When you apply for any job, the very first tool you will use to grab the attention of employers is your cover letter. (Yes, there are of course companies that are so big they don’t have time for cover letters. But plenty of hiring managers at small and mid-sized companies do read them, myself included.) A cover letter highlights the reasons you are the best person for the job and how you will benefit the company. It also demonstrates your ability to effectively communicate your objective. That’s why the opening lines of your cover letter are so important. You need to hook the employer so they want to continue reading and learn more about you.
There’s no one right way to open your cover letter, but there are a few techniques you can try to make your letter stand out. Here are five ways to write the opening lines of your next cover letter:
1. Job Title & Accomplishments. This is a very common and effective way to start out a cover letter. The idea is to get straight to the point and impress the employer with your background. Use your most impressive and most relevant accomplishment stories to explain your worth.
Example: As a social media coordinator for Company X, I manage many digital media outlets. By implementing new social media marketing tactics, in the past year, I have doubled our audience on Facebook and tripled our followers on Twitter.
2. Excitement Means Dedication. Another approach is to begin your letter by expressing your excitement for the job opportunity. If there’s a job or company you’re particularly enthusiastic about, it’s great to say so. When a potential employer sees you’re excited, this translates into how motivated and dedicated an employee you would be. This makes them want to find out if you’re as qualified as you are eager.
Example: I was excited to find an opening in human resources with Company Y because your work with y (be specific) has been important to me for a long time. I am the perfect candidate for this position because it combines my experience with human resources and y.
3. Keywords, Keywords, Keywords. When applying for a larger company where you know an applicant tracking system will be used, a smart idea is to make your opening lines keyword-heavy. The right keywords will make sure your cover letter gets read, and will immediately highlight many of your most relevant skills.
Example: Written and verbal communications are two of my strongest areas of expertise. Through my years of experience in public relations, I have perfected my skills in social media, media relations, community engagement, and leading a team. It is the combination of these skills that makes me the best candidate for your public relations manager.
4. Network Ties. If someone in your professional network is refers you to a position, company, or specific hiring manager, the best approach is to use this right away in your cover letter. Name-dropping your mutual contact will provide the employer with a point of reference to go from. They’ll be interested to see why your referrer thought you’d be a good fit for the job.
Example: My name is Jane Doe and recently I spoke to your communications coordinator John Smith, who informed me about the opening in your IT staff. He recommended I contact you about the job because of my strong interest in the field.
5. What’s in the News? Another unique option to impress employers is to demonstrate your knowledge of current events in your opening lines. Look for recent news about the company you’re applying for and tie it into the job opening. Explain why the news item makes you think you’d be best for the job.
Example: Recently, your company has been highlighted on The Huffington Post and Forbes because of your partnership with Charity Z. After reading those articles, I became inspired to seek employment opportunities with your company and was happy to see an opening for an administrative assistant. As someone with vast experience in that area, I would be the perfect candidate for the job.
With all of these options, it’s important to tailor your entire cover letter to your specific experience and each individual job description. A personalized cover letter is essential to prove your qualifications and will be more likely to result in an interview. Start making changes to your next cover letter.
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Teacher Cover Letter Example and Writing Tips
Are you applying for a job as a teacher? An outstanding cover letter can mean the difference between getting the interview and languishing in job search limbo.
Use your cover letter to highlight related experience and past achievements, tying your work history and accomplishments to the job description. You’re not trying to recreate your resume, here. The goal is to introduce yourself and showcase the skills and qualifications that make you stand out from the competition.
Whether you’re fresh out of college or an experienced teacher, these tips and cover letter example will help you convince the hiring committee that you’re the best candidate for the job.
How to Use a Cover Letter Example
A cover letter example helps you with the layout of your letter. Examples also show you what elements you need to include in your letter, such as introductions and body paragraphs.
Along with helping with your layout, cover letter examples can show you what kind of content you should include in your document, and what type of language to use. For example, a sample might show you the action words you should include in your own cover letter.
Use a cover letter example as a guide to your own letter, but do not simply the text in the example. You should tailor your cover letter to fit your own work history, and the job for which you are applying.
Tips for Writing a Cover Letter for a Teaching Job
Emphasize your achievements. Include examples of your accomplishments in past jobs as a teacher.
For example, if your students earned high state test scores, or if you received a teaching award, mention these successes.
Mention any training or certifications. Many teaching jobs have specific training and certification requirements. Use your cover to demonstrate that you have what’s required for the job.
Include related work outside the classroom. If you have non-teaching work or volunteer experience that involves working with children, you can highlight this in your cover letter as well. You especially might want to do this if you have limited teaching experience.
Customize your cover letter. Be sure to tailor each cover letter to fit the specific school and job listing. One way to do this is to research the school, and mention why you think you’d be a good fit for that specific school.
Take your time. Many job seekers treat cover letters like an afterthought, but these letters are so much more than a cover sheet for your application. A boring, slapdash letter won’t help your candidacy, and it could hurt your chances. Quality is also important: a cover letter filled with typos and silly grammatical errors will not inspire the hiring committee to give you a call.
Cover Letter Example for a Teacher
87 Washington Street
Smithfield, CA 08055
Mr. John Doe
Smithfield Elementary School
Smithfield, CA 08055
Dear Mr. Doe,
I am interested in applying for an elementary-level teaching position in your school district. As a 20XX graduate of XXX College, I have student teaching experience on the third- fourth-, and sixth-grade level, in both suburban and urban school districts.
I believe my teaching experience and passion for community engagement make me an ideal candidate for a teaching position at your school.
I have experience teaching elementary-level students in a variety of settings. I am currently teaching third-grade children at an inner-city charter school. As a former education coordinator at a local museum, I also have experience teaching fourth-grade students in a small suburban school system. Your school emphasizes its unique position as a school that caters to both inner-city and suburban students, so I think my varied experiences would make me an asset to your program.
Your school also strives to engage students in the larger community. I have lots of experience incorporating community service projects into my classrooms. For example, as a student teacher, I led a unit for third-graders on plant life, and we volunteered at a local community garden.
I would love to find ways to integrate service learning into my lesson plans.
It is my goal to combine my range of experience with my ability to be a compassionate, enthusiastic, intelligent teacher who will make a positive contribution to your school district and larger community. I would welcome an interview and hope to hear from you at your earliest convenience.
Signature (hard copy letter)
Read More:Teacher Resume Examples | More Sample Cover Letters