Wondering whether you should write an executive cover letter when applying for your next leadership position? You may have heard that some recruiters and hiring personnel skip over the cover letter and get right to the resume.
It is true; some do. But others will dig in and read the cover letter – looking for additional info or clues of your leadership style, personality, and related business expertise.
Because there is no way to know if the person with their hands on your application will be expecting a cover letter, it’s best to play it safe and include one.
A Well Written Executive Cover-Letter Sets You Apart
When applying for a competitive executive position, you want to jump on every chance to set yourself apart from other top contenders. Including a unique, cleverly crafted cover letter helps you stand out! That one slight difference may be what pushes you ahead of other applicants.
Including a well-written cover letter alongside a stand-out executive resume is just one more tool to include in your job search toolbox.
Use the document to grab attention, make a connection, and position yourself as the perfect fit for the role. Don’t simply write a cover letter that reiterates the info on your resume. Seize the opportunity to display the overarching leadership value you have to offer. What problems can you help this company solve? How can you take the helm and direct a team or operations toward success?
Questions to Answer Before You Write A Cover Letter:
- Why are you pursuing this company?
- What is it about this position that would be a good fit for you?
- What’s your value proposition?
- How do you stand out among other candidates?
- How can you hit on a specific pain point this company has and show you can solve it?
- What does this company need from me?
- How can I make a difference here?
Executive Cover Letter Best Practices
Short and sweet
When you write your cover letter, aim for about 250 words. Be clear and concise to get your point across as quickly as possible. If someone takes the time to read the letter, you want to make it easy for them to scan and absorb.
Work hard on your opening line. How can you grab the attention of the person reading your resume? Replace lines such as “I have enclosed my resume for your consideration…” with “Are you looking for an inclusive leader ready to guide staff to _____?” . Customize the opening toward the needs of the reader.
Build your brand
Paint a picture of your personal brand – how do you want people to see you? How have the experiences, education, and work history made you into the executive you are today? Share with the reader how you are unique and the solution that they seek.
Add a little personality to your cover letter. Consider how you would fit into the culture. For example, “I admire your _____ policy and would incorporate it into a plan to _______.” Aim to show the person behind the accomplishments but still tie it to role requirements.
Focus on Benefits
When you write your cover letter, tie every point to a benefit for the company. Bring it all together and highlight how your experience and accomplishments relate to the organization’s goals.
Make it scannable
Break up large blocks of text- because if reading the letter looks like work it can overwhelm your reader. Use shorter sentences and white space to make it easy to skim and scan.
Consider creating bullet points of select major accomplishments or key points to help important content pop off the page. Draw attention to keywords and requirements specific to the job.
Sharing specific metrics helps to demonstrate value quickly. The human eye processes numbers faster than words. Numbers speak volumes and help cover letter readers see the size and scope of your previous experience. Share specifics, not generalities in the letter.
Once you write an executive cover letter that builds your brand, keep it as a template, and adjust it to each position you are applying for. Your cover letter should grab attention, make a connection, and give you a boost over your competition.
If you need help crafting that executive cover letter for top positions, reach out to discuss.