An army of cover letters and attached resumes confronts many hiring officials each time they bravely check their incoming mail. If you want your cover letter to stand out from the ranks, an effective grabber sentence is a must. If you fail to capture your reader’s attention in this initial sentence, she may cast your cover letter off without a second thought. If you succeed in capturing her interest, however, your cover letter may just avoid the refuse bin and land you a spot on the list of candidates to interview.
Major Selling Points
If you have exceptionally impressive credentials, the likes of which most cannot boast, lead with them. Emphasize your appropriateness as a candidate in your grabber sentence by listing your most impressive credentials, ensuring they don’t get lost. Rather than leaving these accomplishments buried in the bottom of a resume, highlight them notably in your cover letter to ensure they stand out. One example: “As the 2011 winner of the Young Professionals in Art award, I possess a defined design aesthetic and competency in computer-aided design tools, both of which I would happily put to work as an employee of your company.”
Living by a philosophy that mirrors one outlined in the company's mission statement makes you an ideal candidate for an open position. If one of your personal guiding principles reflects a value the company holds dear, make this alignment clear in your grabber sentence. Write a sentence or two which concisely and unequivocally parallels your own philosophy. Say, for example, “Teamwork, above all, is vital for success. Because I believe this so strongly, I am eager to gain employment with your company, where I know teamwork is the decision making style of choice.”
Do you know someone in a position of power at the company for which you are applying? If so, use this connection as a key element in your grabber sentence. Don’t come right out and say, “I know your CEO, give me a job. Please?” Instead, incorporate the name drop into a compliment of the company. For instance, say, “With my degree in architecture complete, I would love nothing more than to work for this unparalleled firm which Alan Smith, a family friend, has highly recommended.”
Highlighting any experience you have with the company -- if such experience exists -- is an effective way to set yourself apart. Though this experience will undoubtedly be listed on your resume, don’t make the mistake of assuming the hiring official will even get to the point of inspecting this document. Hit them over the head with your experience by mentioning it, sentence one. Start with, “The five weeks I spent as a summer intern for your company opened my eyes to the world of business and irrevocably shaped the professional I am today. The impact of this experience was so positive and lasting that nothing would satisfy me more than joining your team in an official capacity.”
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.