The first sentence of a cover letter should be like the first sentence of a good book – it should make you want to read the whole thing. If you write a bum first sentence, chances are your cover letter is going to get a quick scan and then make its way into the garbage file. However, if you take the time to write a first line of a cover letter that says, “I’m here, I know what I’m doing, and darn it, you should hire me,” the hiring manager reading it will be much more likely to read it line by line and get to know you a little better. And that, my friends, is when you land an interview – when the person reading your cover letter and resume feels like they’ve gotten to know you a bit better and want to know more.
It’s the job of the cover letter to make the person want to read the resume. That’s it. The letter doesn’t get you the interview — that’s the resume’s job. But if your cover letter isn’t persuasive in a different way, your brilliantly crafted resume will never make it to the first pass. So, what makes a great cover letter?