Tips on Writing Executive and Professional Cover Letters

By Joyce Harold: Resumes by Joyce

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Cover letters are the perfect complement to your executive resume while providing an additional outlet for marketing your transferable skills, competencies, awards, or special mentions not included in your resume.  Cover letters are also a great way to display your effective written communication skills to your prospective employer.

When writing a good executive or professional cover letter, take an inventory of your top achievements so that you can determine what you want include in your executive resume versus your executive cover letter. Keep the letter focused, clear, and if possible, separated into four compelling sections encompassing an introduction, followed by 3 to 4 bullets that display achievements or key skills in the body of the letter, your closing comments, and finally a call to action.

 In the event you have earned numerous accolades throughout your career, you may want to take a strategic approach to writing your cover letter for an executive position or professional mid-career advancement. The cover letter should not be a repeat of the professional resume; however, bearing in mind the resume is often viewed as the most important of the two documents, it may definitely be a good idea to include achievements that are most closely aligned with the position in the resume.

For example, if you are a sales or business development executive, the cover letter is prime real estate for further elaborating on your talent at creating channel partnerships, defining business models, and negotiating strategic agreements. After taking an inventory of your top achievements and deciding which will be included in your executive resume, any remaining skills or quantifiable contributions that were not included in the CEO-level resume can be showcased in the cover letter.

Obviously, executive and professional cover letters are a personalized way to connect with a prospective employer and can further convey why you are the perfect fit for the role. Below I have listed some instances when you should consider a cover letter for an executive position:

Communicating Salary Requirements—Often recruiters or hiring professionals will request your salary history or requirements; therefore the executive cover letter should be reserved for responding to this type of request.

Changing Careers—The executive cover letter can help frame your story, explain the shift in a new direction, and convey the alignment between your skills and the target role.

Relocating—An executive cover letter can provide the space for communicating any relocation assistance, coupled with your passion and commitment to the new opportunity.

Re-entering the Workforce—Executive cover letters can also be used to explain a gap in employment, while keeping the explanation high level and not overly detailed.

If you need help deciding what is the most effective resume format or if you need a cover letter for an IT Director role, Business Development Executive, senior leadership, or other professional /mid-career position, contact our online resume services at or toll free 1-888-607-7793.


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