You come first, leave last. You put in the effort, the hours, the sweat. You’re a big fish in a small pond. Let’s make a splash.
Executive positions aren’t exactly a dime a dozen—
It’s rare that one comes up, and rarer still that it’s right up your alley and in the company of your dreams.
You’ve got your executive resume finely tuned to strike with surgical precision.
Unless you’ve got a compelling executive cover letter to go with it—
They’re no more likely to read your resume than you are to read a report without any front matter.
In this article, you’ll get:
- Two sample executive cover letters: for senior executives and those stepping up from middle management.
- Step-by-step tips on how to write an executive cover letter that will land you more interviews.
- A template you can copy, adjust, and have ready in 15 minutes.
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Considering casting a wider net and applying for other positions? Check out these guides:
- Consulting Cover Letter
- McKinsey Cover Letter
- Project Manager Cover Letter
- Account Manager Cover Letter
- Marketing Manager Cover Letter
- Office Manager Cover Letter
- Business Cover Letter
- Business Analyst Cover Letter
- Finance Cover Letter
- Financial Analyst Cover Letter
- Executive Assistant Cover Letter
- Best Cover Letters for All Jobs
For starters, take a look at these two executive cover letter examples.
1. Executive Cover Letter Examples
First of all, check out this executive cover letter for a candidate who’s been moving from one executive position to another for many years now—Lucas.
The company to which Lucas is applying is looking for someone who has the business acumen to help maintain its de facto monopoly. It’s also experiencing some heavily publicized PR troubles.
See how this executive cover letter shows he’s not only up to the challenge, but also uniquely positioned to succeed.
Senior Executive Cover Letter Example: Experienced
Lucas A. Beck
Excelsior, July 30, 2021
Head of Human Resources
2513 Badger Pond Lane
Tampa, FL 33610
As a long-term admirer of Triple E’s aggressive expansion strategies and vigilant market-share defense tactics, I was thrilled to see your CEO opening. With my 20+ years’ experience in C-1 and C-level management, I know I can help Triple E continue to meet and exceed its growth targets while being proactive at keeping the competition at bay.
The successful candidate will no doubt have their work cut out for them—first of all, in stemming the recent and well-publicized user exodus while neutralizing external threats. In my current work with Blirta Corporation, I developed and executed a five-year strategy to lock 87% of users into our ecosystem. This, coupled with the network effect, has boosted revenue by 17% across the board. I also spearheaded a push to embrace and ultimately extinguish our competition’s permissively licensed solutions, allowing us to keep 450,000,000+ users.
Triple E’s market-leading position puts it on many executives’ radars, but it’s the challenge of righting its course and defending its territory that has me excited about this opening. I look forward to applying my strategic and leadership skills in taking Triple E to new heights.
Can we schedule a meeting or call to discuss some concrete strategic options for Triple E?
Lucas has made the right kind of impression, you can be sure of that!
Don’t exactly have the experience to pull something like this off?
Most people don’t, no problem.
Even without much experience at such dizzying heights on the corporate ladder, you can write an executive cover letter that’ll have them thinking:
“Here’s someone who’s got exactly what we need, they’re up-and-coming and we need to get in on the ground floor.”
Meet Tony, he’s also applying for an executive position, but he’s never occupied an executive role before.
The job he’s applying for requires strong leadership skills and the ability to implement strategies.
Tony’s executive cover letter shows his suitability for the role by describing how he’s demonstrated these skills in the past, executive post or no.
Sample Executive Cover Letter: No Exec Experience
Anthony P. Martinez
Denver, July 30, 2021
283 Scheuvront Drive
Denver, 80202 CO
Dear Ms Ochs,
As a long-term admirer of Panaphonics’ corporate culture and market strategies, I was thrilled to hear that you have a CTO opening. My 18+ years’ of experience working in technology and business development in middle and upper management roles mean that Panaphonics is the perfect company for my first step into an executive position.
The job advertisement on LinkedIn lists excellent leadership skills and a track record of successful strategy implementation as requirements. During my time with Sorny, I led my regional office through a period of change as we moved our systems to the Jaffa platform. We achieved employee acceptance rates of 76% (the highest in the state) while having our workers score the highest in the country on Jaffa competence tests. I also created and implemented a business development strategy based on rolling investment that brought in annual ROIs of 11–14% and increased profits by $3.1M over two years. I look forward to leveraging my experience in helping Panaphonics reevaluate its business development strategies to stay ahead of the market.
I would very much appreciate an opportunity to discuss Panaphonics’ objectives and how my business development and leadership skills combined with a drive to succeed can translate into increased profits now and stable growth moving forward.
You’ve seen two word-perfect examples of cover letters for executive jobs.
How about we walk through the process of writing an executive cover letter that’s at least as good?
Each section contains a low-effort, fill-in-the-blank template—so getting completely stuck is just not an option.
Don’t have a resume ready yet? See a dedicated example here: Executive Resume Sample
2. How to Write an Executive Cover Letter Step by Step (Template)
Here’s how to write an interview-winning executive cover letter:
1. Play by the Rules of Business Cover Letter Formatting
Business etiquette ought to be second nature to an executive. Your executive cover letter is a kind of business correspondence. Make sure the formatting is absolutely spot-on.
Here’s a recap of the basics of properly formatting your cover letter:
- Don’t fully justify your cover letter, simply left-align everything.
- Leave all your margins at the default one inch.
- Choose an elegant, professional font, like Calibri or Garamond, in 11–12 points. If you can’t decide, the best fonts for a resume work just as well for cover letters.
- Use 1.15 line spacing.
- Stick to the recommended cover letter length: one page, max.
Expert Hint: There’s a reason why executive presence is a thing. Ultimately, appearances matter in executive roles. If you submit application documents that don’t look the part, your application is all the more likely to be overlooked. Proper formatting is half the battle won.
2. Put Your Contact Information in a Professional Cover Letter Header
The heading of a cover letter has to be identical to the header in your resume. This is its most important job.
So it’ll include your full name, your phone number, email address, and LinkedIn account if you have one (and for executive jobs, it’s often a necessary evil).
If you choose to include your job title (a good idea, especially if you’re already an executive), then put it between your name and phone number.
Next, put the city and date of writing and the full address of the hiring manager.
Follow this template:
Executive Cover Letter Header Template
[ Your Full Name]
[ Your Job Title ] (Optional)
[ Phone Number ]
[ Email Address ]
[ LinkedIn Profile ]
[ City and Date ]
[ Hiring Manager’s Full Name ]
[ Hiring Manager’s Position, e.g. Customer Service Team Leader ]
[ Company Name ]
[ Company Street Address ]
[ City and Zip Code ]
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3. Identify the Job to Which You’re Applying as You Introduce Yourself
The main purpose behind the first paragraph of your executive cover letter is to reassure your reader that your application is worth considering.
This means making it clear that you know what position you’re applying to and in which company. It also means showing that you care about this exact job and not just one like it.
Start by addressing the cover letter directly to the person who’ll read it. This name won’t always be given in the job ad or announcement. Good. Show your initiative and creativity by finding out.
How? Searching online will give you the answer you’re looking for most of the time. Otherwise, call the reception and ask.
Then, start your cover letter the right way: by identifying the position for which you’re applying and briefly explaining what skills and experience make you such a perfect fit.
Stuck? See this template for reference—just fill in the blanks.
Executive Cover Letter Sample: Introduction
Dear [Recruiter’s Name]:
When I found the job listing for the position of [Business Function] Executive with [Target Company Name], I was thrilled. As a [Job Title] with [number of years] years’ experience and a proven track record of [relevant achievements] I’m sure I can help [Target Company Name] with its [business goals, current or upcoming projects, challenges].
Expert Hint: They say that 80% of executive jobs are never advertised. So don’t rely on job boards and social media like LinkedIn. Instead, be proactive in your search efforts and don’t be afraid to approach companies that aren’t actively looking for executives.
4. Showcase Your Most Relevant Strengths
The second paragraph of your executive cover letter is your opportunity to respond directly to the requirements of the job.
As an executive, you’re expected to have a fair idea of what these requirements are—they’re rarely spelled out explicitly.
So put your knowledge regarding the company and its current situation front and center. Make it clear that you understand what the company needs from its new executive. Show how you’re uniquely qualified to deliver.
See this fill-in-the-blank example.
Cover Letter for Executive Positions: Middle Paragraph
In the job listing, you state that you need a [Business Function] Executive experienced in [refer to the requirements of the job]. In my most recent position with [name of your current or most recent company] I have succeeded in [successfully completed projects and initiatives, supported by metrics]. I strongly believe my expertise will translate into similar results for [Target Company Name].
Expert Hint: Rather than focusing exclusively on the goals you’ve helped you employer achieve, remember that an executive’s role is at least as much about setting those goals as it is about creating the strategies and policies that’ll get your company there.
5. Tell Them Why You Want In
The third paragraph is where you assure the BoD that this is a company with which you intend to stay for the long haul—but not in so many words.
Instead, show your enthusiasm for the company by slipping in a couple plausible compliments that prove your knowledge of the company.
You’ve shown them that you’re up to the task. This is how you show them that you really are excited to work for them. You want this particular job more than any other.
Not sure how to go about doing this? Use this template:
Executive Level Cover Letter Example: Your Motivation
I love the fact that, at [Target Company Name], you focus all your [relevant business activities] on [something you admire about the company]. Your values and mission perfectly reflect my professional convictions. Joining your team would be a dream opportunity for me to grow and develop my key skills while providing [relevant business value] for [Target Company Name].
6. End on a Clear Call to Action and an Appropriate Sign-Off
The best way to end your cover letter is by asking for a meeting or call to discuss how you can help. Make this about what you can do for them, not what you hope to gain.
Here’s a sample executive cover letter closing to get your brain storming:
Sample Cover Letter for an Executive Position: Call to Action & Formal Closing
Can we schedule a call or a meeting to discuss how my skills can help [Target Company Name] achieve and exceed its KPIs in the coming months?
[Digital Copy of Your Handwritten Signature]
[Your Full Name]
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When writing a cover letter for executive positions, you should:
- Address the cover letter directly to the recruiter.
- Use your first paragraph to introduce yourself, mention the position for which you’re applying and list your key strengths.
- Describe relevant achievements that match the requirements of the job and offer to help your target company with its challenges. Back everything up with relevant metrics.
- Showcase your enthusiasm for the company.
- Close with a call to action: an offer to discuss what you can bring to the table and do for the company.
Need a little more help before you feel comfortable writing a cover letter for an executive position? Leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you and would be happy to help!