Executives are held to a different standard than middle management or entry level employees. As such, the interviewer is expecting a certain type of sophistication when they read an executive cover letter. The tricky part of writing such a letter is capturing the delicate balance between the leader and “the person.”
A letter that is too stiff makes the candidate look like an old fuddy-duddy, and one that is too personable may come off as trite. And there probably won’t be an opportunity for a second impression so write your letter right the first time around.
Let’s take a look at some ideas to make your missive standout positive from a pile of other candidates vying for your position.
An obvious, yet overlooked, fact is that your resume and cover letter should work as a team. From the font, to the letter head (if you’re snail mailing it), to the tone and style, you want the interviewer to be impressed with every document you submit for consideration.
In addition, the letter should be addressed to a specific individual, the one who has the most influence to get you inside the interview room. Though no job seeker should use “To Whom It May Concern,” it looks incredibly foolish when an executive takes that approach. So conduct your due diligence and make sure that you address the letter to the appropriate person.
A great way to spice of your cover letter is to include successes and / or other relevant information, something that isn’t boilerplate. Interviewers receive a lot of letters and they don’t bother reading one that looks generic. Take the time to include accomplishments that will complement your resume while being relevant to the requirements of the open position.
Also, take the time to include information about the hiring organization and how you see yourself contributing to the success of the company. That doesn’t mean you should submit a proposal and give away your intellectual property, but you should offer enough of a tease where the interviewer is piqued to pick up the phone and invite you for an interview.
Lastly, a decision maker makes a value judgment on the way you express yourself in writing. They take note of the words you use and how you combine phrases to deliver your point. Unconsciously, or perhaps consciously, they ask themselves, “How will this candidate represent our company?” If the answer is, “Not very well,” then you lost an opportunity. Since the letter is the first introduction to your qualifications, make it count.