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3 Executive Cover Letter Examples Making Waves in 2024

Stephen Greet

  • Executive Cover Letter
  • Executive Director Cover Letter
  • Sales Executive Cover Letter
  • Write Your Executive Cover Letter

You’re a well-versed leader who can set company goals and strategies in the right direction. Financial statements are analyzed, processes are improved, and meetings are led effectively with you on the executive leadership team.

Did you write a cover letter to complement your executive resume and show you have the right business sense for the job?

Every company goes through a careful selection process when hiring executives. If you’re wondering how to stand out, our executive cover letter examples and AI cover letter generator will provide a great template for success.

do executives need a cover letter

Executive Cover Letter Example

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Executive cover letter example

Copy this text for your executive cover letter!

123 Fictional Avenue Denver, CO 80201 (123) 456-7890

October 30, 2023

Abigail Clark DISH Network Corporation 123 Fictional Lane Denver, CO 80201

Dear Ms. Clark:

I’m unequivocally drawn to DISH Network Corporation’s commitment to providing innovative entertainment and communication solutions. My unquenchable thirst for grappling with unfamiliar challenges makes the chief executive officer position an exceptional match for my skill set. In independent and collaborative settings, I’m at ease taking charge and leveraging feedback data to shape strategic decisions.

My tenure as chief financial officer at Ready Foods sharpened my financial analysis skills. By enforcing budget constraints and optimizing resource allocation, I effectively drove costs down by 18%, leading to improved profits and healthier financial standing for the company.

As a project management officer at Salem Media Group, I steered an initiative to digitize our broadcast services. Capitalizing on advanced project management software, I ensured the seamless transition of our services to a digital platform. This initiative increased our viewership by approximately 12% and advertising revenues by 22%.

Through market research and analysis during my tenure at Xfinity, I identified untapped regions in Denver, leading to an expansion strategy that increased the subscriber base by 36.8%. I supported this growth by implementing new quality control procedures to effectively manage the influx of new demands.

Given the opportunity to serve as the CEO of DISH Network, I’m excited by the possibilities that merging my skills with the company’s vision can unfold. Leveraging these experiences, I’m enthusiastic about piloting DISH to nurture ventures like Dish Wireless and explore new opportunities in the entertainment landscape. Looking forward to discussing how my leadership and drive can elevate DISH Network’s standing in the competitive broadcasting market. Thank you for considering my application.

Enclosures: Resume Application 2 letters of recommendation Academic transcript

Why this cover letter works

  • Choose something professional and modern with a perfect balance between visual appeal and word delivery. Overly flashy graphics can distract from your narration, though.

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Executive Director Cover Letter Example

Executive director cover letter example

Copy this text for your executive director cover letter!

123 Fictional Avenue Washington, DC 20001 (123) 456-7890

Jackson Rodriguez The Urban Institute 123 Fictional Lane Washington, DC 20001

Dear Mr. Rodriguez:

As an enthusiast in data analytics and IT infrastructure, I derive joy from delving into complex troves of data and streamlining IT processes during my weekdays while also immersing myself in the unfolding tech narrative of Washington, DC, outside work hours. Balancing a career built on enhancing operational efficacy with my deep-rooted interest in data privacy and compliance, I’m keen to bring my expertise to the executive director role at The Urban Institute.

An IT manager role at TechFlow sharpened my database management and IT infrastructure proficiency. My tenure witnessed the implementation of a novel cloud-computing architecture that saw a 17% decrease in inoperability incidents.

At another Washington DC institution, SecureData, I excelled in ensuring data privacy and compliance. I introduced a multi dimensional protection plan with automation tools that decreased security breaches by a promising 8%. I also initiated robust GDPR compliance, securing a 79% consent response rate, surpassing our goal of 72%.

Beyond technical expertise, I successfully managed a team of IT professionals at TechFlow and SecureData. By leaning into my leadership role, I inspired my team to exceed their potential, improving IT service delivery by 6% and 12%, respectively.

My affinity for problem-solving and broad-spectrum IT skills can be valuable for your team. I’m eager to see how my unique perspective and hands-on approach can advance your organization’s vision. Thank you.

Gabriel Santos

Sales Executive Cover Letter Example

Sales executive cover letter example

Copy this text for your sales executive cover letter!

123 Fictional Avenue Memphis, TN 38101 (123) 456-7890

Emily Lewis FedEx Corporation 123 Fictional Lane Memphis, TN 38101

Dear Ms. Lewis:

I’m captivated by FedEx Corporation’s dedication to creating seamless and efficient experiences, demonstrated by your unwavering reputation for exceptional customer service. Your team excels at forging comprehensive global connections and has shaped today’s fast-paced logistics industry. As an ardent pursuer of customer-centric sales strategies, I thrive on harnessing the power of data-driven insights and cutting-edge approaches when I’m not exploring the vibrant Memphis business scene. These passions, combined with my professional experiences, fuel my excitement to contribute as a sales executive within your distinguished corporation.

During my tenure at Smith & Nephew, the sales account manager role allowed me to fine-tune my sales analytics skillset. Deploying CRM systems and leveraging data-driven insights enabled me to grow our client base by 12% and improve sales conversion rates by 8%.

Within Grizzly Sales Force, another Memphis enterprise, I laid the groundwork for my competency in social selling. The production and execution of creative LinkedIn campaigns saw our company’s lead generation surge by 14% and website traffic grow by 22.7%.

Serving as a sales team leader at Neon Canvas unveiled my proficiency in managing sales funnels for enhanced client relationships and deal closures. By revamping our existing sales pipeline and further optimizing the standard lead scoring system, we witnessed a 7% surge in average deal size and a 19% reduction in sales cycle time.

My unwavering passion for sales, fortified by my diverse skills, can champion FedEx Corporation’s ambitious growth objectives. I’m eager to discuss how my sales acumen and accomplishments align with your vision, offering a chance to contribute to your success. Thank you for considering my application.

Zainab Khan

  • Fortify your sales executive cover letter with quantified facts to prove your sales prowess and that you’re a force to be reckoned with when it comes to spurring profit growth. Examples include “drove costs down by 18%” and “increased the subscriber base by 36.8%.”

