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Executive Cover Letter Example

Use this Executive cover letter example to finish your application and get hired fast – no frustration, no guesswork. This cover letter example is specifically designed for Executive positions in 2022. Take advantage of our sample sentences + expert guides to download the perfect cover letter in just minutes.
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Executive Cover Letter Example
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Let’s face it: landing a position in the C-suite is a big deal. And a half-baked application just won’t cut it. For an executive role, you need laser focus, leadership and confidence that radiate from your resume and cover letter the moment a hiring manager (or top-level decision-maker) begins to read them.

The job search for an executive comes with unique challenges. You may be applying for a position with a former employer or upon recommendation from another professional contact. Maybe you’re an outsider competing against a few internal candidates. Whatever the situation, your application will need to be near-perfect to have a chance at your executive level dream job.

When applying for an executive role, you’ll be up against dozens of highly-qualified candidates, each with executive resumes full of impressive work histories. So how can you show you have what it takes to out-perform them all? A great cover letter can make all the difference in proving your ability to lead a company to success.

Resume.io is committed to helping you land the perfect position with a professional cover letter and exceptional resume. Our tools, tips and templates are expertly-designed to help even the most advanced candidates make a great first impression.

This executive cover letter example along with our free sample cover letter will:

  • Explore the unique challenges of cover letter writing for executives
  • Offer free examples, samples and templates to help you avoid common mistakes
  • Explore the power of storytelling to help you beat out even the most qualified applicants
  • Help you harness your unique advantages to impress the employer and land the interview!

So how do you craft an executive cover letter that will get you into the C-suite? Let's get going right now to show you how (you can also check out our library of 125+ cover letter examples).

Best format for an executive cover letter

Primary purpose

If you’re applying for an executive position, this likely isn’t your first rodeo when it comes to applications, human resources and job interviews. Nevertheless, the stakes are as high as possible this time – your cover letter must be exceptional in every way in order to beat out the best of the best. 

Just because you have years of experience doesn’t mean your cover letter should be long and winding. In fact, the one page (about 200 to 400 words) rule of cover letter writing still applies to your document. The difference is, while a lower level applicant may get away with a few  rambling sentences, every single word of your executive cover letter must be precise and carefully chosen to build a picture of you as the ideal candidate. 

Expert tip

Is a standalone resume ever enough?

If you’re applying for an executive position upon professional recommendation or within a company where you’ve worked, you may not have a formal job application to refer to when questions arise. You may be left wondering if submitting just your resume is sufficient to land the job. Does a hiring manager want to read your cover letter even if they already know you?

The beauty of a well-crafted cover letter is that it’s never one-size-fits-all. Already have a great working relationship with the HR team? Address the letter recipient by first name and use a professional yet friendly tone to remind them of the success you’ve brought the company. Conversely, if you’re completely new to the employer, your cover letter can serve as the perfect introduction, making a hiring manager wonder why you hadn’t crossed paths before. 

In short, a cover letter is the perfect opportunity to either build on the connection you already possess or make a great first impression and leave a hiring manager wanting to learn more. That’s why we don’t recommend submitting a resume without one. For an executive position, you’ve only got one chance to put your best foot forward so why not use all the tools at your disposal?

Secondary purpose

When you’re up for an executive level position, you already know that your competition is fierce. Other applicants have been working their whole lives for this moment, hoping and praying that this time they’ll finally land that top leadership role. In order to outshine them all, your cover letter can’t miss a single opportunity to impress.

An executive cover letter must be crafted with care. Every sentence must add to the intrigue about who you are as a person and what you can bring to the table. Use the job description, social media and other research about the company to truly understand their mission and framework. Then, offer your most impressive accomplishments and your visions for leading your potential employer into the future.

While lower-level positions may need to demonstrate a penchant for learning quickly or following instructions, the executive is the one steering the ship. Your cover letter is the moment to be bold instead of modest by putting your biggest and brightest ideas on display. 

By creating a compelling cover letter that piques a hiring manager’s interest and addresses the company’s exact needs, you’ll come across as a natural fit – someone who should have been making executive decisions from the very beginning. In that sense, a cover letter is your secret weapon to maximize your chances of landing the position even in a crowded pool of applicants.

Expert tip

Tailoring your cover letter for success

The idea of a generic, fill-in-the-blanks cover letter for an executive is enough to make any hiring manager smile – and not in a good way. How can a candidate be trusted to make the most important decisions in the company if they can’t even craft a unique application? You may want to turn to sample sentences and examples for advice when crafting such an important document – and you should! Just make sure that your final product is highly customized for the exact position and company you are applying to.

