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What do I include in my introduction?

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"Writing Your Cover Letter" is a series of short documents that walks you through the creation of a cover letter. Here you can see the information in the "Quick Tips for Cover Letters" and "Preparing to Write a Cover Letter" pages put to use. This page guides you through adapting your experiences to the content in your cover letter and its different sections.

The introduction of your cover letter should begin with a greeting to a specific person ("Dear Ms. Kincaid"), followed by a statement of who you are and why you are writing (why you are a good candidate).

Please refer to the resource section "To Whom Do I Address My Letter" for more information about the greeting of a cover letter.

How to catch the attention of the reader.

As the purpose of your introduction is to catch the reader's attention and make you stand out, you need to be as specific as possible in this section. Here are some tips on how to start your introduction:

  • State the university you attend, your major, and what position you are applying for (if you are a student).
  • Mention where you heard about the job.
  • Mention the name of a professor or other contact who has a positive connection with the company.
  • Bring up any previous conversations you have had with your reader (i.e., at a job fair).

Some examples:

As a Purdue University junior in Electrical Engineering, I would like to fill the position of Engineering Internship advertised on General Electric's website.
Professor Gene Smith speaks highly of General Electric, and he urged me to write directly to you.
I have been thinking about our conversation at Purdue's Career Fair on January 26. I agree that a team spirit and strong work ethic are vital for success, and I believe I can bring these qualities to your company.

How to make a strong claim for yourself.

After gaining the initial attention of the reader, you must make a strong claim about your candidacy and that you match the needs of the job and the company. Clearly state two-three qualifications you have that match the company/position. These qualifications will then be the focus of your body paragraphs and arguments. Some examples:

I agree that a team spirit and strong work ethic are vital for success, and I believe I can bring these qualities to your company.
I believe that my production experience, design skills, and enthusiasm for writing make me a strong candidate for the Production/Design Internship.