Three Common Mistakes Made in Executive Cover Letters

Jessica H. Hernandez
7 min readAug 11, 2022

Cover letter writing can be tough. If you’re looking for an excuse not to write one, well, I have bad news — that excuse might save you from writing a cover letter, but it could cost you a job.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’re probably familiar with my advice that yes, executives do need to write a cover letter as part of your job application. This survey from Robert Half backs me up on that — 90% of executives say that cover letters are important to them for making a hiring decision. A well-written cover letter can go a long way in distinguishing you from other candidates and help make you memorable to an executive recruiter or hiring manager. When you’re applying for an executive position, you need to be memorable — there will be plenty of other candidates with an impressive work history competing with you.

So what makes a cover letter well-written as opposed to badly written? What makes an executive cover letter memorable? And what are the most common mistakes people make in their executive cover letters?

Start making your cover letter well-written and memorable by avoiding these three common cover letter mistakes: failing to capture attention immediately, making the cover letter about yourself, and repeating yourself.

Failing to Capture Attention Immediately

As someone applying for an executive-level or C-suite position, you are well aware of how busy people can be. Hiring managers and executive recruiters are no exception. Because of this, you need to capture their attention immediately with the first sentence of your cover letter. If you don’t, why would they keep reading? They might skim a cover letter that starts out boring or irrelevant to their needs, but they certainly won’t give the same attention to a letter that is compelling right from the start. To keep them reading, you need a great cover letter with a great opening line. You might know you’re their ideal candidate, but you need to convince them of that. Don’t lose their interest before you’ve even started convincing them.

Jessica H. Hernandez

A nationally recognized and award-winning executive resume writer, Jessica H. Hernandez is President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast.