow the reader from the start. If the person sees that you have the boring “I am interested in the position line” they won’t want to keep reading. Just think about how many resumes an employer gets in one day. When trying to come up with an interesting opening line I tried thinking about my biggest career accomplishment to date.  I wrote out a list (a short list mind you) and tried drafting crafty opening lines with each accomplishment.

Now, some of you may be thinking that your career accomplishments don’t sound that exciting or maybe you feel a little uncomfortable talking yourself up. I am a firm believer in the power of words, and I know that if you can get creative you can make any experience sound exciting. For example, rather than saying “Last year I worked on an advertising campaign for a national company” say “Last year I was part of a team that single-handedly created a record-breaking advertising campaign for a national company that ran in more than forty states.” The goal is to talk yourself up and make yourself sound interesting and desirable. Here are a few more examples of good opening lines:

As an Editor for ABC Magazine I have increased customer satisfaction by 70% and nearly tripled the readership within one year.

Last year I lead a multi-national campaign that lead to an increase in donations for the ABC Non-Profit Organization and helped solve the hunger problems facing the children of Africa.

Would you like to reduce costs, increase productivity and build a happy team?

If you are seeking to add a results-proven, solidly credentialed manager to your team, then my resume will be of interest to you.

The goal is to write an opening line that will make the reader pay closer attention to your resume and accomplishments. There is nothing wrong with using your accomplishments and writing them in such a way that catches someone’s attention. Now, of course what you write on your cover letter MUST be true, but with the right use of words you can make anything sound interesting.

What is your opening line and have you found it to be effective in landing an interview?