Executive Cover Letter Writing Guide

You may have written a cover letter before, but an executive cover letter needs something really special. It can't be "a standard cover letter" that just tells a prospective employer you would like a job interview because these types of jobs are very high profile, because they have lots of competitors, and you're going to have to stand out from the crowd. This means your cover letter have to be absolutely flawless.


Don't simply send a cover letter that's grammatically incorrect, boring, or otherwise simply "average" to substandard. Would you go to an interview in faded jeans, a dirty T-shirt, and tennis shoes? Why not? Answer that question, and you know why your cover letter needs to be perfect as it's your "first impression," the one you present to the prospective employer.


Why should your letter be different?

For one thing, you're not just applying to a fast-food job. Many more people will be reading your letter than usual They're going to be screening out unsuitable candidates before they handpick the best ones to interview. This means that many people in the company, from HR to the VP or maybe even the CEO is going to read your cover letter (and your resume), too.


Because highly ranked employees in the company are going to be reading your cover letter, it has to be unique and be much better than your standard cover letter. Your cover letter has to be much more sophisticated than the average cover letter.


However, it doesn't mean using overblown, tortuous, extravagant, pretentious language that will simply make you look insecure and downright foolish. Instead, straightforward, concise language that gets to the point and then ends rapidly and cleanly is best. Remember that this is going to be the first impression they have of you, so you want it to showcase the best of you.


You wan to show that you are willing to take responsibility, that you are efficient, bright, that you work well with people, and that you're easy to work with. Most importantly, you want to show that you are a problem solver, because that's why companies hire executives. You have to solve some kind of business problem that the company is facing, and you have to show them that you can fix it. You do this by showing how you fixed other similar situations.


Finally, make sure the employers who are going to be reading your letter understand that you have a "can-do" attitude and that you really enjoy the type of work you are applying for. After all, executives put in a lot of time on the job, so you have to show that you're up to it.


One last thing. Close your executive resume cover letter with a directive that tells the reader what he or she should do to facilitate the hiring process. Something like "I look forward to hearing from you so that we can discuss this position further. Please call me at [number] at your convenience, to set up a time to do so." Then, sign off with "Best Regards," and your name. That's it. That's a cover letter that should certainly get your foot in the door, and show that you're ready for the job.


Gail Esparan