What's on this Page?
How did you learn about the job?
The first paragraph of a cover letter should cover information about yourself and how you heard about the job. So if your cousin has worked there for 5 years and she told you about the job opening, now would be a great time to mention her. Having a friend or relative with their foot in the door is usually a selling point (unless, of course, your friend or relative is not a good employee and is causing problems at work. In that case, consider not mentioning your relationship with them… or consider not applying for a job working with them). If you found the job opening by looking through the newspaper ads, by searching on Monster.com, or any other means it is usually helpful for the employer to know how people are finding out about job openings.
A little about yourself
The first paragraph should also say a little about YOU. Reserve the personal stories and explanations for the second paragraph where you demonstrate why you are the perfect person for the job. Just talk briefly about your interest in the specific position and your qualifications for it. The opening paragraph should be interesting, but brief. The real meat of the cover letter will be in the second paragraph.
The paragraph from the sample cover letter
Let me give an example from a sample cover letter:
I saw on your website that Kaiser Permanente is offering a part-time job for a Dental Hygienist. I am a highly qualified Dental Hygienist and have several years of experience working in a private practice setting. My husband, John Doe, has worked at Kaiser for the last 4 years as an ultrasound technician. He has enjoyed his time at Kaiser and has recommended Kaiser to me as an excellent employer.
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Top of Page (Opening paragraph with sample cover letter paragraph)