How To Start A Cover Letter – A Beginner’s Guide

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How to start a cover letter

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Did you all know that, on average, a hiring manager spends only about six seconds looking at a resume before deciding whether it’s worth a closer look? Yep – six seconds is all it takes! In today’s ultra-competitive job market, those precious moments can make or break your chances of snagging up your dream job. It’s a harsh reality but also an opportunity waiting to be seized. And that’s where we come in.

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on, “How to start a cover letter”, where we understand the intricacies of crafting a standout resume and cover letter for startups. We totally understand that a traditional approach won’t cut it anymore. To grab the attention of hiring managers in those six seconds, you need something different, something attention-grabbing, something like a 4-sentence cover letter that leaves a lasting impression.

In this blog, we’ll not only share the secrets of creating a quick cover letter that stands out but also explore some amusing cover letter examples to inject a bit of personality into your application. Whether you’re considering a job out of state or eyeing opportunities in the startup world, our letter of introduction for a job can be your ticket to a stable life.

What’s a Cover Letter Anyway?

Before you learn how to write one – you must first understand the “what and why” behind a cover letter:

The "What"

A cover letter is like the opening act of your job application – it’s your chance to introduce yourself before the main event, which is your resume. It’s typically a one-page document that accompanies your resume and provides a glimpse into who you are beyond your qualifications. Think of it as your opportunity to tell your story, showcase your personality, and explain why you’re the perfect fit for the job.

The "Why"

Now, let’s dive into why job seekers should pay attention to recruiter cover letters. In a world dominated by hashtags and emoji-laden texts, the idea of crafting a formal letter may seem a bit outdated. However, cover letters are far from obsolete, and here’s why they matter:

Cover letters allow you to express your unique personality and personal brand. In an age where individuality is celebrated, this is your chance to stand out. You can share your passions, values, and aspirations, giving employers a glimpse into the real you.

Our generation is known for valuing authenticity and meaningful connections. A well-crafted cover letter tells your story, explaining how your experiences have shaped you and why you’re excited about the job. It’s a chance to connect on a deeper level with potential employers.

Beyond your resumes’ bullet points, a cover letter lets you highlight specific skills and experiences that make you a great fit for the position. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate how your skills align with the company’s needs.

While we live in a digital age, professionalism remains essential. A thoughtfully written cover letter shows your respect for the application process and your potential employer. It’s a demonstration of your communication skills in a professional context.

Many applicants skip the cover letter, assuming it’s optional. By taking the time to craft one, you automatically set yourself apart from the competition. It shows that you’re willing to go the extra mile and invest in your job application.

In a nutshell, a cover letter is your chance to leave a memorable impression and showcase your personality, skills, and enthusiasm for the job.

How To Start a Cover Letter – A Beginner’s Step-By-Step Guide

Read one of the best guide for starting a cover letter that can help you in landing a lob. Happy Reading:

Step 1: Greet Your Potential Employer Like You're Meeting a Friend

Starting your cover letter with a warm and friendly greeting is akin to extending a hand for a handshake. Imagine walking into a job interview and the hiring manager welcomes you with a smile – that’s the vibe you want to create. If you can find the hiring manager’s name, it’s like saying, 

“Hi [Name], nice to meet you!” It shows you’ve done your homework and care about the details. If you can’t find a name, a simple “Dear Hiring Manager” is a friendly and acceptable way to begin.

Step 2: Nail Your Opening Line with a Hook

Consider this your chance to grab your reader’s attention, much like starting a conversation with an exciting story. Think of something that sets the tone for your cover letter – perhaps you stumbled upon a fascinating company project or have a quirky connection to the industry. Share it! For instance, “As a lifelong tech enthusiast, I couldn’t help but get excited about the innovative work happening at [Company Name]. It’s like a playground for my passion!”

Step 3: State Your Intentions Clearly

Now that you’ve engaged your reader let’s get down to business. Just like you would tell your friend why you’re calling them, state why you’re writing this cover letter. It’s all about clarity. 

For example, “I’m writing to express my interest in the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. I’ve been following your company’s journey for a while, and I’m eager to join the adventure.”

Step 4: Show Why You're the Perfect Fit

This is your opportunity to shine by highlighting your skills and experiences. Imagine you’re at a dinner party, and someone asks, “So, what do you bring to the table?” You’d respond by mentioning your unique qualities, right? Do the same here. 

Be specific and link your skills to the job requirements. For instance, “With a strong background in digital marketing and a knack for data analysis, I’m confident in my ability to drive results in the fast-paced world of [Industry].”

Step 5: Add a Dash of Enthusiasm and Personality

Now, let’s add some flavor to your cover letter. Think of this as sharing your passion and interests with a friend. Explain why you’re excited about the role or the company. Maybe you love their products, admire their commitment to social responsibility, or share their vision for the future. 

Make it relatable and heartfelt. Show your future employer that you’re more than just a resume; you’re a person with values and aspirations.