Related cover letter examples

  • Executive Resume
  • Executive Assistant
  • Office Manager

How to Write an Executive Cover Letter That Stands Out

Salesperson pops out of computer screen to depict outselling the competition with sales cover letter

Standing out as an executive requires more than just presenting the analytical and leadership skills that will help you succeed. It’s also important to show how you’ll fit in with the company culture and help them achieve their mission.

The best way to optimize is to review the job description to identify the company’s goals and the essential skills they seek. That way, whether the company needs help with strategic planning or creating a team-focused environment, you can write a custom cover letter that grabs their attention.

do executives need a cover letter

Catch attention with the greeting and intro of your executive cover letter

When leading a meeting, you’d want to start with key information that grabs employees’ attention and relates directly to their needs. You can do the same in your executive cover letter to get off to an excellent start.

That usually includes two things. The first is addressing someone by name if you can find a hiring manager listed in the job description or company website.

Then, you’ll want to craft an intro paragraph directly related to the company’s needs and mission. For example, how you’ll use your abilities in management information systems to help the business achieve a data-driven and efficient work environment.

The opener below falls a bit short on that since it doesn’t get into enough detail about the skills that will make the applicant a great fit for the account executive role.

Try to get more specific than this!

Hello Mr. Brenton,

I’m pleased to be applying for your account executive job opening. With years of management experience under my belt, I think my skills will make me a great fit for your needs.

The opener below does a much better job of showing how the applicant fits in with DISH Network’s strategic leadership needs while relating to their mission of innovative entertainment solutions.

A highly specific opener for the win!

Dear Ms. Clark,

I’m unequivocally drawn to DISH Network Corporation’s commitment to providing innovative entertainment and communication solutions. My unquenchable thirst for grappling with unfamiliar challenges makes the chief executive officer position an exceptional match for my skill set. In independent and collaborative settings, I’m at ease taking charge and leveraging feedback data to shape strategic decisions.

do executives need a cover letter

Provide more evidence of your skills in the body of your executive cover letter

Once you have the hiring manager’s attention, it’s time to show why you’re the best fit for the executive position with data-based examples of past achievements.

One of the best ways to do that is leveraging the numbers you know companies care about the most, like costs saved or increases in conversion rates.

It’ll also be important to show how you’ve led teams, such as providing employees with coaching to boost productive efficiency.

A great body paragraph showcasing leadership skills!

do executives need a cover letter

Make a lasting impact with the closing of your executive cover letter

As you close out your executive cover letter, it’ll be important to think about what elements will make a lasting impact on hiring managers as they decide on applicants to bring in for an interview.

One of the best ways to optimize will be relating back to key skills and elements of the company mission you emphasized. For instance, how your e-commerce management skills will help create a top-notch online shopping experience for customers.

It’s also an excellent idea to close out by thanking the hiring manager for their time and ending with a light CTA, just like you’d do when trying to boost conversions on a sales page.

The closer below is missing many of those details since they don’t give enough information about their executive leadership skills or use a CTA.

Include more details than this!

Overall, I believe my years of sales experience will make me a great fit for the position. Thank you for considering my application for your sales executive role.

Vincent Benjamin

The closer below does a much better job relating to a hands-on approach and problem-solving skills aligning with the company’s culture and mission.

A well-rounded closer relating to company needs!

My affinity for problem-solving and broad-spectrum IT skills can be valuable for your team. I’m eager to see how my unique perspective and hands-on approach can advance your organization’s vision. Thank you.

Every company will be seeking different skills from executives and have a unique work culture. Writing a custom cover letter for each role will show your passion for their mission and how specific job skills like business intelligence or change management will help them achieve their goals.

The best way to optimize the tone of your executive cover letter is to review the job description and try to match the tone they use. For instance, if they use a formal and educated tone, you can match that and show why you’re the knowledgeable leader who’s right for the company’s culture while helping them boost conversions during client acquisition.

Aim for around three to five skills you emphasize that are highly relevant to company needs. For instance, if the company wants you to be proficient in business intelligence, you can explain how your skills in Microsoft Power BI will be an excellent fit for their data analytics system.

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  • Cover Letter Tips

Executive Cover Letter Examples and Tips for 2024

Charlotte Grainger

10 min read

Yellow geometrical pattern

Looking for your next executive role? Cover letters are a necessary evil of the job search process. No one really likes to write them. That’s mainly because most people don't know what to include to make the cover letter worth reading. Before you get started on your executive cover letter, chances are you will have a few burning questions in mind. 

Should you restate your resume?

Should you tell your whole story?

What exactly are hiring managers looking for?

Let us put your mind at rest. Cover letters should be your introduction to the employer. It's your chance to say hello and explain why you would be an asset to the company. As an executive, it's even more important to perfect this part of the process. Your role will be monumental, so your first impression has to be on point.

An executive cover letter should be written in a compelling and professional manner. Be sure to mention your key skills in leadership, people management, and business growth. You can do this by highlighting aspects of your resume or briefly showcasing your story. You may choose to Include a short list of your strongest skills to demonstrate your leadership. 

 If you’re ready to get writing, you’ve come to the right place. A quick way to ensure you can efficiently write cover letters is to have a base template. In the following guide, we will detail everything that you need to know about writing an executive cover letter. Once you’ve read our 10 key tips, you will have no problem creating an application that wins you the interview.

What should an executive cover letter include?

First things first, you need to know what your executive cover letter should include. You have roughly 300-400 words to play with here. However, no hiring manager wants to read a long, meandering letter about your life up until this point. Save that for your memoir. Instead, you need to ensure that your cover letter has a solid structure, as follows: 

Cover letter header

Introduction/hook 

Main paragraphs 

Conclusion 

 Sticking to this format will help your cover letter “flow” well. The hiring manager can quickly gain the information that they need by skimming the document. Much like a story, your cover letter should have a natural narrative. It starts with the beginning, moves seamlessly onto the middle (i.e. the main point), and concludes with a strong ending. If you manage to get that right, you will captivate the hiring manager with your professional history. 

Effective executive cover letter example

 Before we go anything further, let’s start with some inspiration. Below is an executive cover letter example that ticks all of the boxes. Check it out now: 

Executive cover letter example Zipjob

Why this example excels

There’s a reason that this executive cover letter works so well. The letter includes everything that you would expect from a high-level professional. Here are five things that you may have noticed right from the offset: 

It includes a professional letter format

The heading matches the resume

  It’s short and sweet — one page with three basic paragraphs

  It includes a professional greeting

The content is tailored and to the point

 As a rule, the body of the letter should be no more than three short paragraphs explaining which job you want, why you want it, and why you are qualified to have it. You should support your claims with accomplishments and refer to your resume. 

