“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
This is especially true when it comes to the cover letter. It is common wisdom in the field of literature that if you haven’t captured your reader within the first page, it’s over; likewise, if a Hollywood producer isn’t hooked into a screenplay by the third scene, it’s going into the trash.
In the case of a cover letter, a strong opening is even more important. If the initial paragraph is dull and generic, the busy person responsible for screening such correspondence is certainly going to place your letter into the shredder.
Here Are Examples on How to Grab Their Attention – Fast
Now, a cover letter is not a screenplay, a novel, or even a short story. It’s a sales presentation and a short one at that. Your purpose is to get your prospect – the potential employer – to get excited about the product – you – right away.
Dear Mr. Loman:
I am writing regarding a job on your sales
team. I understand that significant growth in
demand for your product is projected, and
look forward to discussing how my experience
in product marketing can facilitate its delivery to
to largest number of consumers…
Right away, this applicant has told Mr. Loman that she is a sales professional with experience and market connections who want to join his company’s sales staff. Contrast this opening paragraph with the following one:
Dear Mr. Loman:
I am in sales and seeking a job with
any company that may have use for my
specific skill set…
Chances are that Mr. Loman is going to be a bit more impressed with the first applicant than he is the second.
The first applicant says straight away that she wants to work for him. The second one, however, is just looking for any job he can get.
Note also how the first applicant ended that first paragraph. She refers to her “experience” and how it can “facilitate” the delivery of Mr. Loman’s product to the “largest number of consumers.” On the other hand, the second applicant simply makes reference to his (unspecified) “skill set.”
No doubt, Mr. Loman is going to be very interested in learning more about what the first applicant’s experience consists of and how it will help solve his problem.