Step 6: Transition Smoothly to the Body of Your Cover Letter

Make a smooth transition into the body of your cover letter. You’ve introduced yourself, expressed your interest, and highlighted your qualifications. Now, your reader is eager to learn more about you. It’s time to provide the details that support your claims and make a compelling case for why you’re the ideal candidate.

Step 7: Address the Company's Needs

Imagine your friend mentioning their challenges or needs, and you offer a solution – that’s what you should do here. Take a moment to empathize with the company’s needs and objectives. Show that you’ve done your homework by mentioning specific projects, products, or recent achievements. 

This demonstrates that you’re genuinely interested in their success. For example, “I noticed your recent expansion into [specific market], and I’m excited about the opportunity to contribute to the continued growth in this area.”

Step 8: Connect Your Journey to the Company's Mission

Think of this step as sharing a part of your personal journey with your friend and explaining how it aligns with their interests. Relate your experiences, values, and career goals to the company’s mission and culture. Show that you’re not just seeking any job but that you genuinely believe in what the company stands for. 

For instance, “I’ve always been passionate about sustainability, and your company’s commitment to eco-friendly practices resonates deeply with me. I’m eager to be a part of a team that’s making a positive impact on the environment.”

Step 9: Express Your Eagerness to Learn and Grow

Imagine telling your friend that you’re not just there for fun but that you’re excited to learn and grow together. In your cover letter, convey your enthusiasm for personal and professional development. Express your eagerness to take on new challenges and contribute to the company’s growth. 

This shows that you’re not only an asset but also a willing collaborator in their journey. For example, “I’m excited about the possibility of working at [Company Name] because it offers an environment where I can continue to learn, grow, and make a meaningful impact.”

Step 10: Extend the Invitation for Further Conversation

Finally, close your cover letter like you would end a friendly chat – by extending an invitation for further conversation. Express your desire to meet in person or have a virtual conversation to discuss how you can contribute to the company’s success. This demonstrates your proactive approach and your genuine interest in moving the dialogue forward. 

For example, “I’d love the opportunity to discuss how my skills and experiences align with [Company Name]’s goals in more detail. Please feel free to reach out to schedule a conversation at your earliest convenience.”

In conclusion, starting a cover letter is like initiating a conversation with a friend who holds the keys to your dream job. It’s about building a connection, showcasing your enthusiasm, and demonstrating how you’re the perfect fit.

Best Cover Letter Opening Examples for Rookies

Here are some examples to give you an idea:

1. For a Startup Enthusiast

“I’m not your typical 9-to-5 job seeker, and neither is [Company Name]. As a passionate advocate for innovation and startups, I couldn’t help but be drawn to your dynamic culture. It’s not often you find a company that matches your energy, and I believe I’m the perfect fit to contribute to [Company Name]’s journey.”

2. The 4-Sentence Opener

“In just four sentences, I’m here to tell you why I’m the ideal candidate for [Job Title] at [Company Name]. With a proven track record in [relevant skill], a passion for [industry], and a knack for [key trait], I’m ready to hit the ground running and make an immediate impact.”

3. Injecting Humor with a Funny Twist

“Once upon a time, in a land filled with job applications, a brave and slightly quirky candidate named [Your Name] embarked on a quest to find the perfect job at [Company Name]. Armed with a resume that’s more interesting than your average bedtime story and a penchant for [relevant skill], I’m here to prove that job applications can indeed be fun.”

4. Out-of-State Opportunity

“Making a bold move from [Your Current Location] to [Target Company’s Location] might seem like a long-distance leap, but for the right opportunity, I’m ready to pack my stuff and hit the ground running. Your mission at [Company Name] speaks to me, and I’m eager to contribute to your success, no matter the miles between us.”

5. Recruiter's Attention-Grabber

“As a seasoned [Your Profession], I’ve seen my fair share of job applications. But when I stumbled upon the opportunity at [Company Name], something clicked. Your innovative approach to [industry] and the potential for growth caught my eye. I’m not just another applicant; I’m your future collaborator.”

6. Quick and to the Point for a Startup

“I’ll keep this short and sweet – I’m [Your Name], and I’m ready to dive into the fast-paced world of startups at [Company Name]. With my skills in [relevant skill] and a passion for [industry], I’m the quick cover letter writer you’ve been waiting for. Let’s get started!”

These examples demonstrate various approaches to creating an engaging cover letter opening. You can tailor them to your specific situation and personalize them further to make a lasting impression on potential employers.

How Long Should My Cover Letter Be?

When it comes to the length of a cover letter, the general rule of thumb is to keep it concise and to the point. In fact, a quick cover letter, such as a 4-sentence cover letter, is often preferred, especially in today’s fast-paced job market.

The goal of a cover letter is to grab the reader’s attention and entice them to review your resume in more detail. Long-winded cover letters can be overwhelming and may not achieve this objective effectively, particularly in the context of cover letters for startups where brevity and impact are valued.

