An effective, well-crafted cover letter is much like the academic essays you wrote in high school and/or college. There is a set number of paragraphs, each of which serves a specific purpose.
The most important paragraph of the cover letter is naturally the first one; if the first paragraph does not pass muster in short order, chances are that the rest of the letter will not even get read.
What The Cover Letter Intro Paragraph is About
Just as you present your thesis in the first paragraph of an academic essay or term paper, so too do you present yourself in the initial paragraph of a cover letter. Here is where you provide a picture of who you are.
This information should include:
some identifying information
your purpose in writing
what kind of job you are seeking (if not responding to a posting)
anything you know about the company and its current needs
a brief description of your qualifications
Here are examples to start your cover letters:
“Please accept this letter as indicative of my intention
to apply for the job of…”
“I am a trained ___________, and am taking time to
write regarding the possibility of joining your firm as
“As a recent graduate of the Potrezebie Institute of
_________, I am writing to inquire about openings
your company may have for an expert _________…”
“I am taking the time to write regarding your
company’s announcement of an opening for
“I am a qualified ___________ who has recently
heard about your opening, and am contacting you
for the purpose of applying…”
Note that these are all formal in to and immediately tell the reader exactly who the writer is and his/her purpose for making contact – specifically, the job for which the applicant is applying.
The next sentence should indicate that you have taken the time to learn something about the company and its current needs.
“I understand that your company is now heading into
a period of rapid growth…”
“It is my understanding that _________, Inc. is
currently in need of a qualified _________…”
“I have learned that ____________,Inc. is
anticipating increased demand for its flagship
Because the cover letter is such a compact form of writing in which it is necessary to get the maximum amount of information across with the fewest number of words, you’ll find these two sentences are enough to introduce yourself, your purpose, and your knowledge of the company and its current needs. The third sentence then should give no more than a very brief reference to your qualifications.
Do not be overly concerned about this; you’ll be expanding on this topic in a later paragraph.