 If you're starting from scratch, read our related post: Here is What a Good Cover Letter Looks Like . The guide gives you a good overview of how you can get started with your application letter. When you’ve read that, come back here and we will take things to the next level. 

 You know the drill. Hiring managers will expect more of you as you climb the career ladder. As an executive, your cover letter needs to be a cut above the rest. You have to showcase your strongest leadership skills while meeting all of the above requirements. If you create a basic template, you can quickly customize the document with the nine tips below. 

9 Ways to Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out

 Let’s say that you already have the basic structure down. What happens next? The answer is that you level-up your document. Starting at the top of your cover letter, here are nine tips from the executive resume writer team at ZipJob to get your cover letter noticed. 

1. Indicate why you're writing

 You may be writing to express interest in an unadvertised opportunity, but you're most likely writing in response to an open position. In the first paragraph, you should tell the reader exactly which job you are applying for and where you found out about the opening. Many HR offices track adverts and referrals, so it’s important to highlight these details.

But that’s not the part that will grab the reader’s attention. You need a hook. For example, you could list your credentials in the first paragraph to show why you would be an intuitive fit for the company. On the other hand, if you were referred by a person in the company, you can use this point as your hook. Figure out what information will make you stand out here.

An example:

I heard about (the job) from your (Title), (Name), and am eager to apply for the position. My credentials include….

2. Tell your story in a compelling manner

 Language matters when it comes to your executive cover letter. Include your unique value explicitly, yet concisely. That is quite a challenge, but your hard work will pay off. You may use a variation of your elevator pitch, for instance, or a brief summary of why your work experience and qualifications is a perfect fit for the job in question.

To add some color to your cover letter, pick your words wisely. Use compelling verbs and avoid words such as "prepared" and "managed." Those words are passive, dull, and overused: your cover letter should be interesting and tell a compelling story.

3. Focus on up to four important facts

 While your resume should be detailed, cover letters should be brief with only the most intriguing information and the highlights of your leadership story so far. To get that right, you can either showcase your accomplishments in a few paragraphs or bullet form.

Be selective about the accomplishments you include in your cover letter. Felicia Tatum, executive resume writer and CEO of Creative Career Solutions , recommends including “no more than four accomplishments” in your cover letter. “The resume can show the details, let the cover letter show the facts so it entices the reader to look at the resume,” she explains.

4. Showcase your leadership abilities in three lines or less

Using language such as "oversaw," "directed," "executed," "delivered," and "owned" will make your cover letter stronger. Including two to three sentences about your abilities to lead others, lead departments, or lead a company will showcase you as a strong executive.

The first sentence should have your strongest information and senior leadership skills, followed by one or two sentences to strengthen and prove the claims from the first. 

Bullet points are a great way to draw the eye to your best accomplishments. This is only effective when used sparingly, though. Limit the number of bullet points and the number of lines they take up in your cover letter.

5. Provide value through your accomplishments

 As we have already mentioned, listing accomplishments is a quick way to highlight your strengths. However, it’s vital that you also provide evidence to back up any claims that you make. You can do this by including numbers, such as costs saved or costs slashed, or mentioning awards, achievements, or projects you completed.

The more specific you are in your cover letter, the better your chances of success. Show the hiring manager that you’re more than just talk . Providing specific evidence of how you have performed in the past could make all the difference to your application.

Remember to use the same style as your resume so they look like a cohesive application. Use the same resume font , bullet point style, and numbers. That will leave a great impression on your reader, even when you reword the data to make a more persuasive narrative.

 Related read: Using the STAR Method to Create a Superior Resume (+ Examples)

6. Address the reader directly (if you know the name)

 “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”— Dale Carnegie

The more personalized the cover letter, the better it will be received. So, if you know the hiring manager’s name — through online research or even LinkedIn— you should include it now. Addressing them directly is likely to win you some points. Of course, there are times when you won’t know their name and need to use a standardized greeting instead.

Before you start writing your cover letter, do some research. Take a look at the company’s website and LinkedIn page, for example. This is a great way to know the key players and be more prepared to write a customized application. It can also give you clues to the company's goals, visions, current projects, recent media attention, and current leadership team.

7. Include a call to action 

 At the end of your letter, include a call to action. This is the action you’d like the employer to take after reading your letter. Here are some examples of final lines you may use:

“Please contact me at your earliest convenience.”

“I look forward to speaking to you and encourage you to reach out with any questions.”

“Please let me know when you’d like to discuss my resume further.”

Remember, the call to action should always be in the very last sentences before you close out the letter. Make it conversational, but never pushy. It is the hiring manager's job to review applications and contact the best candidates, so be polite without sounding desperate.

8. Add your signature

 It goes without saying that you should include your name to the end of the letter. However, add that personalized, executive touch, paste in your actual signature. It takes minimal effort but can go a long way. The visual impact of your signature carries more weight than you might imagine and will help you to make a lasting impression on the hiring manager.

There are a couple of ways to achieve this look. First up, you can take a picture of your actual signature, scan it to your computer, and upload it to your word processor. Some software, such as Adobe Acrobat, will also allow you to draw your signature directly into the program.

9. Take the time to edit first

 When you’ve done all of the above, you might think you’re ready to hit “send” on your executive cover letter. However, before you do that, there’s one last thing that you should take care of. It’s crucial that you edit your document before you submit it. 

There are two reasons for this. First of all, you need to ensure that no sneaky typos or spelling mistakes have gotten through the net. These errors will put the hiring manager off fast. Secondly, this edit will give you the chance to cut out any content that doesn’t add value to your application. Read through each part of your cover letter and make sure that each element of it will help push your application over the line. 

In conclusion, your executive cover letter should be a short highlight reel that engages the reader. Personalizing your cover letter with your most impressive accomplishments will make it stand out. However, you need to make sure those accomplishments are related to leadership, motivation, and business development. That savvy move will position you as an executive with plenty to offer. 

