Executive Cover Letter Guide

by fred 3. February 2010

You may have prepared a cover letter before, but an executive cover letter needs something really special. It cannot be "a standard cover letter" that simply tells a prospective employer you want an interview because these types of jobs are in high demand, because there is a lot of competition, and you're going to have to stand out from the crowd. This means your cover letter have to be absolutely flawless.

Don't just send a cover letter that's grammatically incorrect, boring, or otherwise simply "average" to substandard. Would you appear for an interview in old jeans, a dirty T-shirt, and tennis shoes? Why not? Answer that question, and you know why your cover letter - and executive resume writing - have to be flawless as it's your "first impression," the one you present to the recruiter.

Why should your letter be different? For one thing, you're not just applying for any old job. Many more people will be reading your letter than would normally happen with "just any old job." They're going to be screening out unsuitable candidates before choosing the very best to interview. This means that several 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 people 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 refined than the average cover letter.

However, it doesn't mean using exaggerated, tortuous, flowery, "show off" language that will simply make you look insecure and idiotic. Instead, easy, brief language that gets to the point and then ends rapidly and cleanly is better. Remember that this is going to be the first impression they have of you, so you want it to show your best.

You wan to show that you are willing to take responsibility, that you are effective, 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 the reason companies hire executives. You have to solve some sort of business issue that the company is facing, and you have to show them that you can fix it. You do this by showing how you handled other similar situations.

Finally, make sure the people 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 spend a lot of time on the job, so you have to show that you're up to it.

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

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