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Written by Paul DruryPaul Drury

Program Manager cover letter example

As program manager, you provide impetus when projects stall and motivation when the going gets tough. Tell the hiring manager about these behaviors in your cover letter.
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Program Manager cover letter example
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Making sure that all the moving parts of a project stay on track is no simple matter. Your program manager cover letter needs to convey not just what you do in your role, but, more importantly, how you manage to keep the plates spinning. Your team relies on you to ensure that everyone is pulling in the same direction. So, what is your secret sauce?

A generic cover letter that simply mirrors the responsibilities of the job description will not be enough. Show that you are aware of the industry-specific issues that are likely to crop up. Demonstrate that you have the transferable skills to tackle even the most unlikely of scenarios. 

In this guide, we’ll show you how to write a program manager cover letter that showcases your project management finesse.

Program Manager cover letter example

Adaptable full job title cover letter example

Dear Mrs. James,

I am writing to express my strong interest in the Program Manager position at Microsoft. With a proven track record of successfully leading cross-functional teams and delivering complex projects on time and within budget, I am confident that my skills and experience align perfectly with the requirements of this role.

As a seasoned Program Manager, I have a deep understanding of the full project lifecycle, from conception to implementation and post-launch analysis. My ability to develop and execute strategic plans, communicate effectively with stakeholders, and manage resources has been instrumental in driving the success of various programs.

In my current role as a Senior Program Manager at Apple, I have successfully led the development and launch of several innovative products, including the latest generation of Apple Watch and AirPods. I have a strong background in agile methodologies and have implemented processes that have improved collaboration, increased productivity, and reduced time-to-market. Additionally, I have experience managing budgets exceeding $10 million and have consistently delivered projects within the allocated resources.

One of my notable achievements was the successful launch of a new software platform that streamlined internal processes and improved efficiency across multiple departments. By collaborating with cross-functional teams, including engineering, design, and marketing, I ensured that the platform met all requirements and was delivered on schedule. The platform has since been adopted by over 10,000 employees and has resulted in a 20% increase in productivity.

I am particularly drawn to Microsoft's mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. I believe my program management expertise, coupled with my passion for innovation and my ability to drive results, would make me a valuable asset to your team.

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss further how my skills and experience can contribute to the success of Microsoft's programs and initiatives.

Sincerely,

Helen McAdams

Copied!

Sections of a program manager cover letter

The program manager cover letter should cover the aspects of your application that are less tangible than facts and achievements. Why is your personality a fit for the culture, what are your motivations for the role and how does this job fit into your career plans? Structure the cover letter in the following sections:

  1. Cover letter header. Your contact details (name, email, and mobile) are essential at the top of the letter. Oh, and don’t forget the date. Add your town and state, but a full address is not required.
  2. Greeting. Try to address the hiring manager by name. Look it up in the job description or phone the employer to find out. Start on a personal note.
  3. Introduction. Pitch your program manager like the opening lines of a project proposal. Start with the good stuff that will hook the reader into finding out more.
  4. Body. All good stories have a few different plots. Pick the project experience that is most suitable for the role in question, even if it might not be your absolute best work. Relevance is key here. The hiring manager understands that you don’t have the space to write about everything.
  5. Conclusion. Summarize your application with one last accomplishment and say that you are curious to find out more during a potential interview. Be hopeful rather than expectant with this call to action.
  6. Signature. A professional goodbye leaves a lasting impression.

Every section of your cover letter should fit together to form a narrative around why you want this particular job. So many candidates write generic cover letters for all their roles. If you want to stand out, you have to tailor your arguments thoughtfully. This will also serve as a guide to how the hiring manager will approach the interview.

Brevity is key. A one-page cover letter forces you to think about only the most appropriate achievements. Don’t forget to share some personality, though. The goal of a successful program manager cover letter is to allow the hiring manager to feel what it is like to work with you. They are choosing you, but they also want to feel that they would be a good fit for you.

For information on the intricate nuances of crafting a compelling cover letter, check out our comprehensive guide on how to write a cover letter.

After creating the header addressing the hiring manager, you’re ready to fire your first job search salvo with the introduction.

Introduction of a program manager cover letter

Sitting down to start a cover letter should be an exciting moment for any program manager. You likely have a host of exciting projects to talk about. So, when selecting which projects to highlight, think about it from the hiring manager’s perspective. Instead of writing simply about what enthuses you the most, consider what would interest them the most. 

Go with projects that were clear success stories, but make sure that you pick ones that encountered obstacles so that you can describe how you overcame them. Problem-solving is your superpower.

Do

Dear Mr. Whittle,

As a program manager with experience in overseeing $19m supply chain optimization projects, I hope to bring my skills to the Kapcrest team. Having managed project teams of 100+ people across all logistics disciplines, I understand the challenges of making changes on a global scale.

Don't

Hi there, I hope that my program manager skills will be useful for the job. I enjoy project management and am keen to join a company that has lots of interesting projects going on. It is hard to pick out my best career story, so you will just have to wait until the interview. You will be impressed, though, I promise.

Including figures and percentages immediately draws the eye of the hiring manager, but make sure that they are genuinely impressive. If you are not certain that the scale of your achievement would not put you in the top 10% of candidates, leave it out. Is the $19m supply chain optimization project really that impressive? Do your homework as the scale of projects can vary wildly across organizations.

