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How to write an executive cover letter

You may have prepared a cover letter before, but an executive resume cover letter requires something really special. It can’t be “just another cover letter” that simply tells a prospective employer you would like a job interview because these jobs are very high profile, because there is a lot of competition, and you’re going to have to stand out from the crowd. And that means your cover letter must be absolutely flawless.

Don’t just send a cover letter that’s not grammatically correct, boring, or otherwise simply “average” to standards. Would you go to an interview in old jeans, a ratty T-shirt, and flip-flops? Why not? Answer that question, and you know why your cover letter has 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. More people are going to read your letter than usual They’re going to be screening out poor candidates before choosing the best ones for the interviews. This means that many people in the company, from human resources to the vice president or maybe even the big boss is going to read your cover letter (and your executive resume), too.

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

However, it doesn’t mean using exaggerated, convoluted, flowery, pretentious language that will simply make you look insecure and idiotic. Instead, straightforward, brief writing 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 showcase the best of you.

You need to show that you are willing to take charge, that you are efficient, intelligent, that you are a team player, 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 kind of business problem that the company is facing, and you have to show them that you can do it. You do this by showing how you fixed other similar situations.

Finally, be sure the recruiters who are going to read 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 willing to do just that.

One last thing. Close your 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 in details. 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 you interviews, and show that you’re ready for the job.

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