An executive cover letter must show a deep understanding of the company needs and workflow with examples of previous successes that clearly meet those demands. Your personality and leadership style should also be a clear component of your cover letter. 

Resume.io’s executive cover letter sample is meant to give you a base to work off of, but don’t be afraid to spend more time crafting a cover letter that is uniquely yours.

Your cover letter is an executive summary. You need to state your case in a concise manner. This means taking care of the formatting and structure of your letter.

The format of an executive cover letter should contain the following elements:

  • The cover letter header
  • The greeting / salutation
  • The cover letter intro
  • The middle paragraphs (body of the letter)
  • The ending paragraph of your cover letter (conclusion and call-to-action)

The format of a librarian cover letter should cover the entire basic picture of how you run a library’s day-to-day operations. It is easy to gush about your love of literature, but if you do not state how you run the operations, or balance the books, doubts will quickly surface about your impact. The cover letter sample at the end of this paragraph provides a good illustration of this dual approach.

The comprehensive cover letter guide offers more general advice about how to go about compiling cover letters, but below you will find specific advice on how to maximize the effectiveness of each specific letter paragraph and section.

This executive cover letter example gives you an overall idea of how this part of your application should sound:

Adaptable cover letter example

Dear Mr. Hindmarch,

Having led consumer delivery businesses for the past two decades, I have overseen the rise of mobile app led business models and been at the forefront of using social channels for customer acquisition and engagement. When reliable service is your business, new customers will only consider working with you if you can shout about how great you are.

The Executive role at Just Deliver is timely as I have recently exited my last business and, after a period of garden leave, I am ready to get back into the industry. In both previous leadership roles I have had full P&L responsibility with direct reports in Sales, Marketing, Operations and Finance.

After a degree in Logistics Management at Ohio State, I worked my way up the management ladder for eight years at Stork Delivery, primarily in Sales and Marketing divisions, but then moved to Swifts, working as Operations Director for two years and after a management buyout became Managing Director.

  • My achievements in the two years leading Swifts were considerable:
  • Grew customer base by 120% - from 500 to 1,100 with revenue growing by 140%
  • Expansion was driven by new territory development. Organic LFL sales growth +18%.
  • Developed No1 rated mobile app and award-winning customer engagement portal.
  • Grew a team of 45 employees to 100+ improved staff retention from 65% to 85%

I see that regional expansion ranks top of your growth agenda and I hope that my experiences will prove useful. Marketing visibility is critical when you are entering a new territory and I would love to share some of my social media playbook secrets should we have the opportunity to sit down for a chat.

Your leadership team have a reputation for innovation and customer focus and I would be honored to work with them to take the business to the next level.

Sincerely,

Kyle Davis

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Cover letter header

Your cover letter header occupies the prime real estate at the very top of your document. Because of its prominent position, the header serves two purposes. The first is to identify your document with your name, contact information, social media like LinkedIn and any other vital information in case a hiring manager wants to contact you. 

The second role of your header is to create attractive formatting that makes a statement. For an executive role, you’ll want to pay careful attention to the message sent by your visual presentation. You’ll want to convey a sense of authority and confidence while still conforming to the employer’s image.

The goal of this section: Keep your name and contact information right at the top of your document in case a hiring manager wants to get in touch. Create an attractive and deliberate format that conveys your personal style while still fitting in with the employer’s branding.

Expert tip

Align document styles!

For executive-level candidates, professional formatting isn’t just a bonus – it’s a requirement. One of the most important steps you shouldn’t miss when crafting your application is aligning the document styles of your cover letter and resume. By creating a consistent look and feel for your documents, you’ll present yourself as the complete package – someone who knows the importance of image and branding.

Crafting a polished format doesn’t have to be a pain. Cover letter and resume templates are specifically designed to take the stress out of the process. Within Resume.io’s template library, you can choose the design that best matches your industry, potential employer and personal style, then customize it to make it your own, all in a few clicks.

Cover letter greeting

Your cover letter greeting serves an important role in setting a friendly and respectful tone for the rest of the letter. As mentioned earlier in this example, you can customize your greeting based on your level of familiarity with the company or the hiring team. If you’re not exactly sure what’s most appropriate, err on the side of caution with the simple and professional “Dear” followed by the correct salutation and last name of the letter recipient.

The goal of this section: Create a personal connection by addressing the letter recipient by name with the greeting that’s most appropriate for your existing relationship.

