Friday, October 28, 2005

Cover letters: sample introductory paragraphs

Yesterday’s blog on cover letter guidelines—helpful in a general sense, right? But you may still be puzzling over ways to jump into that first paragraph. How do you start when you don’t know what to say?

To answer that question, I’ve included a number of alternative first paragraphs excerpted from
Cover Letter Magic, hopefully enough to get you started.

(Warning: long blog to follow. I’m not endorsing any of these intros. But they all contain great value-added wording. None of these introductory paragraphs approaches the employer with “what’s in it for me” language.)

Version 1:
Where do you look for the person who does the “nitty-gritty” work to build Topline’s future success? Where is the person who frees senior decision-makers for the work only they can do? If you need those profit-enhancing capabilities, I would like to join your team as your newest, entry-level project analyst.

Version 2:
In June I will graduate from XXX University with a degree in Business Economics. My willingness to work hard is evident from the fact that I hold part-time professional positions concurrent with my studies. These experiences have enabled me to gain a realistic view of the demands and challenges of the business world.

Version 3:
Ms. Jane Smith, a current employee, suggested that I contact you to discuss the contribution I could make to your company in an internship this summer. I am currently a student at X University and am eager to begin my professional design career. Unlike many of my peers whose only experience is academic, I offer not only strong educational credentials, but also practical, “hands-on” experience.

Version 4:
If Foremost Insurance needs customer service representatives who thrive on challenge and change and look forward to new opportunities to build customer relationships daily, please consider me a prime candidate.


Version 5:
It is with great interest that I respond to your job posting for the News Editor Controller position. I believe I have the qualifications and enthusiasm you are seeking.

Version 6:
With innate reading/proofreading ability and demonstrated skills in editing grammatical, typographical and composition errors, I am actively seeking a challenging freelance reader/proofreader/editor position. My work has been recognized for its sophistication and rhetorical clarity. Highlighted qualifications and contributions I would bring to your organization include the following (bulleted list to follow)....

Though you may not feel comfortable with the phrasing in each paragraph, they will hopefully have sparked a few creative juices. And for more on cover letter writing and other helpful information, check our department’s handouts page.

Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 10/28 at 10:35 AM
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