Your job skills are too many to list. Company projects, strategies, policies, values, and goals are your territory as a program manager! You help plan, organize, and oversee company projects from inception to realization. You may even revise policies and plans while communicating efficiently with team members from all departments, ensuring each milestone is completed on time with optimal results for the company’s project portfolio.
As you probably know, you’ll need an excellent cover letter to land your next program manager role. If you’re already gritting your teeth at the idea of writing a cover letter to go with your program manager resume, don’t worry!
We know cover letters are far from anyone’s favorite thing, but we’re here to help. For starters, check out these three program manager cover letter examples, and stay tuned as we teach you how to use a company’s program manager job description to your advantage.
Why this cover letter works
Why this cover letter works
Why this cover letter works
You’ll need a stellar and eye-catching cover letter to get your program manager dream job. Lifeless letters get tossed aside or overlooked immediately. Researching the company will help you focus on a couple of choice achievements that best align with each specific program manager job listing and mission statement. And revising your letter until you nail the perfect tone will further position you as an ideal candidate.
So many cover letters feature the same generic information that could apply to any company—and who wants to read 10 repeats? To keep your program manager cover letter far from the “discard pile,” research the company you're applying to, so you can establish a unique connection. Then, tailor your cover letter accordingly.
Confidently answer the job description’s call by pulling and referencing specific skills, buzzwords, or phrases that apply. The requirements and word choices in the job ad can also give you valuable hints on which metrics might be the most appropriate to include in your cover letter.
Read the job description carefully and take notes on anything that stands out as something you’ve done before—that way, you can easily remember concise anecdotes and impressive metrics once you start writing your cover letter. Did you spot any company obstacles during your research that were similar to something you’ve already overcome, such as the need to adapt to company supply chain issues?
Click through the company’s website: We bet, with a little searching, you’ll find values, objectives, challenges, and a mission statement you can leverage to demonstrate alignment with and provide compelling examples from your professional history as a program manager. For instance, are you applying to a company that values humility in the workplace? If so, then using precise wording to reference the times you guided teams at a peer level could be ideal.
Always remember: Your program manager cover letter is not meant to simply repeat the bullet points from your resume. Anyone in a managerial position must deliver high-value information efficiently, and making a recruiter read the same things twice wouldn’t be a good start. So, pick one or two achievements; then, go beyond the bullet-point overview to speak to your actions as well as your results.
For example, were you a program manager in retail, guiding multiple departments through the creation of a new product line, delighting customers worldwide? How did your analytical and strategic thinking help you create a fresh project development plan that reduced manual labor within your previous company? Did you happen to oversee a successful portfolio project that’s similar to one of the company’s current initiatives? Now’s the time to talk about it!
As a program manager, your optimal cover letter needs a bit more than a customized response to the job listing and some key examples of your accomplishments. You have a lot of value to showcase in less than one page, so don’t shirk revision. You can’t afford to leave any typos or formatting errors unfixed—and you’ll need to polish up your tone to ensure that your message gets across the right way.
The tone of your cover letter plays an extremely important part in showing you are meant for this job role. Demonstrate confidence, experience, and enthusiasm with active words like “create,” “lead,” “oversee,” and so on. Additionally, showcase your managerial background by remembering to apply a proactive tone to your broadest accomplishments that left the greatest impact.
You’ll also want to pay attention to company culture while polishing the tone of your cover letter: The more corporate the company, the more formal your tone should be. On the other hand, a fashion company like Nordstrom that values creativity and a vibrant personality will likely value some extra self-expression over constricting formalities.
When recruiters and employers read your cover letter, you want them to know you’re qualified and an ideal fit for their company and teams.
Now that you’ve read three program manager cover letter examples and learned what to focus on while writing yous, let’s break it down with an outline. You’ll also get some examples of what not to do and further background on what makes a cover letter great. It’s always wise to analyze the details and gain a more in-depth understanding.
Your contact info: Include your name, address, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn or other professional social media if you’re using a template that matches your resume template.
Formatting: Leave your name out of your address whenever you use a basic block format.
304 Folk Lore St.
San Jose, CA 95112
Date: This should be the exact date when you submit your application materials.
Formatting: Write out the full date instead of shortening it.
May 27, 2022
Inside address: The “inside address” is simply the address of the person who will receive your letter. Make sure you look up their name and include it before their title.
Jessica Manning, Hiring Manager
8652 Wellington Street
Brooklyn, NY 11207
Formatting: Each part of the address should be on a new line. Double-space between the inside address and greeting.