If you follow the above guidelines, you can write a killer executive cover letter in no time and increase your opportunities for interviews.

Recommended reading:

Please Find Attached My Resume: How to Use This Phrase

How to List an MBA on a Resume (+ Examples)

7 Tips for Writing A Cold Email for a Job (+ Examples)

Charlotte Grainger, Editor & Content Writer, Charlotte Grainger, Editor & Content Writer

Charlotte Grainger is a freelance writer living and working in Sheffield, UK. She has a passion for career development and loves sharing tips and advice. Follow her on Twitter

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Cover Letters , Job Search

Strong cover letters: three reasons why executives need them.

Why is a strong cover letter so important, even for executives? First of all, employers expect a cover letter. Not writing one when a cover letter is expected can hurt you far more than writing a cover letter when one isn’t explicitly asked for can hurt you. After all, when have you ever been upset about an employee putting in the extra effort?

Beyond that general reason, though, there are specific ways that a good cover letter can help you land an executive position. Let’s look at three of them.

How to write a cover letter

You Need a Prospective Employer to Pay Attention to Your Resume

When you’re asking yourself, “What should an executive cover letter accomplish?”, the heading above is an excellent answer to that question. It should get a prospective employer to pay attention to you. An executive resume is likely somewhat lengthy—possibly two or three pages—and you need to grab a prospective employer’s attention before they even get to it. A strong but brief cover letter is an effective way to get them to spend a little more time on your resume than on those from other applicants.

Of course, an effective executive resume needs to be impressive on its own. But using a cover letter to explicitly state why you are a good fit for the job can help direct their attention to the impressive information about your accomplishments and skills contained in your resume.

Conversely, a weak cover letter—or no cover letter at all—is a missed opportunity to elaborate or make a point about your experience that can resonate strongly with a hiring manager and make them want to learn more about your work experience.

Ideally, a great cover letter will hook them from the first sentence, and they will continue to be interested right through their reading of your resume.

An executive cover letter can also accomplish the secondary goal of explaining anything that needs to be explained but isn’t on your resume. Not everyone will need to do this. But if you have a varied work history or a job you’ve listed on your resume that isn’t quite relevant to the executive position you’re applying for, your cover letter can give you a platform to offer an explanation. Doing so removes the need for a hiring manager to read between the lines, and ensures they won’t miss your point altogether as they sift through dozens of other cover letters and resumes from people applying to the job. You can’t afford for a hiring manager to miss a thing about your experience or achievements when you’re applying for an executive position.

Introduce the Prospective Employer to the You They Need to Know

Personal connections are always important in a job search, but you can’t count on them to be the sole reason you get a job. One reason that some executive job candidates may believe they don’t need a cover letter, or only need a simple one stating something to the effect of, “My resume is attached and this is what I’m applying for…” is that they already know the hiring manager or have a connection at the company.

Even if you do—and even if you know the hiring manager well or have a strong connection with someone in human resources—you still need a strong cover letter. Why do you need an effective cover letter if you already know the prospective employer?

The easy answer is that in many cases, especially for an executive position, more than one person will be reading your cover letter and resume and considering candidates. You cannot rely on someone else to convey what you could and should convey in a cover letter to every potential reader of your resume.

You need to get the message across about yourself and your professional qualifications and interest in the job the way you want to and you need to. Write your cover letter as if the person reading it does not know you at all—chances are someone who doesn’t know you will be reading it as you move through the hiring process.

It is especially important to write a strong, detailed cover letter if you only peripherally know the hiring manager or another executive at the company. Even if they approached you about the position, you cannot assume that they know or remember the details of your career that make you an excellent fit for the position. They might know you’re a good fit, but do they know why you are better than the candidate another person recommended? Only you know the ins and outs of your career and your qualifications. Use your cover letter to explain why they make you an excellent fit for this executive position—doing so can only help you. Yes, it takes a little bit of extra time to write a strong cover letter, but as I said before, you can’t trust that someone else will be able to—or want to—speak up on your behalf and mention the most relevant points about your skills and abilities. You need to do this in your cover letter.

The Position Isn’t Listed

Once you’ve reached the executive level, you may be scouting out positions that aren’t listed, or simply want companies to know you’re on the lookout and willing to move if the right opportunity comes up. As a result, you will probably be sending your resume to people who might not be expecting it or know exactly what job you are sending it in for.

In this case, a cover letter is an absolute necessity. Imagine receiving a random resume in your inbox when you aren’t on an interview committee or aware of open positions. Without any sort of introduction, you’d probably just be confused and move it to the trash, or forward it on to someone else without a second glance. The same will probably happen to your resume if you just send it to a company without a strong cover letter attached.

Even a couple of sentences in the body of an email alerting someone to the attached resume and your interest in the company are not enough in this case. To get your resume looked at when you are essentially doing the equivalent of cold-calling, you need to really compel someone to look at it. If they don’t have an open position, why would they be spending time on your resume? You need to give them a reason to want to open your resume and want to keep it on file. A persuasive, well-written cover letter is the best way to grab the attention of a potential employer and let them know you are someone they should know.

Now I Know Why I Need a Strong Executive Cover Letter. What Makes It Strong?

I have a few primary tips to help you write a cover letter that gets results. In brief, they are:

● Have an impactful first line ● Connect the dots between your experience and the company’s needs ● Keep it to one page ● Write a tailored cover letter for each company/position ● Don’t just repeat the work history that’s on your resume ● Don’t use a cover letter template—recruiters and hiring managers know when someone does this

Want more cover letter help? Download my newest guide  How NOT to Start Your Cover Letter (Plus 7 Examples of What to Say Instead).

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Executive Career Brand™

Executive Job Search - Personal Branding, Executive Resumes, LinkedIn Profiles, Biographies, etc.

May 3, 2022 By Meg Guiseppi

Do I Really Need a Cover Letter for My Executive Resume?

  • Pinterest 2

resume cover letter

Now that you’ve defined your personal brand and built your executive resume around your promise of value to your target employers, you’re ready to get your resume out there. So you’re facing the cover letter dilemma.

Do you still need a resume cover letter? Or is it a dying relic?

When you respond to job board postings, you probably won’t need a cover letter (unless the application requires one).

But that job search strategy is not the best way to land a good-fit executive job.

