Step 4: The Lead Line

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Time is money in the business world. You need to grab the employer right away with the first sentence of your letter.

The point of your lead line is to engage the hiring manager — make her sit up straight and think, "Ah, here's someone who has something to say!" If you can elicit that kind of response, you already have her wanting to meet you.

Here are some ideas for composing lead-in grabbers:

  • Mention the name of a personal contact whom your reader knows. For example:
  • "Blaine Powell recommended I speak with you about your opening for sales manager."

    "My former associate, Ellen Fairbanks, spoke so highly of Tannen & Associates that I decided to send you my resume."

  • Deliver a statement that begins a relationship with your reader. For instance:
  • "In your presentation at the International Food Conference last month, you spoke fondly of your apprenticeship under Chef Marseau. It is this type of mentorship that I now seek under someone such as you."

    "The Denver Chronicle reported last week that Franklin Insurance is branching out into Arizona. As an experienced sales rep in Phoenix, I am most interested in helping with your new venture."

More Sample Lead-ins
Coming up with the lead sentence for your cover letter is one of the toughest steps in writing a stellar cover letter. To help you think of an appropriate opener for your sales pitch, browse through the following lists (categorized in two levels: formal and less formal). Feel free to use any of these lines as is, mix and match more than one line, or just use them to get inspiration for your own effective approach.

Formal

"When I saw your job post for (such-and-such), I immediately went to your website to learn more."

"As an experienced (whatever professional), ..."

"I recently read about (something relevant to the company)."

"I saw you last fall at the (such-and-such) conference ..."

Less Formal
"Last year alone, x people did (such-and-such related to the company)."

"For the last x years I've been honing my skills in (such-and-such related to the job)."

"I know of (name of company) from many sources—always about your strong reputation."

"From the time I graduated college, I've wanted to work at (name of company or in such-and-such occupation)."

Cover Letter Template
50 Sample Cover Letters

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