Should I send a cover letter with my resume?”
Especially at the executive level.
You’ve worked hard throughout your career and have a wealth of experience and accomplishments to show for efforts. Having a professionally written cover letter is another critical component in marketing yourself in your job search. A top-notch letter also gives you another way to distinguish yourself as a viable candidate and helps you stand out from other similarly qualified candidates.
Even at the executive-level (CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, CTO), you are vying for the attention of decision-makers and it is mission-critical you set yourself apart by tying into the brand story touted in your resume. Here is the formula for writing a targeted, compelling cover letter.
Compelling Opening Sentence + Accomplishments + Call to Action
#1: A Compelling Opening Sentence. Open with a brief value statement that quickly conveys why you are a great fit for the position. Your opening should speak directly to the heart of the employer’s needs.
Are you in need of an Operations Strategist and Business Turnaround Expert who can re-tool your company, revive your operational performance, and drive unprecedented profitability?
Your cover letter should add another layer of interest to your candidacy and not simply repeat the data and details found in your executive resume. Craft an opening sentence that powerfully communicates who you are and the value you offer.
#2: Accelerate Interest via Accomplishments. Use the body of your cover letter to further highlight your value and connect your accomplishments to the employer’s needs by using performance metrics that speak to the results you bring. Companies hire because of their own needs and your cover letter is the vehicle used to highlight your value stories that directly link their needs with your expertise.
Your sentences need to be short and powerful and you should skip packing your cover letter with generic words, phrases, and soft skills (i.e., team player, expert communicator). Use bullet points to showcase your achievements and tailor the information according to the organization and their specific needs.
Employer Need: Overall operations of the acute-care facility
Your Value Story: Piloted health care facility to double-digit growth by providing leadership to hospital managers, directors, and officers, implementing short- and long-range goals, and encouraging active participation in decisions that impacted progress.
Throughout the cover letter, use examples of the results you bring that are in alignment with the employer’s needs, and you will become undeniable.
#3: Call to action. Many active and passive job seekers make the mistake of closing their letter with a generic ending. “I look forward to hearing from you soon.” You are going to use your closing paragraph to solidify your candidacy and re-emphasize your value. Then, you will move onto showing interest in meeting with the hiring manager. It looks something like this …
With a track record of paving the way to millions of dollars in new revenue opportunities within the field of information technology, I look forward to the possibility of chatting with you about how I can help ABC Corp. build a high-performance team focused on long-term sustainable growth.
I believe an interview is the best platform for discussing more ways I can contribute to the business growth and continued success of your organization.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
These three tips will help you create a powerful letter that will fuel the reader’s interest in you as the best candidate for the position you are applying.
Include a P.S. after your signature directing the reader to your LinkedIn profile. Statistics show as many as 79% of people who open a letter read the P.S. first.
Writing a cover letter can be even harder than writing the resume itself. Make sure yours is top-notch by using this 5-point checklist.
__ My opening line conveys the value I bring to the table and is aligned with the employer’s needs.
__ I’ve replaced long, boring lines of text with short, powerful sentences.
__ I’ve used bullet points to draw attention to performance metrics relative to the employer’s needs.
__ My letter is direct and to the point without being arrogant.
__ I’ve replaced the generic closing paragraph with a powerful call to action that reiterates my value and interest in chatting about the position.