how to start a cover letter

Hiring managers have to sift through hundreds of CVs and cover letters every day, after a while, they can all start to look the same.

If you want your CV and cover letter to stand out from the crowd you need to make sure they're unique and interesting. You might be wondering - what's the purpose of a cover letter and why is it important? Well, hiring managers tend to use cover letters to find out more about your personality.

Young scientists are great at filling their CV's up with experience and qualifications but they sometimes lack information about their character - that's where a good cover letter comes in!

Why is it important to grab their attention?

Cover letters aren't always the most important thing when it comes to job applications, in fact, if your CV is good enough, the hiring manager might not need to read your cover letter at all. That being said, if your CV isn't quite enough to secure you an interview, a strong covering letter might just clinch the deal.

Your cover letter should say something about your personality without coming across arrogant or gimmicky. Consider your cover letter as the employer's first impression of you. What do you want them to think about you and the way you work? 

Knowing how to start a cover letter is often the trickiest part. You need an opening line that grabs the reader's attention and leaves a lasting impression - otherwise, your application will simply merge in the hundreds of others they've read that day.

Tips for the start of your cover letter

Here are a few tips you can follow if you've got a bad case of writer's block and you need a bit of direction. 

  • Mention someone you know who works in the business

"I'm a friend of Jane Doe's and she advised me to contact you about this role because she thinks I'm a great fit."

  • Don't waffle, be direct

"What drew me to this position is the opportunity for personal growth and development."

  • Share how you're feeling about the job

"I've been passionate about (industry) for as long as I can remember, and I'd love an opportunity to show you what I can bring to the role."

  • Make sure you include relevant keywords

"During my time at (current company) I've developed strong presentation skills and I'm great and staying organised and working to deadlines."

What about the rest of my cover letter?

The rest of your cover letter should be written in an appropriate manner for the job, while still allowing parts of your personality to shine through.

You can use the main body of your cover letter to explain more details about your qualifications, to share insights into your hobbies and interests and to show the hiring manager exactly why you're a great fit for the role. We've created a CV and cover letter checklist to help guide you through your draft, you can take a look at them here:

CV and Cover Letter Checklists >

If you're interested in applying for professional science roles, we have a wide range of science vacancies available. We work tirelessly to help candidates like you find their dream roles. 

Contact the HRS Recruiters >