Mastering Cover Letter Formats: A Step-by-Step Guide for Success

Writing a cover letter may seem like a tricky task. But it really doesn’t have to be! Think of it as your chance to make a first impression. A cover letter can truly set you apart. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything about cover letters.

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All cover letter examples in this guide


An Example of the Proper Cover Letter Format

Contact Information:

[a. Your Name]
[b. Your Address]
[c. City, State, Zip Code]
[d. Email Address]
[e. Phone Number]


Hiring Manager’s Name
[f. Company Name]
[g. Company Address]
[h. City, State, Zip Code]

Dear [i. Hiring Manager’s Name],

Introduction: I am writing to express my interest in the [j. Job Title] position at [k. Company Name], as advertised on [l. where you found the job listing]. With [m. number] years of experience in [n. relevant field], I am eager to bring my [o. specific skills or qualities] to your team.

Body Paragraphs:

  • Achievement: In my previous role at [p. Previous Company], I [q. specific accomplishment or responsibility], resulting in [r. quantifiable outcome].
  • Skill Highlight: My proficiency in [s. relevant skill] allowed me to really [t. specific task or project], demonstrating my ability to [u. describe impact or result].

Closing Paragraph: I'm excited about the opportunity to contribute to [v. Company Name]. And would welcome the chance to discuss how my background and skills align with your team’s needs.

Thank you for considering my application.

Closing: Sincerely,

[w. Your Name]

Enclosure: Resume

Resume Guide
Use this example
Want more examples of a basic cover letter? Check this general-purpose format.

From addressing your letter to getting that perfect closing line, we’ve got you covered. You'll learn the dos and don'ts. See examples of winning formats. And, of course, get tips on how to actually highlight your skills and experience. Ready to explore? Let’s turn that blank page into your next big opportunity.

What you can expect in this guide:

  • Understanding the Importance of Cover Letters
  • Crafting the Perfect Cover Letter
  • An Overview of the Right Cover Letter Structure
  • Cover Letter Format Essentials
  • Customizing Your Cover Letter

Want even more info on cover letters, try these articles:

Understanding the Importance of a Cover Letter

A cover letter isn't just an afterthought. No, it's actually a really powerful tool in your job application. This one-page document allows you to truly show your personality.

cover letter formats

A Deeper Look: What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a personalized document. When you apply for a job, it accompanies your resume. It's your introduction to the employer. It gives them a look at who you are. And also why you're interested in the position. Different to a resume, that list your working history and qualifications, a cover letter really tells a story about your career journey. It boosts your achievements, and your professional goals.

A cover letter should be concise. And tailored to the specific job you're applying for.

When should you write a cover letter?

Whenever you apply for a job, you need a cover letter. Even if it's not explicitly required! Many employers actually appreciate the extra effort. They really see it as a sign of your genuine interest. A cover letter can be particularly important in cases where:

  • You're changing careers
  • Have some gaps in your employment history
  • Want to better explain your background

It's a great way to provide context to your resume!

Creating the Perfect Cover Letter for Your Application

Writing a cover shouldn't be tough. With the right tips, you can nail it. Let’s break it down step-by-step.

cover letter formats

Choose the right professional cover letter format

Picking the right format is key. Think of it like choosing an outfit for an interview. You want to look sharp and professional. Stick to a clean, simple layout. No fancy fonts or colors. Just keep it neat and easy to read.

Here are some general cover letter formatting tips. Keep this in mind before starting.

  • Keep it clean: Use simple formatting.
  • Be professional: Choose a standard font.
  • Stay classic: Stick to black and white.
  • Align properly: Left-align your text.
  • Standard margins: Use normal page margins.
  • Be concise: Keep paragraphs short.
  • Include contact info: Put it at the top.
  • Address correctly: Example: Dear hiring manager. Insert the real name is available.
  • Structure well: Use a clear, logical layout.
  • Avoid extras: No fancy graphics or images.

Write an eye-catching introduction for the perfect cover letter

Start with a bang! Your opening line should really grab attention. Mention the job you're applying for and where you found it. Show your enthusiasm. Make them want to read more.

Here is a quick checklist:

  • Grab attention: Start with a strong opening.
  • Be specific: Mention the job you're applying for.
  • Show enthusiasm: Express excitement for the role.
  • Personal touch: Mention where you found the job.
  • Add personality: Let a bit of you shine through.
  • Be relevant: Relate your intro to the job.
  • Keep it brief: Make it short and snappy.
  • Hook them: Make them want to read more.
  • Be professional: Maintain a really polite tone.
  • Avoid clichés: Don't use any overused sentences.
cover letter formats

Examples of Good Cover Letter Introductions

Let's have a look at a few examples of good intros. Here, you can simply replace the placeholders with your own unique info.

