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:
|Understanding the purpose and structure of a cover letter is essential for crafting an effective one.
|Customizing your cover letter to the specific job and company is important for showing that you have put thought into your application.
|Your cover letter should be concise and focused on the most important information.
|Proofreading your cover letter for typos and grammatical errors is crucial for making a good impression.
|Including a call to action in your closing can increase your chances of getting an interview.
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).
While a one-page cover letter is ideal, there are circumstances where a two-page cover letter is acceptable. Our article on can your cover letter be two pages provides insights on when it is appropriate to use a longer cover letter and how to structure it effectively.
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.
Creating a cover letter that can be used for any job requires a balance of customization and standardization. Our article on cover letter that can be used for any job outlines the key components of a versatile cover letter and how to tailor it to different job applications.
Keep It Businesslike And Professional
Use a professional email address. This can be something like firstname.lastname@example.org, or you could use email@example.com 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).
Many job seekers wonder if cover letters are still necessary. The truth is, a well-crafted cover letter can give you an edge over other candidates. Learn more about the benefits of cover letters in our article on do cover letters help and how to make sure your cover letter stands out.
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!
Formatting your cover letter correctly can help ensure that it is professional and easy to read. For tips on structuring your cover letter, including what information to include in each section, check out our article on how do I write a cover letter.
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.”
Your cover letter is often the first impression you make on a potential employer, so it’s important to get it right. Learn why a well-formatted cover letter is crucial to your job search success in our article on how cover letter is important and how to ensure that your cover letter presents you in the best possible light.
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!
How to Format a Cover Letter: Example and Tips: Indeed provides a comprehensive guide on how to format a cover letter with an example, including tips on font, spacing, and formatting.
7 Tips for Writing a Winning Cover Letter: Robert Half shares practical advice on how to write an effective cover letter, including tips on making a great first impression and customizing your letter.
How (and Why) to Write a Great Cover Letter: Columbia University’s Center for Career Education explains the purpose of a cover letter, provides tips on how to write a compelling one, and includes a sample cover letter.
What should be included in a cover letter?
Your cover letter should include your contact information, the employer’s contact information, a greeting, an introduction that states why you are applying for the job, a middle section that highlights your skills and experience, and a closing that thanks the employer for considering your application and includes a call to action.
Should I customize my cover letter for each job application?
Yes, you should customize your cover letter for each job application. Tailoring your cover letter to the specific job and company shows that you have put thought into your application and increases your chances of getting an interview.
How long should my cover letter be?
Your cover letter should be one page or less. Keep it concise and focused on the most important information.
Should I use a template for my cover letter?
Using a template can be helpful to ensure that your cover letter is well-organized and formatted correctly. However, make sure to customize the content of the letter to the specific job and company to avoid a generic or impersonal letter.
What should I avoid in my cover letter?
Avoid using generic language, cliches, or overly formal language in your cover letter. Also, make sure to proofread carefully and avoid typos or grammatical errors.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.