However, it’s essential to strike the right balance. Your cover letter should be long enough to convey your qualifications, enthusiasm, and alignment with the company’s needs, especially if you’re writing a cover letter for a job out of state or for a recruiter who might be looking for specific details.

A typical cover letter should not exceed one page, and it should be structured to include a brief introduction, a section explaining why you’re a great fit for the job, and a closing statement inviting further discussion. It should use a professional tone and language while maintaining an engaging and relatable style, as demonstrated in the previous examples of funny cover letter examples and attention-grabbing cover letter openings.

In summary, the ideal length for a cover letter is concise yet long enough to effectively convey your qualifications and enthusiasm. Aim for brevity and clarity, and make every word count to capture the reader’s attention and leave a lasting impression.

Bonus Tips for Writing a Cover Letter

Here are some bonus tips for writing a cover letter, including some lesser-known insights:

Research the Company’s Tone: Beyond just researching the company’s mission and values, try to understand its tone and communication style. Mirror this tone in your cover letter to show cultural alignment.

Highlight Soft Skills: Don’t just focus on hard skills; emphasize your soft skills too. Employers often look for qualities like adaptability, communication, and teamwork, so weave these into your narrative.

Quantify Achievements: Whenever possible, use quantifiable metrics to demonstrate your achievements. Numbers grab attention and provide evidence of your impact.

Address Employment Gaps Positively: If you have employment gaps, explain them positively. Mention how you used the time to acquire new skills or volunteer work. Turn the gap into a strength.

Personalize Each Letter: Avoid generic cover letters. Tailor each one to the specific job and company. Mention the company’s name and the job title, and reference any recent news or achievements.

Use Power Words: Incorporate power words (e.g., achieved, exceeded, spearheaded) to make your accomplishments more compelling.

Consider a P.S.: After your signature, add a brief P.S. that reiterates your interest or emphasizes a key qualification. It’s often the most-read part of the letter.

Include a Call to Action: End your cover letter by inviting the reader to take action, such as scheduling an interview. It shows your proactive attitude.

Proofread with Fresh Eyes: Don’t just rely on spell-check. Ask your pal to read your cover letter to catch errors or unclear sentences you might have missed.

Use Keywords Strategically: Incorporate relevant keywords from the job posting into your cover letter. Many organizations employ applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan for these.

Match Your LinkedIn Profile: Ensure that the information on your LinkedIn profile aligns with your cover letter and resume. Consistency is key.

Show Enthusiasm for Learning: Emphasize your willingness and enthusiasm for learning and professional development. This is particularly important in industries that are rapidly evolving.

Drop the “To Whom It May Concern”: Whenever possible, aim your cover letter to a specific individual. It shows you’ve done your homework and adds a personal touch.

Be Mindful of Length: While brevity is essential, don’t make your cover letter too short. A bare-bones letter can come across as disinterested. Strike a balance between conciseness and substance.

Tell a Story: Weave a narrative throughout your cover letter. Share anecdotes or experiences that illustrate your qualifications and passion for the role.

Wrapping It Up

In today’s fiercely competitive job market, the journey from submitting a job application to landing your dream job is nothing short of an adventure. Crafting a cover letter and resume that truly stand out has become an art form, demanding a delicate blend of skill, personality, and precision. As we’ve explored the ins and outs of creating an attention-grabbing cover letter in this blog, it’s evident that mastering this art isn’t a walk in the park.

In the quest for your next big career challenge, consider the value of professional resume writing services. They’re more than just wordsmiths; they’re your partners in the journey to securing your dream job. So, as you embark on your job application adventure, remember that sometimes, a helping hand can be the secret to your success.

Quick Questions

  • They provide context for your resume.
  • They showcase your personality and enthusiasm.
  • They demonstrate your alignment with the company’s needs.

“I am confident that my skills and experience make me a perfect fit for this role.”

  • It helps you introduce yourself and stand out in a competitive job market.
  • It allows you to explain your passion and potential, compensating for limited experience.
  • It shows your effort to go the extra mile in your job search.
  • Use your name or job title sparingly.
  • Begin sentences with action verbs to emphasize your achievements.
  • Focus on the company and role, using phrases like “Your organization” or “This opportunity.”
  • Express genuine enthusiasm for the company and role.
  • Mention specific aspects of the job or company that excite you.
  • Use positive and energetic language throughout.
  • Begin with a compelling hook, such as a relevant anecdote or a strong statement.
  • Address the hiring manager by name, if possible.
  • Mention the position you’re applying for and express your interest.
  • Summarize your key qualifications and enthusiasm for the role.
  • Invite further discussion or an interview.
  • Use a courteous and professional closing, such as “Sincerely” or “Best regards.”
Roxen Smith

Roxen Smith

Roxen Smith is a certified professional resume writer and is well-versed in the latest industry standards and trends. She is a highly skilled and experienced resume and cover letter writing expert with over ten years of experience in the field. At Finest Resume Writing Services, she has a proven track record of helping job seekers land their dream jobs by crafting compelling resumes that showcase their strengths and qualifications.

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