3 Great Ways to Start a Job Letter - dummies

3 Great Ways to Start a Job Letter

By Joyce Lain Kennedy

Get your job search letter started with a great opening to your introductory letter. You want to grab your reader’s attention right away so you don’t lose him from the get-go. Check out the following notable letter openers to get you started.

Drop names in a job letter

The best information to pop into your opening line is a known name. A personal referral works wonders. In this approach, you begin with the name of a mutual connection — someone whom the letter’s recipient likes or respects or, at least, has heard of. Name dropping virtually guarantees that your letter will be read.

Additionally, you can score points by identifying yourself as a member of an affinity group, such as the alumni of a college or member of a civic organization. Name is the game!

Define your wants in a job letter

In addition to dropping names, here’s another high-octane approach: Launch your letter with a clear statement of what you want, quickly followed by the qualifying benefits you offer that directly relate to the requirements the hiring company seeks. Or turn it around — lead with the skills and benefits you offer before saying what you want.

Tell a story in a job letter

Still another way to energize your opening: Create a narrative hook (. . . and the clocks were striking thirteen).

In the broadest sense, a narrative hook is a literary technique in the opening of a communication that “hooks” the reader’s attention to keep eyes scooting down the page or screen. It often is a thematic statement of who you are in the world of work: butcher, baker, or candlestick maker.

Here’s an example of a successful thematic opening hook for a woman who, after a two-year absence, wanted to return to her original career in the automotive industry:

Any claim that the grass is greener outside the auto-industry fence is a myth! At least, it is for me. After 20 years of rock-solid experience in our industry, a series of outside opportunities briefly tempted me to cast eyes elsewhere. But not for long.

My inner voice keeps shouting loud and clear that the auto side is where I belong, and that’s why I’m selectively contacting you. I hope you will see how adding me to your quality operation will be a big win for Stanford Motors.

Sell, don’t tell! Job search letters in today’s marketplace are really sales letters. Or they should be! Instead of whispering through an old-school letter of transmission — Please find my resume attached, Your Royal Honor — open your job search messages with a strategic bang!