How Are Cover Letters Formatted? (Career Advice)

Writing a cover letter is an art form. It’s also a chance for you to shine as a candidate and show that you’re motivated, enthusiastic, and well-prepared for the position in question. But if your cover letter isn’t formatted properly, all of those good things can be lost on potential employers. So how do you format your cover letter? Here are some tips:

Keep It Succinct

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that a cover letter should be succinct. The person reading it has already read your resume, so you don’t need to repeat anything there. 

Your cover letter shouldn’t be more than one page long and should stick to the point without going on any tangents or rambling on about your skills or experience too much. If you can’t say something succinctly, then maybe it’s not worth saying at all!

When writing a cover letter, consider what kind of information would help someone decide whether they want to interview you or not. 

Think about what kind of questions might come up during an interview that relates to your skills and qualifications; then make sure those are mentioned in some way in your application materials (whether it’s through bullet points or another document).

Write Something Unique

Your cover letter should be unique. No one wants to read a cover letter that sounds like words and phrases from every other cover letter they’ve ever read. 

So make sure you mention why you want the job, why you are a good fit for the job, and why you want to work for this company specifically. Also, explain how your experience makes you stand out as someone who can excel in this position.

Be clear about what benefits hiring managers will get when they choose to hire you over anyone else applying for their open position. You will need to show them how valuable having access to your skillset could be and how even just one day of work with them would be worth their while!

Include The Position And Where You Saw It

The first paragraph of your cover letter should include the job title and name of the company, as well as where you saw it. For example:

“I would like to apply for the position of Customer Service Representative at Ace Auto Parts. I came across this job posting on [website]. It was recommended by [name].”

The second paragraph should briefly introduce yourself without going into too much detail (you can include more information about yourself in the third paragraph).

To Whom Should You Address The Cover Letter?

Address it to the hiring manager. If you don’t know who that is, address it to the HR manager (or equivalent). If you don’t know either of those people, address it to the hiring manager’s boss.

Keep It Businesslike And Professional

Use a professional email address. This can be something like, or you could use if you don’t have access to an official company email account.

Use a professional salutation. No “hey there” or “dear,” please! Stick to Mr., Mrs., Ms., and Dr.; this is appropriate for all job seekers regardless of gender identity (and always includes the honorific).

Close with a formal closing, such as “Sincerely,” “Best regards,” or “In gratitude.” Never end with something casual like “Yours truly,” especially if you’re applying for a job where this would sound inauthentic like if you were applying for an administrative assistant position at an accounting firm and not looking to be addressed as “Yourself” by your employer every single day of work life!

Sign off with a signature that includes both name and title: “[Your Name], [Job Title]” (e.g., “Jane Smith, Sales Associate”). 

This formality signals that we take our responsibilities seriously; it shows that we’re prepared for success in whatever position we’re applying for because no one wants to hire someone who isn’t ready for what comes next (hint nudge!).

Use A Standard Font

You want to make sure that your font is readable, so it’s best to stick with a standard font. The most common ones are Times New Roman, Arial, and Calibri. You can also download free fonts from Microsoft or Adobe that will work great for resumes and cover letters as well.

Don’t use fancy or hard-to-read fonts like Comic Sans or Papyrus because they won’t look professional, even if they do make you smile! The employer may not take you seriously if they have to squint just to read what you’ve written down on paper (or computer screen).

Be Formal But Show Your Personality In A Limited Way

To write an effective cover letter, you must be formal but show your personality in a limited way. The best way to accomplish this is by using a standard font and cover letter template. If you have trouble coming up with the perfect words for your letter, try writing it out on paper first and then putting it into the computer as a draft.

Once you’ve created your final draft, make sure that it stays short no more than one page long if possible, and professional. Do not use too many fancy words or jargon terms the person reading your letter doesn’t need any extra knowledge! This also means avoiding slang (i.e., “I’m like totally awesome at [insert job skill]”).

Use A Template If It Helps You To Keep Focused

If you’re having trouble keeping it all straight, or if you want to make sure that your letter contains all the information relevant to your application, use a template.

You can customize the template by adding and removing sections as needed. For example, if you don’t have any work experience yet but are applying for an internship, then leave out Section 4 (Experience). 

Or if you’ve worked at three different companies in the same field since college graduation and want to emphasize your most recent position, include only Sections 1-3.

Use this as a guide when filling out each section:

Section 1: Address information such as name/title of person receiving a cover letter (if applicable), company name and contact information, city/state where the company is located (if applicable), and best email address for contact purposes.

Section 2: Introduce yourself by including your full name (first and last), mailing address, and phone number(s). 

Be sure not to include confidential information like your social security number; instead, write “see resume” above this area so that hiring managers know where else they can find what they need about who you are without divulging sensitive information themselves! 

You may also wish to list other contact info such as your LinkedIn handle here just be sure once again not to share anything personal like birthdate or marital status unless specifically requested first!

Write In Paragraphs That Are No Longer Than Three To Four Sentences

To avoid making your cover letter look like a grocery list, you should write in paragraphs that are no longer than three to four sentences. Keep each paragraph limited to one thought or idea. If you find yourself writing more than four sentences per paragraph, consider breaking it up into two or more paragraphs instead.

Ask Someone Else To Read Through Your Cover Letter Before You Send It

When you are writing a cover letter, it is important to ask someone else to read through your cover letter before you send it. You need another set of eyes on the document to help make sure that it is easy to read and understand. Ask someone who has read your cover letter before or who has helped write job applications in the past. 

If you have a friend or family member who might be able to offer some feedback, then consider asking them if they could take a look at what you have written so far and offer their thoughts on how well structured it is, whether any parts could be reworked for clarity or flow better and any other suggestions they might have for improvement.

Keep Your Cover Letter Short, Unless You Have Lots Of Relevant Experience Or Expertise In A Technical Field

If you have a lot of relevant experience or expertise, you can write a longer cover letter. A good way to do this is with bullet points.

For example: “I am an experienced accountant who has worked in the financial sector for over 15 years. I have gained expertise in auditing, budgeting, and tax preparation through my work at XYZ Accounting Firm (a division of ABC Corporation). I am looking forward to applying my skills as part of your team.”

Another example: “I have been working as an electrical engineer at ABC Engineering since 2017 and am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in electrical engineering from XYZ University with hopes of completing all requirements for graduation by 2021.”

Have Your Contact Details At The Top Of The Page, Followed By The Date, Then Address It To The Hiring Manager

As a general rule, keep your cover letter to one page. Have your contact details at the top of the page, followed by the date, then address it to the hiring manager.

Use a standard font (think Times New Roman or Calibri) and make sure everything is spaced evenly. Avoid using too many fonts or colors that distract from what you’re trying to say (unless you are applying for a design job).


There are many different formats for cover letters, and the choice of which format to use depends on your personal preference and the job you are applying for. However, some general guidelines can help you make an informed decision. Take a look at this guide to cover letter formatting to learn more about the different options available to you!