Executive Cover Letter Examples and Tips for 2024

Charlotte Grainger
Charlotte Grainger

10 min read

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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

  • Greeting 

  • Introduction/hook 

  • Main paragraphs 

  • Conclusion 

  •  Sign-off

 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: 

  1. It includes a professional letter format

  2. The heading matches the resume

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

  4.   It includes a professional greeting

  5. 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.

Expert Tip

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.

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Charlotte Grainger

Written by

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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