Adaptable cover letter introduction example

Dear Mrs. James,

I am writing to express my strong interest in the Program Manager position at Microsoft. With a proven track record of successfully leading cross-functional teams and delivering complex projects on time and within budget, I am confident that my skills and experience align perfectly with the requirements of this role.

Copied!

Program manager cover letter body

In the body of your cover letter, the following template is worth considering:

  • Move past skills and experience to added value.
  • Consider the culture of the project team and how you would lead them through the uncertainty and challenges.
  • Conclude the program manager cover letter with an air of quiet confidence.
  • End with a sense of urgency—you will be looking at other roles, after all.

First body paragraph: your suitability for the role (skills & experience)

There are several different stories that you might tell in the first paragraph of the cover letter body. Do not stray far from your skills and experience, but tailor them to the challenges that you anticipate in the role.

Here are a few threads to explore:

  1. Highlight your education. ​​Project management is a complicated undertaking, so show that you are up to date with the latest technology and methodologies.
  2. Emphasize your people skills. Program managers only get results when they make the most of the talents around them. Share some personality and show that you are a leader; that you are an expert at gaining trust and respect.
  3. Show that you’re process driven. If you can’t enthuse others about the project timelines, then no one will. Unleash your inner detail fanatic in the cover letter. The hiring manager will expect it.
  4. Demonstrate flexibility and multitasking ability. Recall times when you juggled multiple tasks during a project. Be honest and share some stories about putting out fires.
Expert tip

Check out the LinkedIn profiles of the people with whom you could end up working. Look at what they have shared about previous projects. Try to adopt the language that they use. Your aim with the cover letter is to portray yourself as one of the team.

Second body paragraph(s): alignment with the organization

When you think about your alignment with the employer, any program manager needs to consider the sponsors that they will be working with on these projects. If you write your program manager cover letter with the end sponsors in mind, you won’t go wrong. Consider the role of the sponsor and think how you will help them to hit their goals.

In the words of the Project Management Institute, the role of the sponsor is as follows:

  • Authorizing the program based on its mandate and business case.
  • Appointing the senior responsible owner (SRO) to represent the interest of the sponsor.
  • Resolving cross-program issues and strategic issues with senior stakeholders.
  • Approving the program’s progress against the organizational strategy and objectives.
  • Demonstrating visible support to the program and its management team.
  • Leading the transformational change brought about by the program.
  • Confirming successful delivery and sign-offs at program closure.
Adaptable cover letter middle part example

As a seasoned Program Manager, I have a deep understanding of the full project lifecycle, from conception to implementation and post-launch analysis. My ability to develop and execute strategic plans, communicate effectively with stakeholders, and manage resources has been instrumental in driving the success of various programs.

In my current role as a Senior Program Manager at Apple, I have successfully led the development and launch of several innovative products, including the latest generation of Apple Watch and AirPods. I have a strong background in agile methodologies and have implemented processes that have improved collaboration, increased productivity, and reduced time-to-market. Additionally, I have experience managing budgets exceeding $10 million and have consistently delivered projects within the allocated resources.

One of my notable achievements was the successful launch of a new software platform that streamlined internal processes and improved efficiency across multiple departments. By collaborating with cross-functional teams, including engineering, design, and marketing, I ensured that the platform met all requirements and was delivered on schedule. The platform has since been adopted by over 10,000 employees and has resulted in a 20% increase in productivity.

I am particularly drawn to Microsoft's mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. I believe my program management expertise, coupled with my passion for innovation and my ability to drive results, would make me a valuable asset to your team.

Copied!

Call to action & conclusion: finish off strong

Sum up your cover letter by touching on the key points that will hopefully begin the interview conversation. Share that you are looking forward to finding out more during an interview. Be curious. Express your gratitude to the recruiter for considering your application. 

Adaptable cover letter conclusion and sign-off example

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss further how my skills and experience can contribute to the success of Microsoft's programs and initiatives.

Sincerely,

Helen McAdams

Copied!

Conclude by signing off with your name. This is a formality, but don’t forget it if you are in a rush. Include your first name and surname.

How to write a program manager cover letter with no experience 

It may be that you do not have specific experience as a program manager, but if you have managed plenty of projects in your specific industry then it is likely that you will already possess many of the transferable skills.

Consider these points:

  • Highlight transferable skills. It is important to note that communication and interpersonal skills are essential for a program manager role. You will likely have plenty of previous experience here.
  • Showcase delivery focus. If you have experience organizing or managing projects, focus on your ability to deliver when complexity is involved.
  • Mention industry experience. While you may not have been a program manager before, your previous industry experience will be beneficial to the role.

These points will help balance out the lack of direct experience in your cover letter.

Expert tip

The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is software that helps hiring managers organize their applications. It rarely replaces the hiring manager in terms of candidate selection, but it is an important database for your resume. If you are not hired this time, having the right keywords on your resume will ensure that you are not invisible in the future.

Review the program manager job description and pinpoint words that are frequently used or seem significant. 

Example:

  • “Stakeholder management”
  • “Resource allocation”
  • “Performance measurement”

Key takeaways

A well-crafted program manager cover letter highlights your relevant skills, experiences, and fit with the specific role.

Try our cover letter builder to experiment with the very best cover letter for your situation. It is a unique opportunity to share your personality and motivations.

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