Weighing in: Are Cover Letters Required in an Executive Job Search?
Although there is ongoing debate about how often employers actually read cover letters, I feel strongly that a cover letter should always be included as part of a job search application package – especially at the executive level.
Executive-level candidates must show complete investment in the job search process; therefore a well thought out and polished application package, complete with a stellar cover letter, is a must.
Although times are changing in regards to how information is shared (e-notes and emailed introduction letters are becoming common in job applications), the traditional resume and cover letter are still highly used and extremely valuable during a standard job search process. Where a resume allows an individual to showcase their ability to do the job – the cover letter expresses interest in the role, allows personality and principals to shine, and places personal emphasis on what the individual can offer the organization.
The cover letter is also an excellent median for relaying leadership style and personal ethics.
Overall, the cover letter is a vital tool for sharing critical career details; why waste the opportunity? A warning – at the executive career level the expectation will be even greater that the cover letter is exceptionally well written (perfectly polished, succinct in style, and presented in a formal business letter format), and that it complements the resume without repeating it. Executive-level cover letters also need to be sharp in focus and present immediate value to the reader. Finally, extra care should also be taken to ensure the cover letter is cohesive in look and branding with all other career materials.
Ultimately, it may feel like a waste of time compiling a cover letter because there is a possibility it may never be read, but if a cover letter was expected and not included it could negatively impact job search success.
As an executive – are you willing to take the risk?