The vast majority of executive jobs (especially those at the c-suite and other senior levels) come through networking your way into your target companies for referrals . . .  NOT from job boards .

Assuming that your main job search strategy is networking ,  you’ll be sending your resume to select people. You’ll need to introduce it with some kind of covering letter – whether you email it or snail-mail it (less likely).

Although there are executive recruiters and other hiring professionals who will skip right over your cover letters, others will read them religiously.

They judge candidates by their covers letter (or lack of one) as strongly as they do their resumes and online presence .

Survey shows the majority of hiring professionals DO read cover letters

A Wall Street Journal article by Allison Pohle cited a study that found that 87% of hiring professionals surveyed said they DO read cover letters.

For the survey, 7,287 fictitious job applications were sent in response to job postings on various job boards (such as ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor, Indeed). Each application fell into one of these 3 groups:

  • No cover letter
  • Generic cover letter
  • Cover letter customized to the job with details on the candidate’s good-fit qualities

The third group:

  • Had a 31% higher callback rate than applications with generic cover letters
  • Yielded 53% more interviews than those without cover letters

It just makes sense to include a cover letter

. . . one that’s as hard-hitting and brand-reinforcing as your targeted resume.

My research and experience over the years revealed that NOT having a cover letter may ruin your chances, but HAVING a cover letter will never hurt your chances.

Because so few job seekers (including your competitors) include a cover letter with their resume, if you do, you’ll stand out in a positive way much more than they do.

At the very least, a covering letter or email message is an expected courtesy to the reader, and clarifies why you’re writing to them.

LinkedIn News Senior Editor Andrew Seaman made clear his feeling about cover letters:

“I’m very biased when it comes to cover letters. I love them. A cover letter is often the part of an application that I look at first when I’m part of a hiring process. Cover letters can reveal the voice of a person, how they communicate, how they think and so much more. Generally, job search experts recommend you include a cover letter if you’re concerned that your experience won’t stack up against that of others in the applicant pool. For example, a cover letter could be another way to explain to an employer why you’re making a career change. Or, you may want to include one if you want to get ahead of some biases or concerns that may be baked into the hiring process, such as ageism.”

But some job seekers are rebelling

According to Wall Street Journal reporter Lindsay Ellis , job hunters are taking a stand against sending cover letters:

“Many hiring managers say a sharp cover letter remains one of the best ways to make the case for why you are the right person for the job. Yet many job seekers say the self-promoting exercise is too torturous and time-consuming to be worth the effort for a less-than-dream role. It’s also just plain insulting, they argue, since it’s often an algorithm, not a human, that screens and sorts the applications.”

Job seekers feel that, even when they spend time customizing each cover letter, they still don’t hear back when they apply for jobs.

“Behind all of the cover-letter hate lurks a major disconnect between job seekers and the employers trying to hire them. A recent ResumeLab survey of 200 hiring managers and recruiters found 83% said cover letters were important to deciding whom to hire, especially when it came to understanding why the applicant wanted the job or explaining a career switch or break. Nearly three-quarters said they expected a cover letter even if it wasn’t explicitly asked for.”

The cover letter writing playbook

Allison Pohle also offered several cover letter writing tips in her Wall Street Journal article:

  • Create a custom cover letter—even though it is time consuming
  • Reread the job posting and do your homework.
  • Research who is hiring for the position, so you can personalize the letter.
  • Begin your cover letter with an attention-grabbing first paragraph.
  • Avoid exclamation points and adverbs.
  • Differentiate it from your resume.
  • Play up your relevant skills.
  • Emphasize what you can do for the company.
  • Finish the letter with why you want to work for the company.
  • Take the time to review before hitting send.

Pay close attention to the first paragraph

Here are some ways to capture attention in the first paragraph, according to a Career Directors International tip sheet:

Drop a name.

Don’t underestimate the strength of social obligation in a job search. With this approach, you can provide the name of the referring person or a mutual connection, but make sure they are comfortable with you doing so. This approach can also explain your relationship to the organization and describe your motivation for applying for the job. For example, a family legacy in the company or industry and a desire to carry that legacy forward.

Cite recent company news.

Was the company recognized recently? Including a “congratulations” for a recent accomplishment will communicate that you are up to date on the company’s goings-on and sincerely interested in the company. If the reader was recently quoted in a publication, mentioning the quote in the cover letter can create a connection between you and the reader.

Start with a question.

Asking a question grabs employers’ attention regarding your unique value and offerings while meeting the company’s strategic objectives. For example, “Are you seeking a Client Service Operations Manager with a passion for innovation and proven track record in driving high customer satisfaction?”

Have a little fun.

Keep the cover letter very people-friendly and draw out personality while upselling your qualifications. This approach is unique because many cover letters repeat qualifications in a mundane manner and do not bring out the candidate’s personality. For example, rather than starting a cover letter with the typical “I’d love to join your team” mantra, change things up and begin with the likes of, “Your team motto rocks!”

My tips to write a knockout resume cover letter

You want your cover letter to position you as a good hiring choice , and you want people to actually read it, along with your attached resume.

Customize the salutation.

Send it to an actual person, putting their name in the salutation. “Dear Sir”, “Dear Madam”, or “To Whom It May Concern” won’t do.

Identify people at your target companies, or those associated with them, to whom you’ll send your letter, with your attached resume or other appropriate materials.

Personalize the letter for the employer.

Customize it for each employer. One sure way to have your letter overlooked is to use a template, sending generic content to each employer.

A cover letter is an opportunity to zero in on your ability to solve specific problems that company is experiencing . . . even more specifically than you will in your targeted resume.

For added oomph, mention each company by name within the body of the letter once or twice.

Don’t just rehash your resume.

Simply rehashing your resume in the cover letter can have a negative impact.

Your cover letter should be regarded and written as one more stand-alone personal marketing piece in your brand communications plan, supporting your brand and good-fit qualities for the company.

Use job descriptions, if possible.

Even though I don’t advise spending a lot of time responding to job boards, there is good reason the peruse job descriptions.

Well-written job descriptions that look like a good mutual fit are valuable resources for composing cover letters that will hit home.

Use the same keywords in your cover letters, providing specific examples of your contributions and expertise, matching their needs with your promise of value in those areas.

Get some vibrancy and energy in there.

