When writing a cover letter (as you should do each time you submit a resume as part of a job application), the layout of your letter is very important. Layout refers to the way the words are set up on the page, including headings, spacing, and font. You want to use a layout that makes your letter both easy to read and professional.
Read below for advice about how to lay out your letter, as well as a template for a cover letter.
Cover Letter Layout Tips
When laying out a cover letter, you want to follow the layout of a typical business letter.
A business letter begins with your contact information, and then the employer’s contact information.
It's important to properly space the layout of the cover letters you send, with space between the heading, the greeting, each paragraph, the closing, and your signature. Single space your letter and leave a space between each paragraph. Also, remember to left-justify your entire letter.
When selecting a font, use a simple font like Arial, Verdana, Courier New, or Times New Roman. Your font size should be no smaller than 10-pt. but no larger than 12-pt. In choosing your font size, 12 pt. is probably the best – you don’t want to irritate a hiring manager by making him or her have to squint to read your font.
How to Use a Cover Letter Template
The cover letter template below shows the layout for a typical cover letter.
Use the template to structure your own cover letter. It will give you advice on how to space your letter, what font to use, and how to justify your page.
The template also briefly describes what kind of content should go in each paragraph. Use this information to help you begin writing your own letter, tailored to reflect your own career history, professional qualifications, hard and soft skills, and your knowledge about the job and employer to which you are applying.
You can also review examples of cover letters for advice on how to word your cover letter.
When using a format or a sample letter, remember to be flexible. You can add or remove paragraphs to fit the needs of the particular job description. Also, keep in mind that your best strategy is to write a customized cover letter for each job to which you are applying. Hiring managers can tell when they’ve been sent a generic cover letter; they are more likely to be interested in candidates who have taken the time to write unique letters that specifically address the job opening they are offering.
Cover Letter Template with Layout
The first section of your cover letter should include information on how the employer can contact you.
If you have contact information for the employer, include that. Otherwise, just list your information.
This section should be single-spaced and left-justified, with a space between your contact information and your employer’s contact information.
Your Contact Information
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address
Employer Contact Information
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
Each of your body paragraphs should be single-spaced, with a space between each paragraph. The first paragraph of your cover letter should include information on the position you are applying for, including the job title. You should state how you heard about the job, and (briefly) explain why you think you are an ideal candidate for the position.
(space between paragraphs)
The next section of your cover letter should describe what you have to offer the employer. Mention why you are qualified for the job and how your skills and experience are a match for the position for which you are applying. Provide specific examples to prove your skills and experience; these examples will “pop” on the page if you provide them in a bulleted format.
(space between paragraphs)
Conclude your cover letter by thanking the employer for considering you for the position. Include information on how you will follow up with them regarding the status of your application.
Handwritten Signature (for a mailed letter)
More on Writing Cover Letters:
How to Write a Successful Cover Letter
What to Include in a Cover Letter
Sample Cover Letters
Make a great impression with a properly formatted cover letter
A properly formatted cover letter attached to your resume is a great way to show a prospective employer that you are interested in the job being offered—a cover letter may even give you a valuable advantage over other candidates.
Whether you fill out an official application provided by the employer or you are asked to send in a resume, we recommend taking the time to write a cover letter.
Remember, in addition to your resume, a cover letter is the first impression that a prospective employer will have of you—make it a good one!
Take time to present yourself professionally on paper
It is generally good practice to use a standard business letter format. Remaining within the one-page maximum, your letter should be printed on basic, white, letter-size paper and typed in a business-style font such as Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial, usually in an 11- or 12-point size. Regardless of the industry in which you seek employment, we suggest avoiding fancy colors or lettering, as this may appear unprofessional.
Remember that you want to encourage the prospective employer to review your resume with the mindset that you are a professional; you do not want him or her to be deterred by an overly casual approach.
How to format a cover letter
When you are formatting your cover letter, remember that you must include a header, an introduction, the body, and a closing. These sections can be separated into individual paragraphs. Looking at cover letter examples can sometimes help in the process of creating a properly formatted cover letter.
At the top of the letter, include your name and complete mailing address; leave some space, then add the recipient's name, title (if any), and complete mailing address. Add the current date as a separate line.
123 Spruce Avenue
Anytown, MI 12345
John Smith, Human Resources Manager
456 Maple Way
Anytown, MI 67890
23 June 2009
Following this, include a reference section (for example, RE: technical position at ABC Company). You may also wish to indicate by what means your letter was delivered, i.e., Via Fax, In Person, etc., again on a separate line.
Next, add your opening salutation; for example:
Dear Mr. Choi:
Dear Hiring Managers:
Please note that a full colon is placed after the name or title and not a comma, which is used only in casual writing.
This section should briefly indicate the position for which you are applying; here, you can also thank the employer for an earlier conversation you may have had with him or her regarding the position or indicate how you heard about the position (i.e., from a website, a newspaper ad, etc.).
Here, you will list your qualifications, experience, and any specific points of note, such as availability. You should also highlight your skills and characteristics as they pertain to the position. This part of the cover letter is all about showing the employer what you have to offer and why you're the right candidate for the job. Learn more about what to include in your letter with How to Write a Letter, an ebook available now on Amazon.
In the closing of your cover letter, thank the employer for his or her time in reviewing your application. You should also mention that you look forward to discussing the position in more detail with the employer in the near future. Ask him or her to "contact you at the number (or numbers) listed below," which will be placed after your signature at the bottom of the page.
The closing also includes the final salutation, which can be written as follows:
Note that in each case, a comma follows the final salutation. After the closing salutation, double-space and type your name. If you will be printing and mailing this letter, leave four lines between the final salutation and your typed name, which will give you room to sign your name. On the next line under your typed name, type your phone number(s), since you mentioned in your closing for him or her to contact you at the number(s) shown below.
It's important to provide a notation at the end of your cover letter stating there are additional documents in the envelope for the employer to review (i.e., your resume). The way to make this notation is as follows:
- Double-space after your contact phone number(s) and type the abbreviation Encl. (for one enclosure) or Encls. (for more than one). This section can also designate who else is receiving a copy of this letter and enclosures. This is done by double-spacing and typing cc: File, or cc: Human Resources, if applicable. This should be the final item on the page.
Here is an example of how the closing salutation would appear with all of the above included after it:
Home phone: (xxx) xxx-xxxx
Cell phone: (xxx) xxx-xxxx
cc: Human Resources
From format to content
Formatting a cover letter is not always easy, but with these helpful hints and tips you'll definitely make a memorable first impression. Keep in mind that nothing screams unprofessionalism like a nicely formatted cover letter that is filled with spelling and grammar errors. To ensure your resume and cover letter are error-free, submit them to our resume editors.
Image source: Hitarth Jadhav/Pexels.com
Writing a great resume is your first step in securing a job. The confusing part about resumes is that there are several different types to choose from: functional, chronological, combination, targeted, and mini are just some of the available resume formats. In this article, we’re going to discuss the chronological resume—what it is, and how to write one.
Following our previous look at resume writing, we now look at how to format a resume.
After weeks of searching, you’ve finally found it: a job posting that suits your skills and interests perfectly. Clinching an interview is vital when it comes to finding employment, so why take a risk? Follow our editor's advice and submit a cover letter along with your resume or application.
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