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How to Write a Cover Letter for the Vice President Post

by Mary Bauer, studioD

After anguishing over your resume to make it perfect, it’s tempting to write a simple, “Please read the enclosed resume” style cover letter. Or, if you’re applying for lots of jobs, it’s tempting to come up with a generic letter that you can shoot out with every resume. Hiring managers expect a lot more from a candidate at the vice presidential level. Make your cover letter attention-grabbing and tailor it to the company to stand out among the flood of applications that the hiring manager has to sort through.

The Opening Paragraph

The first line of your cover letter is your sales pitch. “I would like to be considered for the position of…” doesn’t tell the reader why you are the best candidate. Look carefully at the job advertisement and pick one or two key skills the position requires, then craft an opening line that shows how you can make a difference. You must prove you are vice presidential material by demonstrating past impact, such as, “At Acme IT Solutions, I managed a sales team that increased revenue by 300 percent and decreased expenses by 15 percent. I’m looking forward to bringing similar results to your team.” Use the rest of the paragraph to state clearly what position you’re applying for and how many years of relevant experience you have.

Lining up Your Skills with the Job Requirements

Since the hiring manager is looking for someone with specific qualifications, make her work easier by highlighting your experience and skills that match the requirements specified in the job advertisement. Devote a short paragraph to a succinct overview of your career. Some experts suggest bullet points describing specific achievements that line up with the qualifications for the position. Make sure each bullet contains a statement about the impact of your efforts; don't simply state that you carried out a specific duty.

The Wrap Up

The way you close your cover letter is almost as important as how you open it. At the vice presidential level, the company expects you to be polite but proactive. Don’t simply thank the reader for his time and attention. Indicate that you expect to get an interview, either by saying that you look forward to describing your experience in more detail, or by stating that you will follow up with a phone call during a certain time frame.

Common Mistakes

Don’t use a generic opener to your letter, such as “To whom it may concern” or “Dear sir/madam.” Companies expect vice presidential candidates to demonstrate resourcefulness and social savvy. Check the company’s website to find out who the hiring manager, or head of human resources is, and address the letter to her by name. Similarly, a cover letter that fails to indicate any knowledge of the company’s performance and problem areas looks weak. Do Internet searches to track the company’s performance and ongoing projects. Make some mention of these in your letter. Indicating how you can help address the company's current challenges shows that you're knowledgeable and able to help the company solve problems.

About the Author

A retired federal senior executive currently working as a management consultant and communications expert, Mary Bauer has written and edited for senior U.S. government audiences, including the White House, since 1984. She holds a Master of Arts in French from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Arts in English, French and international relations from Aquinas College.

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