16 attention grabbing ways to start your cover letter

Susanna Kahr

No matter how qualified you are, you won’t be able to secure a job (or even an interview) if your cover letter doesn’t attract attention. Employers get dozens, sometimes hundreds of email and paper submissions for desirable jobs, so your cover letter is your best chance of grabbing attention and getting an interview. Use one or more of the tips below to make your cover letter shine and stand out in even a crowded marketplace.

16 ways to grab attention from the start

You’ll be more likely to resonate and make a connection with your reader if you highlight something you likely have in common. Choose one of these examples for your next cover letter if you have something of interest to share:


1. Offer your hit list: If you are amazing, then the details of your awesomeness need to be included in the very first paragraph. “As the winner of the 2018 (recognizable award name here), I am fully immersed in the (industry name)…

2. Showcase an impressive employer “In my work as a Project Manager for Big Name Brand X, I list your most important responsibilities here

3. Make a match: If you have a specific name to send your cover letter to – and don’t mind doing a little research – then mentioning a commonality is a great way to start.  “I was thrilled to see a post by a fellow Clemson grad, I still proudly wear the orange!”

4. Mention a mentor: I ran into Bob Smith last month at LOCATION, and he mentioned you might be looking for help with your social media management. I’d love to chat a bit and hear about your goals and needs; you can see a sample of my experience and background in the attached.

5. Complement the brand: I was thrilled to see an opening at XYZ – I’ve followed you since you were in the office in LOCATION and have been amazed at the growth you’ve achieved.

6. Mention an accomplishment of theirs: Congratulations on your recent launch! The PRODUCT NAME looks truly amazing and I love the way it helps pet owners keep their furry pals safe. You’ve been generating an impressive amount of press here in TOWN and I am excited to learn more about your opportunities.

7. Use keywords: If your cover letter is a digital one, then it is searchable by keyword. Incorporate the most important keyword (usually the job title or main duty) into your opening statement to make sure your letter pops up when searched. If your prospective employer is looking for front desk help, then the words “front desk” need to be in your first sentence (and the subject line of your email, too).

8. Newsworthy events: News that impacts your industry is a powerful starting point – “The recent FMCSA updates are impacting brands with mid-large size fleets; I hope your team has had an easy time with the upgrade process.

9. Industry events: Mention an important recent industry event: “Last week at the IAAPA conference, I was amazed to see so much focus on (area of interest) – it’s great to see support roles like this get the recognition they deserve. In my time as a JOB in the industry, I’ve seen many positive changes, but this recent focus is one of the best things to happen in quite a while:

10. Networking, if you’ve been in touch: “It was great to see you at RECENT EVENT! Thank you for the heads’ up on this job opening, I was thrilled to hear you had some fresh opportunities.

11. Networking, if you have not been in touch: “I really enjoyed your talk on SUBJECT at the recent Chamber of Commerce meeting! I never realized that KEY POINT was so important to the community and appreciate the additional information.

12. Former employee connection: I ran into John Smith this weekend at PLACE – he mentioned you might be looking for some help with JOB DUTIES and thought my skills might be a good match…”

13. Since the launch of the “adopt a cat” campaign last month, the XYZ shelter has seen an adoption increase of 40% over the same month last year. Running this campaign has been incredibly rewarding and made a true difference for our community.

14. Offer specifics:  As the leading salesperson for XYZ, I’ve found that the relationships I’ve built with clients and prospects is the key to breaking sales records and boosting company revenues. My focus on engagement and relationships has revolutionized the way XYChandles warm leads – and our Q3 sales numbers are a solid 32 percent over last year.

15. Offer enthusiasm: “I’ve loved and used XYZ markers since I was 9 years old; over two decades later, your PRODUCT NAME is still my go to brand for illustration work….”

16. Share a belief: As a longtime middle school teacher, I believe that every child has potential just waiting to be unlocked – and that the key to success lies in a welcoming, safe classroom.”


Before you send out your next application or inquiry, review the options above to ensure you’ve done everything you can to write a dynamic and attention getting cover letter. You’ll get more interviews — and be more likely to land the job you want when you start strong right from the beginning.



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