On average, every job opening receives 250 applications from interested candidates, and of all these people, only 4–6 are shortlisted for interviews. So what sets these shortlisted candidates apart from the rest? What makes a candidate's profile stand out amidst the clutter? What is it that they get right and others don't? For one, an airtight resume is essential to getting it right but what will really put you over the top is a customized cover letter tailored for the particular job you're applying for. A cover letter is an additional document you add to your job application and your resume. This document details why you're suitable for the job and what value you can add to the organization. When it comes to adding a cover letter with your application, you should never use the same, run-of-the-mill letter for every job. Instead, you should spend some time nailing the tone of the cover letter and customizing it to fit the organization's criterion for the job. Ultimately, this cover letter can help you connect better with your recruiter and give you a chance to showcase your skill set. Want to learn how you can do this? Here's a complete step-by-step guide to writing a winning executive cover letter.

1. Add Your Contact Details

You can add your contact details underneath your name in the header of the cover letter. Make sure to use centered text so it can grab the recruiter's attention. You must add your valid email address and phone number in this space. You can also include other contact information such as a LinkedIn profile link, website, link to portfolio, and even the pronouns you prefer.

2. Starting the Cover Letter

Once you've added the header with your essential contact information, you can start the letter by including the date and the organization's contact information. Here's the format that you can follow to get it right:
  • Name or designation of the person you're writing to/hiring team
  • Organization's name
  • Organization's street address broken up into two lines if needed
  • Organization's phone number
  • Email address of the person/team you're writing to
Once this information is added, you should get to the salutations. Try to address the hiring manager by name to personalize the letter. The best way to do it is to add a Mr/Ms before the manager's last name. Steer clear of salutations like "Dear Sir/Madam" or "To Whom It May Concern" as these are vague and generic phrases. If the job advertisement doesn't include the hiring manager's name, you can check out the organization's website or LinkedIn page to learn the name. If you can't, just address the letter to the hiring manager and mention the designation.

3. Get the Opening Paragraph Right

The introductory paragraph to your cover letter is perhaps the most important part. Not only does it set the tone for the rest of your letter, it's also one of the first few bits the recruiter reads before scanning the rest of the document. This is why it's important to add "hooks" to the introduction so that you can grab their attention and make sure they read the document in its entirety. You can start the introduction by listing the position you're applying for and how you found out about the position. You can also show your excitement about this opportunity by adding a personal detail that relates to the organization or the position. The tone of this paragraph will largely depend on the industry you're applying to. For example, if you're applying for a position at a law firm, you will have to keep your language formal and precise. If a current employee at the organization referred you to the job opening, you should mention their name and designation in the letter's introduction. This will quickly establish a connection with the recruitment team and add credibility to your application.

4. Describe Your Qualifications

After the introduction comes the body of the letter (typically the second and third paragraphs). This is where you'll flesh out exactly what you bring to the table. You can use this opportunity to talk about all the relevant work experience you've gathered over the years. You can also go into depth about your skills and all that you've achieved in your career. If you can, you should consider quantifying your success and how well you've achieved your goals. For example, you can talk about a project that boosted your company's sales by 10% for the quarter. If you're applying for an entry-level position and don't have any work experience, you can talk about your extracurriculars, volunteer work, or noteworthy academic achievements. Regardless of what you talk about, the key to nailing this section is to relate all your experiences with what the company is searching for. You need to tell the hiring manager how you can add value to the position. You can do this by looking at the job description posted by the company and explaining how you'll go above and beyond it.

5. Wrap It Up

You can wrap up your cover letter on a polite yet confident note while continuing to present yourself as the ideal candidate for the job. Start by reiterating how excited you are for the opportunity, state your availability to give an interview, and show gratitude to them for giving you their time. You should also use appropriate salutations to close the letter. "Sincerely" is the standard practice, but you can also use one of these:
  • Cordially
  • Kind regards/Best regards
  • Yours truly
  • Respectfully
  • Best wishes
Add a space below the salutation and write your full name. You can also add a signature to the letter if possible. Once you're done, review the letter a few times to spot any grammatical or formatting mistakes that you may have made.

Looking for a Professional Cover Letter Writing Service? We Can Help

If you want your cover letter to stand out and break the clutter, you should leave the task to professional letter writing experts. Resu Consulting is your best choice for excellent online cover letter writing services. We are an experienced executive cover letter and resume writing service based in Manassas, VA, with professional cover letter writers who will write a compelling cover letter for your job application. We also provide other quality services such as online resume writing services, career coaching, resume template design, and more to our clients. Get in touch with us today to schedule your free consultation!
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