Great cover letters: sample opening lines

Jun 14th, 2009 | By | Category: Advice, The Package

* Killer cover letters
* How to write catchy application essays
* Objective lines seldom make a resume better

By JOE GRIMM

Looking for a few good cover letters? You won’t find them here. The JobsPage is into strategies, not shortcuts, and we wouldn’t insult you with generic copy. If you want to download free cover letters, go to another site or get one of the jillion cover letter books at the library or bookstore.

A great cover letter is authentic and authenticity starts with originality.

This article is about some bad and great cover letter opening lines. Use them to get your creative juices going, then go write your own cover letter. In truth, we aren’t spilling the very best opening lines we’ve seen out of respect and awe for their creators.

As you look at these lines, also think of combining two into a layered approach. Hedge your bets by opening with a straightforward line that tells editors what position you’re applying for, and following with a second line that shows flair. Here’s an example:

I am very interested in your business reporting job. My clips will show you that I’m made to handle it.

OK, here are some that caught our eye. Some are here because they’re simple and straight-ahead, others are here for being different. No guarantees. The letters that push the envelope and land you an interview with one media manager will land you in another’s recycle bin.

Short, sweet, no nonsense

In response to your ad, please find my resume and clips.

Please accept my application for a photo opening at the Free Press.

I am interested in the mobile journalist position you have open. My resume, clips and references are enclosed.

Please consider my application for your Web producer’s position.

Leading with your experience

I have 20 years experience writing and editing sports.

I am an award-winning reporter …

Arson, murder, rape, torture. These are …

My most valuable lesson in four years at the …

I have covered small-town politics in Texas, crime in Atlanta and environmental issues in New Jersey. I am ready for my next challenge.

Autobiographical

Persistence and patience are two things a reporter needs.

I love my job.

I am a small-town girl with my eyes set on the world.

Every valuable lesson I ever learned about reporting I learned in a taxi — from the front seat.

In my newsroom, they call me the grammar czar. I want to be your next editor.

They said it couldn’t be done, but I …

Sympathetic

It’s a pain in the neck, going through that stack of resumes.

You: Busy editor working late and staring at a growing mountain of job applications. Me: …

No fancy cover letter here. No custom-bound clips or professionally designed resume. Just good, solid …

Let me save you some trouble …

I’m sure the ad for a (job) at the (paper) unleashed a torrent of applications …

So many candidates, so little time. Let me help you cut through the clutter.

Confident

I would be an asset to your staff because …

I meet every one of the requirements in your job posting. (Bullet points follow.)

I saw your advertisements for both a features writer and an assignment editor. If the positions have yet to be filled, please consider the brief resume which accompanies this letter.

Brimming with Confidence

If you haven’t filled the sports writing position, look no further …

Look no further …

Let me save you some trouble …

Confidence gone crazy

You would be crazy not to hire me.

Punchy

You’d have to be crazy to hire me.

The competition hates me.

People watch what I do.

Anecdotal

You never know what you might learn when …

I have been yelled at, lied to, kicked out of meetings and threatened — all in the pursuit of journalism. What a great business.

Non-starters

Pursuant to our conversation … (English, please.)

I read with enthusiasm your classified advertisement ion JournalismJobs that that solicits applicants for community reporting positions. (Ditto.)

I am applying for an entry-level, general assignment reporter position. The reason I’m interested in working for your paper is I would like to move back to the area. (Better approach: Tell me how your knowledge of the area can benefit the newspaper. We hire people to make the newspaper better, not out of kindness. And don’t be that wordy.)

I recently spoke with a former professor of mine who sent me a list of various newspapers that are looking now, or in the future, to fill reporter positions. (Will your stories beat around the bush this way? Get to the point.)

I am John Doe and I writing to inquire about the sports reporter’s position which focuses on the coverage of State University athletics at the Sidewalk Scribe. (Ditto. It is not necessary to state the name of the paper you’re writing to — or your own — in your first sentence. These have been pretty much covered on the outside of the envelope.)

I am currently searching for a chance to enhance my skills as a reporter with another television station, and I am hoping that Action News can provide me with that opportunity. (Tell not what the company can do for you; tell what you can do for the company.)

I am a recent graduate … (Congratulations on your diploma, but weren’t you just sitting in a whole fieldhouse full of people who can say the same thing? What distinguishes you?)

With four years of reporting experience under my belt, … (Cliche alert!)

As a writer for a small daily who’s more than ready to move on to an unqualified metropolitan daily, I’m responding to your ad for reporters. (Yes, someone really wrote that.)

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3 Comments to “Great cover letters: sample opening lines”

  1. sean says:

    I love it when the editors respond with snide remarks. You make a good case though. Personally I hate writing cover letters. There’s too much conflicting info about them and too much riding on the act of writing a letter opposed to your actual qualifications. Eg. If you’re an excellent mechanic but you’re illiterate. You’ll never get a job even though you could be the bet tech on the planet, because you can verbalize your skills in cover letter format… total moving target.

  2. Bethany says:

    this has helped me so much with my homework thank you 🙂

  3. Jenna says:

    I find this very helpful, but would also be curious as to what comes next. What is the balance of how much personality to inject into your cover letter compared to how much experience you talk about. If you feel that you have experience with every bullet point in the job ad, how do you decide what is important?

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