Greeting: The greeting/salutation is your first impression, so don’t be careless here! Find the name of the employer, recruiter, or hiring manager (yes, it might take some digging on LinkedIn)—never fall back on generic, lazy terms like “Dear Sir/Madam.” (We’ve gotten these types of applications many times, and it never fails to leave a bad taste!)
Dear Ms. Manning,
Dear Ms. Zhang:
Formatting: Use a colon instead of a comma for more formal companies, but a comma will do just fine for companies that demonstrate a more casual or fun approach.
Body: Your program manager cover letter should include 3-4 paragraphs that demonstrate your interest in the position, your qualifying credentials, and an enthusiastic invitation for future discussion.
Opening paragraph: Most cover letters are boring and generic from the get-go, but yours should be one-of-a-kind. Consider the following examples:
Bad: I’d like to work for your company. I’ve been a program manager for a long time and I’d do a good job working for you, too.
Why It’s Bad: What a bland opener! And the rest is equally vague—how long has the applicant been a program manager? No one would believe they'd do a good job based on this—what accomplishments or skills do they have to back their claims?
Good: As a long-time fan of Nordstrom’s vast style selection and a technically proficient program manager with 8+ years of experience and PMP/PgMP certifications, I’d love to apply my cross-functional planning, collaboration, and far-reaching organizational skills as your senior program manager.
Why It’s Good: This applicant’s intro addresses the company directly and establishes a personal interest in what they do—and then immediately launches into the skills that make them a great fit for the role. Directly addressing the company, relevant qualifications, and job role by name is a powerful combo!
Paragraphs 2-3: These next paragraphs should back up the claims in your introductory paragraph. Each paragraph should focus on a clear accomplishment (such as a substantial project you spearheaded) and prove it with only the most relevant metrics—you don’t have room to tackle multiple topics here.
Because I understood the inner workings of software lifecycles, I eliminated inefficiencies to save 14 hours of manual labor monthly for the software development team. I also analyzed customer feedback, testing data, and KPIs to bridge gaps among project teams and expedite the output of usable, scalable solutions, resulting in a 21-percent improvement in delivery time for new OTT Application features.
Why It’s Good: The candidate uses their experience with software development and data analysis to drive performance. And the proof is in the pudding as the numbers back up this point and demonstrate efficiency.
Closing paragraph: Since communication is key for any program manager, wrap up with a strong and concise summary of how your credentials and values match what the company needs. End with a professional and convincing call to action.
Bad: As you can see, I’d do great in you organization thanks to my skillset. I also have lots of experience. Call me if you want more information.
Why It’s Bad: Was that a typo?! It certainly wasn’t a summary of the candidate’s qualifying skills or anything that shows a genuine interest in the job position! In fact, there’s no enthusiasm or show of professionalism here at all—and shouldn’t the applicant have already addressed relevant experience by now?
Good: Gaining expertise in managing and overseeing multiple initiatives through their lifecycles has granted me the ability to think on my feet and exceed expectations in a metric-driven setting. I am eager to apply my grit and passion for learning to deliver incredible data-driven results for Appen’s global customer base, and I’m excited to further discuss this with you soon.
Why It’s Good: It’s clear this applicant has researched the company and role since this closing paragraph references key phrases and abilities from the job description. Unique wording from the company’s website makes an appearance, too—perfect! Lastly, the call to action is friendly and professional.
Formatting: Keep your body text single-spaced by default but double-spaced between paragraphs for visual clarity.
Signature: If you haven’t already thanked the reader in your closing paragraph, do so here. Sign off with your real name.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Formatting: Whenever you present hard copies of your program manager cover letter, quadruple space to leave yourself room for a pen signature in blue or black ink.
Enclosure(s): This important part of your cover letter signals that there’s more to review. Program managers should always attach their resume with their application, any professional letters of recommendation, and anything else the job description specifically requires.
2 letters of recommendation
Formatting: Choose correctly between the singular or plural form of “enclosure” depending on what you include!
You’re well on the way to an excellent program manager cover letter, but you aren’t done just yet—your resume should be just as awesome! Don’t worry: We’ve made it easy for you by providing a great variety of tools that will help you create a standout resume.
After outlining your resume, you might want to head over to our handy selection of resume templates to get started in style. Having the right template is only half the battle, so if you don’t know what to write in your resume, we also have multiple program manager resume samples, like this editable one here, that are bound to give you the inspiration you need.
Finally, be sure to check your resume and polish it to shine as beautifully as your new cover letter. The effort is worthwhile when it comes to showcasing what an ideal program manager candidate you are, and we’re cheering you on as you hunt for the perfect role!