The opening sentence of your cover letter is the first impression a potential new employer will have of you. In other words, if your opening sentence is cliche, boring and unexciting, you will come across that way. So the opening sentence is imperative. It can cause a recruiter or employer to drop out, or it can be a trigger that makes the reader want to read on.
What boring opening lines should you avoid in your cover letter?
Important side note about the opening sentence
Yes, we recommend that you don’t start with a boring cliché opening line, but that doesn’t mean you should go straight to the other end of the spectrum. A boring opening sentence is still better than a jolly one that completely misses the point.
Also, check the company you are applying to. If you see middle-aged gray men in suits on the company’s “about us” page, you’d better get away with a standard opening line than a young start-up.
Boring and cliché opening sentences
“As a result of your vacancy…”
Yay. Since 99 percent of cover letters (okay, maybe that’s hyperbole, but you know what we mean) start like this, if you don’t start your letter that way, you’ll immediately stand out.
“My name is…”
Not an interesting entry. We understand that you want to introduce yourself, but they can already find your name in tons of other places – in the mail, at the bottom of your letter, etc. Instead of telling who you are, it is much better to clarify why you are the right person for the job.
“I would like to apply for the position of… The description of the work and the company appealed to me”
Pretty sure that the job and the company appeal to you; otherwise, you wouldn’t apply. This does not distinguish you from the other applicants. Again: make it clear why they should invite you for an interview, not the dozens of other applicants who have also sent a letter.
“On [vacancy website] I saw that you are looking for [position]
It does not matter to the employer which job website you found the vacancy on. Plus, you can clarify the specific position you’re applying for in more innovative ways.
“As a [position] with [x] years of experience”
We understand you want to make it clear that you have experience, but you can do this in a much more interesting way. Explain why that experience makes you the right person for the job. For example, instead say, “As a [position] for [company], I have [special achievement]. I want to achieve the same results for you.”
This particular achievement can be anything and depends on the industry you work in. Maybe you’ve doubled customer satisfaction, found a way to save the company money, formed great partnerships, or quadrupled your readership. Try to use numbers whenever possible.
In the future, think a little longer about the opening sentence of your cover letter and try to get the reader’s attention creatively. Here are five tips to get noticed with your first sentence. However, we would like to emphasize once again that you should not go overboard with this either.