How to write executive cover letters (with tips and example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 16 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When applying for executive-level roles, it's vital that your job application help distinguish you from other candidates. One way of doing this is by writing a tailored cover letter that effectively outlines your skills, qualifications, experience and interest in the role and hiring organisation. By learning how to write good cover letters for executive roles, you can improve your chances of securing one of these highly competitive positions. In this article, we explain what executive cover letters are, outline how to write one, list some helpful tips and look at an example that can help you create your own.

What are executive cover letters?

Executive cover letters are professional documents that form part of an application for executive-level roles and usually accompany a CV. The first thing a recruiter sees when they look at your application is this document, so it's vital that you use it to make a great first impression. The main purpose of these letters is to introduce yourself while explaining why you're interested in the position and how you meet the role's requirements. It's a great opportunity to communicate with a prospective employer and demonstrate your strengths while also revealing some elements of your personality.

Your cover letter can also help you to demonstrate the necessary leadership and management abilities that executive roles require, by allowing you to expand on the experiences mentioned in your CV. It's helpful to note that a strong executive cover letter typically includes references to past achievements and milestones and might mention occasions when you've helped to increase sales, resolve conflicts or implement new strategies at work.

Related: Why and how to use a cover letter template in Word

How to write an effective cover letter for executive roles

Below, you can find out how to write an effective cover letter for executive roles:

1. Format your letter professionally

Before you begin writing a cover letter for an executive position, ensure that you format your letter professionally. This means using one-inch margins at each side of the page, having single or 1.5 line spacing and choosing an 11-12pt sized font. Alongside this, try to use a professional-looking font that's easy to read, such as Times New Roman, Arial and Calibri.

In addition, use left alignment to align your text to the left side of the page and make sure that your paragraphs aren't too long. For instance, it's good practice to keep your paragraphs to a maximum of 100 words to improve readability.

2. Create a professional header

In the top left corner of the document, create a professional header that includes your full name, job title and contact details. When including these details, make sure they're up-to-date and only include email addresses and phone numbers that you check regularly. You can also include links to your website, portfolio or professional social media pages, but only do this if you use these primarily for work. Once you've written your name and contact details, add the date underneath. Then, in the top right corner of the letter, write the recipient's name and address.

3. Start with a greeting

At the start of your letter, begin by including an appropriate professional greeting, such as 'Dear' followed by either the name of the person you're writing to or, if you don't know their name, 'Hiring Manager'. After greeting your reader, introduce yourself briefly with a concise summary of your professional background and mention the role to which you're applying. This section is typically short and its primary purpose is to quickly and professionally introduce the rest of your letter.

4. Outline your skills

This next step involves outlining the skills and qualities that make you suitable for the role. In this section, it's key that you demonstrate how you fulfil the requirements in the job description by referencing your previous experiences. When doing this, ensure that you use strong, positive action verbs to highlight your achievements. You can even cite statistics and percentages to make your achievements more memorable.

Alongside this, consider demonstrating your leadership and management abilities by outlining how many people you managed, what size budget you worked with and how much revenue or savings resulted from your actions. If possible, try to include numbers in these statements. For example, you might state that in your previous position you increased sales by 10%. This section of your cover letter is all about showing the hiring manager how much value you added to your previous employer and is a good indicator of the value you can bring to the role to which you're applying.

5. Demonstrate your passion

Once you've shown that you can do the job, it's key that you explain why you want the role. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of the hiring organisation and explain why you specifically want this executive role. When doing this, ensure that you praise the organisation and make references to their achievements or company culture and how these align with your career goals.

This is a vital element to include in your cover letter because if you convince a hiring manager that you like and respect the organisation you're applying to, they're more likely to progress your application as this demonstrates your commitment to working for them.

6. Finish with a call to action and sign off

In the final section of your executive or senior management cover letter, finish the document by reiterating why the hiring manager would benefit from considering you for the position in one brief sentence. Then, follow this with a call to action that invites the hiring manager to contact you by using the contact details included in the letter's header. Finally, sign off your letter with a statement like 'Yours sincerely' or 'Kind regards', followed by your full name and a digital copy of your signature.

Related: How to write a cover letter in 5 steps

Tips for writing effective cover letters for executive roles

Below are some helpful tips to consider when writing cover letters for executive roles:

  • Tailor your cover letter. Read through the job description in detail before writing your cover letter so that you can target the skills and traits the hiring manager specifically wants.

  • Demonstrate your leadership abilities. Executive roles are leadership positions, so it's vital that you display your leadership skills and management abilities in your cover letter by referencing occasions when you motivated others, developed team-building strategies and improved productivity at work.

  • Be specific and factual. In your cover letter, it's also key that you're specific about your achievements. This means that you include facts, statistics and targets to back up any claims you make.

  • Proofread your letter. Before submitting your application, proofread your cover letter one last time to check for any spelling and grammatical errors. This is a vital part of writing an effective cover letter, as any mistakes in your letter can look unprofessional and may significantly harm your chances of success.

Related: 12 key leadership qualities and why they're important

Example cover letter for executive roles

Below is a cover letter example for an executive role that you can use to help you structure your own:

John Smith
0712345678
johnsmith@email.com
London
johnsmithstrategicplanner.com

16 May 2022

Dear Hiring Manager,

I'm writing to express my interest in the senior manager position that's currently available at Synergise Ltd. I'm an experienced strategic planner, with a passion for innovation and efficiency.

I believe I'm a good fit for this role because I have over two years of management experience and, in my previous role, I successfully implemented new sales strategies that increased sales revenue by 15% year on year. As a manager, I focus on building positive relationships between my team members and implementing effective strategies backed by data-driven feedback. Alongside increasing revenue in my previous role, I also obtained extremely positive feedback from my colleagues regarding my management style and, during my time as Sales Manager, every single member of my sales team met their individual targets every month.

I want to work for Synergise Ltd because of the company's impressive track record in developing innovative business strategies across multiple industries. In addition, I want to bring my passion for positive people management to Synergise Ltd and create the same positive change within your sales team.

Please contact me by email or phone if you have any questions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards
John Smith

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