Expert tip

The importance of names and addressed greetings

We can all recall a time when we felt embarrassed to have forgotten someone’s name. It's an equally uncomfortable feeling when someone who should know your name doesn’t bother to use it. Names are important. Using someone’s name shows that we care and that we are attentive. And the evidence is not just anecdotal – research has shown that humans have a positive neurological reaction upon hearing their own names.

For an executive cover letter, addressing your letter recipient by name (whether that be the hiring manager or someone else) is practically a must. While entry-level applicants might get away with “Dear Hiring Manager,” it’s rather poor form for an executive candidate. It might take some web research or a call to the front office, but it’s a good idea to do the extra legwork to make sure your cover letter is properly addressed.

If for some reason you’re sure you can’t or shouldn’t address the recipient by name, you’ll want to opt for a collective greeting instead. “Dear (Company Name) Hiring Team” or even “Hiring Family” can work well.

Cover letter introduction

In some ways, your introduction is the most important part of your cover letter. If you can’t differentiate yourself and spark a connection, a hiring manager is likely to pass on your application before they even finish reading your opening paragraph. For an executive, this is not the time to play it safe. Keep a professional tone, but lead with your boldest idea, most impressive achievement or better yet, a captivating story that culminates in the success of your vision. Keep the introduction brief so that you can easily lead the reader into the body section.

The goal of this section: Create an interesting and impressive opening sentence that immediately makes you stand out from other candidates and pulls a reader into the rest of your letter.

The resume sample text below jumps right in with a summary of this executive's career including a highlight.

Adaptable cover letter introduction example

Having led consumer delivery businesses for the past two decades, I have overseen the rise of mobile app led business models and been at the forefront of using social channels for customer acquisition and engagement. When reliable service is your business, new customers will only consider working with you if you can shout about how great you are.

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Cover letter middle part (body) 

Your cover letter body section is where you’ll carefully lay out all the reasons why you’re the perfect fit for this particular executive role. Limit yourself to just a handful of your strongest arguments and make sure to back up your achievements with specific numbers, facts or timeframes. This section should contain only the most relevant examples based on the position you’re applying for. The STAR method may be able to help: first list a Situation, then the Task required, your Action and the ensuing positive Result.

For an executive role, your ideas and vision for the future of the company are paramount to the position. Without coming across as condescending or presumptuous, describe your ideas and vision for leading the business forward.

The goal of this section: Lay out your most relevant and impressive achievements using the STAR method, describe your strategies and ideas for future company success.

The bullet points in the cover letter sample text below serve to break up the text and focus attention on big achievements.

Adaptable cover letter body example

The Executive role at Just Deliver is timely as I have recently exited my last business and, after a period of garden leave, I am ready to get back into the industry. In both previous leadership roles I have had full P&L responsibility with direct reports in Sales, Marketing, Operations and Finance.

After a degree in Logistics Management at Ohio State, I worked my way up the management ladder for eight years at Stork Delivery, primarily in Sales and Marketing divisions, but then moved to Swifts, working as Operations Director for two years and after a management buyout became Managing Director.

  • My achievements in the two years leading Swifts were considerable:
  • Grew customer base by 120% - from 500 to 1,100 with revenue growing by 140%
  • Expansion was driven by new territory development. Organic LFL sales growth +18%.
  • Developed No1 rated mobile app and award-winning customer engagement portal.
  • Grew a team of 45 employees to 100+ improved staff retention from 65% to 85%

I see that regional expansion ranks top of your growth agenda and I hope that my experiences will prove useful. Marketing visibility is critical when you are entering a new territory and I would love to share some of my social media playbook secrets should we have the opportunity to sit down for a chat.

Copied!

How to close an executive cover letter (conclusion and sign-off)

Your cover letter conclusion’s primary job is to house your Call to Action. While this strategy works for candidates of all levels, executive applicants shouldn’t be afraid to be clear about their intentions. Express your enthusiasm for discussing the position further and invite a hiring manager to contact you for an interview. You may even want to leave your contact information again here, space permitting. Don’t forget to thank the reader for their consideration.

Then finish your letter with a signature that matches the tone of your greeting and the rest of your letter. “Sincerely,” “Best regards” and “Warm regards” can all work well.

The goal of this section: Create a clear and confident call to action that invites a hiring manager to contact you for an interview, use a professional and appropriate signature to finish your letter.

The cover letter sample conclusion below explains the applicant's interest in the position and ends with a call to action.

