The anatomy of a great Product Manager cover letter is more straightforward than you might think.
Here’s what to include in your Product Manager cover letter:
- Heading information (your name, contact information, and the date)
- An appropriate greeting
- A compelling introduction
- Body paragraphs (you’ll want roughly two of these)
- A memorable closing line and sign off
Want to learn how to put together a memorable Product Manager cover letter that will put your best foot forward and get you noticed? Let’s dig a little deeper.
Why Do Product Manager Cover Letters Matter?
A lot of people ask, “Do I really need a cover letter?” The simple answer is no. Here’s the truth: Most of the people that you interview with are not going to read your cover letter. These are the people you talk to in the first and second rounds of the interview. The people who will read your cover letter are the stakeholders who interview you towards the final round.
Many of these Hiring Managers only read the cover letters of applications and ignore resumes. Why?
At the later stages of the Product Manager interview process, you’ve already been vetted. You’ve answered the rudimentary first-round questions and demonstrated your competence. But don’t underestimate the power of culture fit. At the end of the day, people want to hire someone they can envision themselves working happily with — someone they like. This is where your Product Manager cover letter can make or break.
What Is a Product Manager Cover Letter?
You can’t tell what kind of person someone is by reading bullet points on a resume. A resume is a fact sheet. A Product Manager cover letter, on the other hand, is a narrative. It’s your opportunity to craft a compelling story about yourself and showcase the kind of leader, contributor, and thinker you will be for the company.
Think about it this way: as a Product Manager, you’re going to be crafting stories day in and day out. You’ll be telling the story of your customers to your development team and stakeholders, and at the same time, you’ll be figuring out what narrative of your product to present to customers to convince them to buy. At the heart of the Product Manager role is the product, but the heart of the product? It’s people, every time. Product Managers live and breathe customer empathy and must be master communicators.
Are you starting to see why your Product Manager cover letter might be an important piece of your application?
Here’s the best Product Manager cover letter tip we can give you: on your job hunt, treat yourself like the product and be a Product Manager.
The Best Product Manager Cover Letter Outline
Before we dive into writing a great Product Manager cover letter, take a moment to refine your personal pitch. This is the concise story you’ll give in answer to the “tell me about yourself” interview question. It’s a narrative that frames your experience and skills in the best possible light, and it requires a bit of thought to get right.
Having that narrative together and taking the time to think it through is going to prepare you for the more technical task of writing the best Product Manager cover letter. Once you’ve tackled that, you’re ready to build the cover letter following the steps below.
1. The Heading
Aesthetics matter for the product management role, and that begins right at the application stage. A heading gives your cover letter an organized look. Plus, it puts all the information your Hiring Manager needs to keep track of (like your name and contact information) right at the top of the page. You’ll want to make sure the heading format and the information included in your cover letter match that of your resume.
Here’s what should go in your PM cover letter heading:
- Your name
- Email address
- Mailing address
- Phone number
- LinkedIn URL
2. The Greeting
Should you address the Hiring Manager directly in your Product Manager cover letter? Contrary to what you might think, no. Start with a simple “Dear Hiring Manager”.
Consider how much time you might spend researching and confirming the correct name and form of address for one application. Then consider that your cover letter might be read by a handful of different stakeholders at the company at different levels.
It is easier, quicker, and cleaner to use the “Dear Hiring Manager” greeting. It’s such a widely accepted and professional format: why wouldn’t you?
3. The Introduction
A good way to launch into your letter is by including a one-liner. You want to grab their attention and keep it so that your application is memorable, but you don’t want to get too complicated. Keep it short and simple. Some examples you can use:
I’m a big fan of what you guys are doing at X company.
I’m writing to express my interest in the product manager position
4. The Body of Your Cover Letter
The body will make up the bulk of your cover letter. You’ll want two or three short paragraphs before signing off.
In the first paragraph, you want to introduce yourself and end with something strong. You can talk about some kind of hard or analytical skill you have, or end with something that shows business impact such as money or time saved.
The second paragraph should be used to talk more specifically about the skills you have in a compelling way. Hint: When we say compelling, we mean you should avoid generic and overused phrases like “team-player”, “self-starter”, and the like. In your second paragraph, use examples and focus on what sets you apart.
Your final paragraph should communicate something about you on a more personal, culture-fit level. Reiterate your interest in the company and the position: remind them of your passion. Bring it all home with a strong ending line about what you bring to the table.
5. The Sign-off
In the case of your PM cover letter, your sign-off doubles as a subtle call to action. Your closing line reminds them why they should hire you, and the sign-off prompts them to do so. Here are some examples:
- Hope to hear from you soon
- I look forward to hearing from you
- Thank you for your time and consideration
Then, of course, sign your name. You might opt to include a digital signature if you want to make things a little fancy.
Cover Letter Templates
In this video, our co-founder Rich walks you through several Product Manager cover letter templates. We’ve highlighted what to use and what to avoid, so you can find a structure that works for your story:
Product Manager Cover Letter Example Paragraphs
Always remember to be assertive and keep it short — your letter should not take more than one and a half minutes to go through.
First paragraph example:
I’m a strong candidate for this position because I bring thought leadership to the product management function and I can drive product management development process in a results-oriented, fast-paced environment. You’re going to find me to be a customer-obsessed team player who has demonstrated the ability to use qualitative consumer insights and quantitative data to back up assumptions and develop business cases. As a Product Manager for my current company, my understanding of the pain points and the successes of our product lines resulted in over a million in gross annual savings and major releases ahead of schedule.
Paragraph two example:
In addition, I’ve over six years of experience designing polished mobile products and deep knowledge of iOS and Android patterns…
Lastly, end with something about you:
Bringing customer-centric approaches and delightful products to the market are my passions. I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Product Manager Cover Letter Tips: How to Write a Great Cover Letter
Similar to writing a great Product Manager resume, there are a few extra steps you can take to bring your cover letter to the next level:
- Proofread. Did you finish writing your cover letter? Great job. Now walk away and come back later with fresh eyes to double-check that grammar.
- Match your resume. When you submit your application, your resume and cover letter are sent in as a branded package. Make sure the margins, fonts, sizes, and essential information (like your contact info) match.
- Fonts: You should be using a 12 pt font size. Wondering what font to pick? Keep it clean and simple, but consider your personal branding. For example, Times New Roman is standard, and that’s a bad thing in this case.
- Margins and Spacing: If you have to work to cram everything onto a page, your cover letter is too long. Use one-inch margins and 1.15 font spacing to make sure your cover letter looks clean and is easy to read.
Let Your Product Manager Cover Letter Sell You
So should you include a cover letter in your applications? Absolutely. Understand that there are people less qualified who are outcompeting other Product Managers because they are a better culture fit. Don’t miss out on showing a company this with your cover letter.
One of the things we do at Product Gym is really nail down the cover letter — because if there is one single determinant of how people-centered you are, this is it.
At Product Gym, we spill the beans on all our cover letter techniques and walk you through crafting a cover letter that really stands out from the crowd. With our expert-led skills courses and our interviews with Product Leads at top companies, we’ve distilled the exact skills recruiters look out for. Combined with our tried-and-tested methodology, our members leave a lasting impression with their cover letters — and they have 3-5 job offers in as little as 45 days to show for it.
Book a discovery call to learn more about how our interview coaches can help you craft the perfect product management cover letter for the companies you are applying to.