Generate chemistry and entice them to want to read your attached resume, by touching on your personal brand attributes (personality, passions, motivating strengths, etc.).

Different readers require different kinds of cover letters.

The thrust of cover letters should vary to meet specific circumstances and compel specific readers. For instance, a cold-call letter may have a different focus and read a bit differently than a referral letter.

Some cover letter content can be re-used.

Because you’re focusing your search towards one kind of job, you may be able to re-use some of your cover letter messaging from one letter to the next, customizing the introductory paragraph and elsewhere as needed.

Point people to your most important assets.

Since even the people who insist on cover letters will probably just skim over them, make the 3-4 most important things about your good-fit stand out by using bullet points. And, just as with your resume (and LinkedIn profile), include plenty of white space to keep eyes moving down the page.

Keep it short, but impactful.

Keep it brief. Short intro, 2 or 3 qualifying paragraphs, 3 or four short bullet points, and one closing paragraph. I also like to add a P.S. that includes a compelling quote, because it will capture attention.

How to email your cover letter.

Since most resumes are sent via email, most cover letters will be, too.

Should you send your cover letter as an attachment or within the email message itself?

Unless you’re sending your cover letter and resume in response to job postings on a job board, it’s best to include your cover letter within the body of the email. This will:

  • Eliminate the possibility of an attachment landing in spam or junk mail. People often set up their incoming email to reject unknown or unauthorized messages with attachments, to avoid viruses.
  • Make it easier for people to skim through and get a feel for you before opening your attached resume. This helps you sell yourself and entice people before they even get to the real meat in your resume.

Try an old method.

An “old is new again” approach to sending your resume is to snail-mail it flat, in a 9 x 12 inch envelope, with the cover letter paper-clipped on top.

It all comes back to step one in launching any successful executive job search campaign – narrowing your search and knowing your target audience , then researching your list of target companies to determine their needs and how you can solve their problems.

More About Resumes and Executive Job Search

6 Executive Job Search Email Mistakes

Job Search Email Mistakes: Careless Email Address and Subject Line

7 Things Successful Executive Job Seekers Know

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How to craft a compelling cover letter.

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During the job application process, you should always submit a cover letter alongside your resume. This is particularly important when you’re applying for more competitive, senior positions.

A carefully crafted cover letter allows you to grab the recruiter’s attention and explain to them why you're the best candidate for the job.

But this will only happen if it’s well-written, so your cover letter needs to be persuasive, concise, and engaging. That’s a lot of pressure on just a few sentences, but getting it right will boost your chances of getting a response.

Here is how to craft a compelling cover letter, along with some top tips to increase your chances of securing an interview.

Understand how to set out your cover letter

Your cover letter should appear in the body of an email or as a message if you’re applying through a job site. You should avoid attaching your letter as a separate document, otherwise the recipient is unlikely to read it.

It’s also important that you keep your cover letter short and sweet, remembering that recruiters are busy people and they have to review a lot of applications every day.

With that in mind, it’s best to stick to between 4 and 6 short and snappy sentences.

Make your subject line appealing

The first thing the recruiter will see when they open their inbox is the subject line and a bad subject can instantly ruin your chances of them opening your email at all.

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Instead, you need to stand out and give them a reason to read on.

Don’t simply label the email with the job title or the phrase ‘job application’. Go one step further to prove you are the perfect candidate in just a few words.

What this means is providing a subject line that is a short summary of your experience. For example, ‘project manager with 15 years experience’ or ‘web developer with JavaScript experience’.

Kick-off with a strong introduction

The purpose of your cover letter is to engage the reader instantly and make them want to review your resume and get to know more about you.

So you need to kick off with a strong introduction.

This means addressing the recipient by their name, whether that’s the hiring manager or the employer. You might need to do a little research to find this information, either using the job description, LinkedIn, or the company website.

You should also try to steer clear of overly formal greetings like “Dear sir/madam” and instead, take a professional but friendly tone starting with ‘hello’ or ‘hi’.

Next, your introductory sentence should outline which role you're applying for and demonstrate what makes you the most suitable candidate for the role.

Crafting a compelling cover letter can be the key to securing your next role.

Showcase your most relevant skills and experience

It can be tricky to know what to include in your cover letter , but the body of your email (or message) should be made up of three or four sentences that highlight your key skills and experience.

You can use the job description to determine which skills and abilities are most important to the employer. That way, you can highlight these and show them what you have to offer.

You should also provide examples from past roles that prove how your previous experience has shaped you and made you the ideal candidate.

Just remember that you only have a few sentences in which to impress them, so first focus on any requirements that are essential to the job. That way, the reader can instantly see that you’re a good fit.

This will encourage them to open your resume.

End with a strong call to action

You should conclude your letter by once again expressing your enthusiasm for the role and stating your desire to secure a personal interview.

Remember, recruiters are busy people, so it’s also important to thank them for taking the time to read and consider your application.

Proofread your letter very carefully

Once you've finished writing your cover letter, you need to proofread it thoroughly to make sure there are no errors. In fact, it’s best to do this several times.

A polished and compelling cover letter should not have any spelling or grammatical mistakes.

This looks unprofessional and sloppy, so take the time to re-read your application. You might even consider using an online spell checker or have a friend or family member review your letter before you send it off, just to be sure.

A well-structured cover letter, complete with tailored, impactful writing is the key to standing out in a crowded job market, and help you to land a job quicker than the average time of 3.8 months.

So, if you hope to secure an interview, be sure to use these tips and insights to craft an engaging and compelling cover letter. It may only be a few sentences long, but it really can give you a competitive edge.

Andrew Fennell

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How To Write a Cover Letter With Examples

Cover Letter Do's and Dont's

Cover letters can help differentiate you from other job applicants and be the determining factor of landing your dream job. By taking the time to craft a custom cover letter, a single sheet of paper can help communicate all the human elements that a resume may fall short of capturing about yourself. 

But what do employers and recruiters have to say about how to write a cover letter? What are the best tips they have to offer for graduate students who are writing a cover letter?

We asked 11 employers for their best cover letter tips. Here is what they had to share.

Let it Set the Stage

In many ways, cover letters should provide background information and context to your resume, while simultaneously addressing how that resume addresses the specific requirements of the job opportunity. The cover letter is your opportunity to "set the stage" and to convince the hiring manager why your specific set of skills, experiences and interests will provide value to their team and its objectives.