Adaptable cover letter conclusion and sign-off example

Your leadership team have a reputation for innovation and customer focus and I would be honored to work with them to take the business to the next level.

Sincerely,

Kyle Davis

Copied!

Writing psychology – cover letter tools and strategies

While an executive cover letter will need to be adapted to the exact position, industry and company, there are a few qualities that anyone in a leadership role must express:

  • Confidence: Imagine if the passengers found out the captain wasn’t confident about sailing the ship. An executive needs to hold tight at the helm even in stormy weather. Display confidence and know-how in your tone, without braggy unnecessarily.
  • Strategy: An executive sees the bigger picture and takes calculated risks to progress the business. Make sure the final body paragraph expresses your vision and plan to ensure growth.
  • Teamwork: An executive might be in charge, but that doesn’t mean they work in a bubble. Professional communication and expert listening skills are vital to the success of any upper level employee.
  • Management: Great organization skills, an ability to delegate tasks and conflict resolution are the executive’s secrets to minimizing friction within the company. Make sure your cover letter demonstrates how your management style meshes with the business’s goals and needs.

Sharing your professional story

Standard advice for job seekers is to impress recruiters with their achievements by using numbers, facts and figures to show what they can bring to the company. While the same advice certainly applies to executives, there are a few key differences.

First of all, you’re going to be up against plenty of other candidates who possess a laundry list of successes. They will likely layout out their achievements with key bullet points. They will share examples of their impressive work experiences and write with impeccable grammar and spelling. 

If you want to win the job as an executive, you need to go above and beyond. Your cover letter shouldn’t rehash what’s on your resume. It should offer new details and a surprising behind-the-scenes look at how you effectated change. Don’t be afraid to share challenges you faced and the ways in which you overcame them. An executive position is not about being a rote cog in the wheel, it’s about leading the team with charisma and determination. Your executive cover letter should paint you as an individual – someone who fits in with the company but isn’t afraid to pull in a new direction.

Expert tip

The psychological power of storytelling

It’s a well-established fact that humans are hardwired to respond to great storytelling. Advertising agencies have been capitalizing on this fact for years (just think of an old Super Bowl commercial you still remember – it probably has some sort of emotional twist). 

Hiring managers are just as human as anyone else. A cover letter that pulls back the curtain to reveal the secrets of your success can quickly make you the top choice when compared to candidates who churn out profits without a personal connection. Of course, the stories you choose to tell should be favorable, optimistic and relevant for the company’s tone and professionalism. A personal anecdote is usually best placed in the introduction paragraph where it can immediately catch a hiring manager’s attention and differentiate you from the start.

Executive cover letter format and common mistakes

Little errors can spell the demise of any application, but for executive candidates the stakes are much higher. Pay extra attention to avoid these common pitfalls before you submit your cover letter:

  1. Spelling and grammar mistakes: Typos and incorrect sentence structure are hardly excusable at such a high level. They make a hiring manager wonder if you pay attention to detail or if you can be trusted to communicate professionally once hired. Use spell check rigorously and ask a friend to proofread before you submit.
  2. Sloppy formatting: Poor visual presentation instantly dashes your credibility and makes you look uninterested in actually landing the position. Go the extra mile by using an expertly-designed template or another professional aid.
  3. Poor tone: Striking the balance between arrogant and confident can be tricky. And being too modest might give the impression that you lack leadership qualities. Make sure to back up your achievements with numbers and statistics or ask someone you trust to evaluate the tone of your cover letter.
  4. Generic letter: An uncustomized cover letter full of copy-paste sentences and general qualities will likely do you in before the end of the first paragraph. An executive cover letter needs to show a deep understanding of your potential employer’s challenges, goals and tone from the top of the page right down to the signature.

Key takeaways

  1. A cover letter is an essential component of any complete executive application since it’s the best place to share the achievements, personality and vision that will help you lead the company forward.
  2. Your executive cover letter must be well researched and highly tailored for the company’s goals and objectives.
  3. Make sure to include your perspectives and vision for moving the business forward towards the end of the body section.
  4. Don’t just recite achievements from your resume – use your cover letter to provide interesting new information, make a personal connection and tell a story about your success.
  5. Make sure your visual presentation is as sharp as your writing by aligning your cover letter and resume styles.

With resume.io’s advanced tools, you can create a perfect cover letter in no time at all: use our machine-learning writing suggestions, recruiter-approved templates and professional designs to craft your stand-out Executive Pitch!

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Stand out and get hired faster with our collection of free cover letter templates expertly-designed to land you the perfect position.
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