Andrew Horrigan '11 BSBA (Management Information Systems), Product Manager at Cisco

Research the Hiring Manager

If possible, find out who the hiring manager is and look them up on LinkedIn. Do your research on the company you're applying for. What's their mission statement and how do they portray their company culture? Hopefully what you're looking for in a job is reflected by those things. Make sure the hiring manager knows that and understands who you are and what drives you. A resume is often about as robotic as things can be. Make sure your cover letter is the opposite—personalize it and let yourself shine through.

Joshua Schlag ’05 BS (Computer Science) ’11 MBA, Digital Marketing Manager at Pyramid Analytics

Utilize Career Development Resources

The University of Arizona and Eller College of Management go to great lengths to make sure students are prepared for their impending career journey. Because cover letters are so important to getting your foot in the door, there are several career development resources online and on campus to take advantage of. The university’s cover letter builder serves as a nice template to get started. And of course, it never hurts to make an appointment with an Eller Career Coach through eSMS to have a professional review your letter before submission. 

Brett Farmiloe, ’06 BSBA (Accounting), Founder, Featured

Discover Past Samples of the Position

Do your research on the company and personalize your cover letter to the role for which you are applying. Don't be afraid to Google, "How to write a good cover letter for X position." Seriously, it helps! There is so much information out there from various perspectives—applicants, hiring managers, etc. Most importantly be yourself and let your personality come through. And don't forget to spell check!

Mariam Nikola '17 MS MIS, Consultant at Point B

Highlight Your Soft Skills

When writing a professional cover letter, there are a couple things you can do to set yourself apart from the pack. First, make sure you tailor your letter to the specific position you are applying for. This should not be a general, "one size fits all" letter—be sure to discuss specific details surrounding the role or the company itself. Secondly, this is an opportunity for you to show a little bit of your personality. Obviously, you want to remain professional, but this is a great time to highlight some of your soft skills that might not be fully conveyed through your resume.  

Brian Ellis ’17 BSBA (Management), Staffing Manager at Randstad Office and Administrative Professionals

Fill in the “Why” Gaps

As a talent advisor, I review a lot of applicants and agree that a cover letter can be a great way to stand apart, if it is done correctly. A great cover letter for me covers the ‘why’ that I cannot understand from just a resume alone. It should clearly state why you are interested in the role, what your goals are for utilizing your graduate degree (if recently graduated) and explain any career pivots reflected on your resume. If you answer those questions in a direct, concise manner it will add value to your application.

Monica Larson , ’11 BSBA (Marketing) ‘20 MBA, Talent Advisor

Tell Your Story

A cover letter is your opportunity to tell your story—tying your experience and personal interests into why you want a position and why you are the best candidate for it. Paint the picture of your journey and what about the position excites you personally and professionally. Similar to your resume, keep it short and sweet. No need to repeat what’s already on your resume. Recruiters and hiring managers don’t have time to comb through a novel, so you need to engage them with as few words as possible while also grabbing their attention.

Kelly Castoro, ’06 BA (Spanish, Portuguese), Project Manager at Squarespace

Tailor Each Cover Letter to the Position You Are Applying

Be sure to research the role and customize your cover letter for each position, relating your experience to the particular role you are applying for. Personalization is key—research who you are sending the cover letter to and address the letter to them directly. End your letter with a call to action, stating you will follow up by phone or email if you haven’t heard from anyone. Follow ups are very important! 

Jessica Rosenzweig, ’15 BSBA (Business Management), Account Manager at PeopleWare Staffing

Communicate Bankability and Personality 

Your cover letter answers two crucial questions; are you bankable and are you someone the company will enjoy working with? Communicate bankability with your knowledge of the company, industry and why your skills, capabilities and interests are a great fit. Share your passion for their mission, culture, brand—whatever excites you about becoming a member of their team.  

When conveyed through a concise, well-formulated, well-worded cover letter, you demonstrate the ability to write an effective business case—communicating that you are a ready professional and worthy teammate who will hit the ground running.

Theresa L Garcia, ’83 BSBA (Human Resources), Senior Change Management and Organization Capability Consultant at Boeing

Keep it Concise but Compelling

A cover letter is your chance to speak directly to the hiring team and tell them why you are not only the best match for the position for which you are applying but also give them additional insight into yourself as an individual that is less visible from your experience.

A great cover letter should be attention grabbing and touch upon the qualities that make you stand out from others in the applicant pool, highlight both your recent and most distinguished accomplishments and drive home why you are the right person for the job. Professionalism is always important, but don’t be hesitant to put your voice into the letter to let your personality shine through. Research the company, understand where they currently are, where they are going and show why you are the right person to get them from point A to point B. Recruiters spend a lot of time reviewing applicants and making yourself stand apart from the crowd is key. Keep it concise but compelling!

Matt Reineberg, ’14 BSBA (Marketing), Senior Talent Acquisition Sourcer at Cox Enterprises

Highlight the “Why”

Why are you applying to this company? Why do you want this position? Your cover letter should aim to answer the why behind applying for the job. Conveying an interest and excitement for working specifically for this job at this company, rather than a desire to get any job anywhere that will give you money, can go a long way. Show the company that they should hire you and your passion over someone that might have the skills needed for the job, but doesn’t care about the work as much as you do. 

Ryan Nouis, Trupath 

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Medicare plans can now cover Wegovy for patients at risk of heart disease

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Carmel Wroth, photographed for NPR, 22 January 2020, in Washington DC.

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do executives need a cover letter

Wegovy, a semaglutide medication, will be covered by Medicare. George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

Wegovy, a semaglutide medication, will be covered by Medicare.

For the first time, Medicare will allow coverage of one of the new blockbuster weight-loss drugs for enrollees in Part D plans.

The plans may now cover Wegovy when prescribed to prevent heart attacks and strokes, according to a new policy issued this week from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Wegovy is a GLP-1 agonist, a class of obesity drugs promising a sea change in weight loss. They act on hormones and the brain to drastically reduce appetite, among other things.

But Medicare is prohibited from paying for weight-loss treatments so seniors have had to pay out of pocket for the drugs or use supplemental insurance. In early March, the Food and Drug Administration expanded the approval of Wegovy to say the drug can be used to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack and stroke in people with cardiovascular disease and either overweight or obesity.

In clinical trials, Wegovy was found to reduce risks of cardiovascular events by 20% in higher weight patients.

That finding prompted CMS to change its Medicare Part D drug program to cover Wegovy, although it noted that this applies only for those patients struggling with both weight and heart disease. In other words, the injections, which can cost well over $1,000 a month out of pocket, will not be covered for enrollees only seeking to lose weight.

The new guidance also applies to state Medicaid plans, which also would be required to cover Wegovy for patients with both higher weight and heart disease risk.

Obesity doctor Angela Fitch says that the move to cover it even for a limited subset of patients is still significant. She's president of the Obesity Medicine Association, a group that advocates for treatment.

"It's certainly a big step forward, compared to no coverage at all," she says. "At least now we'll have coverage for those people who have a known history of heart disease," she says. "So hopefully that will trickle down into covering it for everybody with overweight and obesity."

And, Fitch notes, Medicare sets the standard for coverage in insurance generally, so this move could ultimately affect more patients. "My hope would be that commercial insurance would follow."

In a statement, a CMS spokesperson said: "CMS is committed to ensuring that people have access to treatments and treatment options that improve health outcomes."

The Medicare guidance could also expand the use of other similar medicines. It states that anti-obesity medications that receive FDA approval for an additional condition other than weight-management alone, can be considered a Part D drug for that specific use. For example, if one of the drugs receives FDA approval to treat diabetes or prevent cardiovascular disease, Medicare part D plans may cover it for that use.

However CMS specified they may also require prior authorizations to ensure that is being used only for the approved use.

In a statement, Wegovy's maker Novo Nordisk said it was "encouraged" by the new guidance from CMS but said it hopes to see Part D coverage expanded for "obesity medicines when used for chronic weight management."

The drug maker is among those pushing for Congress to expand coverage of treatments for obesity.

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  3. Your Guide to Writing Executive Cover Letters

    Plus, regardless of whether the job is posted or not, two-thirds of hiring managers and executives do read cover letters. Better safe than sorry when it comes to those kinds of numbers. However, many executives may think that they don't need a cover letter because they already know the prospective employer who will be reviewing their resume.

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    The hiring manager wants to hear about those wins. Fortify your sales executive cover letter with quantified facts to prove your sales prowess and that you're a force to be reckoned with when it comes to spurring profit growth. Examples include "drove costs down by 18%" and "increased the subscriber base by 36.8%.".

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    Executive Cover Letter Example Paragraph (Chief Information Officer) "Having successfully implemented multiple comprehensive business solutions as the lead technical consultant at Futuristic Inc., I am confident that I have the skills and experience that your company can count on for further business development.". 3.

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    4. Showcase your leadership abilities in three lines or less. Using language such as "oversaw," "directed," "executed," "delivered," and "owned" will make your cover letter stronger. Including two to three sentences about your abilities to lead others, lead departments, or lead a company will showcase you as a strong executive.

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    Finance Cover Letter. Financial Analyst Cover Letter. Marketing Coordinator Cover Letter. Marketing Manager Cover Letter. McKinsey Cover Letter. Office Manager Cover Letter. Or see all our cover letter examples: Best Cover Letters for All Jobs. For starters, take a look at these two executive cover letter examples. 1.

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    Here are some steps that you can follow to write a cover letter for an executive role: 1. Gather information. Before you write your cover letter, gather as much information as you can about the company you plan to apply to. Including details in your letter that show you understand the position and the business can make your letter more ...

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    And, along with your resume, your cover letter will probably be sent through their ATS. Make it easy to read and with plenty of white space. Break up the content into 3-4 paragraphs of no more than 4-5 lines. Keep it to around 200-250 words. Many ATS can only accommodate 250 words in a cover letter.

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

    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.

  15. How to Write an Executive Cover Letter (Example Included)

    You can follow these steps to write your own: 1. Use a business letter format. A business letter format is professional and often used for formal communications to and from businesses. It can help draw attention to your cover letter and its contents. To write a cover letter using this format, you can use 2.5cm margins and left-align your text ...

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    What optional really means. If a job posting says submitting a cover letter is optional, take this to mean that a cover letter would be a welcomed addition to your application and also, take it as an opportunity to show the employer not only your initiative but your writing skills. An optional cover letter ultimately leaves the decision up to ...

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    When you respond to job board postings, you probably won't need a cover letter (unless the application requires one). But that job search strategy is not the best way to land a good-fit executive job. The vast majority of executive jobs (especially those at the c-suite and other senior levels) come through networking your way into your target ...

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    Cover letter format. Your cover letter should be one page long and use a simple, professional font, such as Arial or Helvetica, 10 to 12 points in size. Your letter should be left-aligned with single spacing and one-inch margins. Video: When and Why to Write a Cover Letter - Plus, Top Tips for Formatting.

  21. Premium & Free Executive Cover Letter Examples in 2024

    Here's a short cover letter example to get you started: Dear Mr. Smith, Over the course of my [X] years of experience, I have always found that I have a natural talent for management. When I was a low-level worker, I typically took leadership roles when available. When I moved into management, I quickly improved market share in the local area ...

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    Here's a short cover letter example to get you started: Dear Mr. Smith, Over the course of my [X] years of experience, I have always found that I have a natural talent for management. When I was a low-level worker, I typically took leadership roles when available. When I moved into management, I quickly improved market share in the local area ...

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    Cover Letters. Cover letters are arguably the one of the most underutilized sections in proposals. Your cover letter should sit directly after the cover page but before the table of contents (unless otherwise stated in the RFP). Because this is the first written section of the proposal, the cover letter is the perfect opportunity to make a ...

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    Kick-off with a strong introduction. The purpose of your cover letter is to engage the reader instantly and make them want to review your resume and get to know more about you. So you need to kick ...

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    Tell Your Story. A cover letter is your opportunity to tell your story—tying your experience and personal interests into why you want a position and why you are the best candidate for it. Paint the picture of your journey and what about the position excites you personally and professionally. Similar to your resume, keep it short and sweet.

  26. Medicare Part D can cover Wegovy now for preventing heart disease

    The plans may now cover Wegovy when prescribed to prevent heart attacks and strokes, according to a new policy issued this week from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Wegovy is a GLP ...