When I saw the opening for a [a. Job Position] at [b. Company], I knew I had to apply. With my passion for [c. List of Interests or Passions], I’m excited to bring my unique skill set to your team."

"As a lifelong advocate for sustainability, I was thrilled to find a [a. Job Position] position at [b. Company]. My five years of experience in [c. List of Experience] make me a perfect fit for your mission-driven organization."

"I was excited to discover the [a. Job Position] role at [b. Company]. Your company’s reputation for cutting-edge technology and creative problem-solving aligns perfectly with my background in [c. List of Experience]."

"Your recent expansion into international markets caught my eye, and I’m eager to apply for the [a. Job Position] position at [b. Company]. With a proven track record in [c. List of Experience], I’m ready to help drive your global growth."

"After reading about [b. Company]’s community outreach initiatives, I was inspired to apply for the [a. Job Position] role. My experience in [c. List of Experience] and my passion for [c. List of Interests or Passions] make me an excellent match for your team."

Need to write resume too? Check these resume writing tips.

Highlight your achievements and skills in Your Perfect Cover Letter

Now, time to really stand out! Talk about your proudest moments. Share your top skills. Be specific and use numbers if you can. And remember to keep it concise and relevant.

  • Stand out: Focus on your most proudest moments.
  • Be specific: Mention key achievements.
  • Use numbers: Quantify your successes.
  • Show relevance: Relate skills to the job.
  • Highlight top skills: Showcase what you're really best at.
  • Be concise: Keep it truly brief and to the point.
  • Share examples: Include concrete instances.
  • Stay relevant: Only include pertinent information.
  • Use action verbs: Make your achievements really dynamic.
  • Demonstrate impact: Show how you made a difference.

Professional Cover Letter Format Essentials

Stick to a classic format. No fancy stuff. Just straight to the point.

Here’s what you need:

  • Clear contact info
  • A proper address format
  • A polite salutation
  • Neat margins, fonts, and spacing
And remember, the alignment should be just right. Finally, save it in a file format that's really easy to open. Let’s break it down step by step so you can get it just right.

cover letter formats

Your contact information for the perfect cover letter

Start with contact information at the top. It’s like giving a business card. You want the hiring manager to find your details quick. Include your full name, address, phone number and email. Make sure your email sounds professional. No nicknames or quirky addresses.

Here’s a quick example:

  • Jeremy Lincoln
  • 183 Main Street
  • Anytown, USA 12845
  • (525) 545-5895

Place this info at the very top of your letter. It makes you look organized. And its easy to contact you. Simple, right?

Hiring manager’s contact information

Next, you need the person hiring’s contact info. This shows you’ve done some homework. It also actually makes your letter more personal.

Here’s what you need:

  • Date
  • Hiring Manager’s Name
  • Their Title
  • Company Name
  • Company Address
  • City, State ZIP Code
  • Company Phone Number


  • July 3, 2024
  • Jeremy Lincoln
  • HR Manager
  • Tech Innovative Inc.
  • 476 Tech Avenue
  • Silicon Valley, CA 92735
  • (555) 143-4587

This sets a professional tone. Also it shows you’re serious about the job.

cover letter formats

Salutation for the perfect cover letter

Your salutation is like your first greeting. So make it count. Always try to use the hiring manager’s name. It shows you’ve done some research. If you don’t know their name, simple “Dear Hiring Manager” works. But if you can, find the name. It’s more personal and engaging.

Here’s an example:

  • “Dear Mr. Jolin,”
  • “Dear Ms. Johnson,”
  • “Dear Hiring Manager,”

Avoid using “To Whom It May Concern.” It feels impersonal. A good salutation sets a friendly, respectful tone right from the start.

Want to know how to write a motivation letter for spontaneous application? Check these cover letter writing tips.

Margins, fonts, and spacing

These elements keep things readable. And professional! Use standard one-inch margins all round. Choose a clean font like Arial or Times New Roman. And size 12 font. Just try to keep everything simple. Double-space between paragraphs are great for clarity. Single-space the text. Neat, right?

Here’s the rundown:

  • One-inch margins
  • Arial or Times New Roman, size 12
  • Single-space text
  • Double-space between paragraphs

These little details make your letter look polished. And it's very easy to read. Remember that it’s all about actually making a great impression.

Alignment and file format

Finally, let’s talk about alignment. Keep your text left-aligned. It looks neat. And it's easy to read. Avoid centering or right-aligning your text.

Next, save your letter as a PDF. It keeps the format intact. Also, it's universally accessible. Here’s why:

PDFs lets your letter look the same on any device. No weird formatting issues. It’s a small step but shows you’re detail-oriented. Plus, it makes sure your letter looks professional everywhere.  

Email Cover Letter Format

Writing an email cover letter is a bit different from a traditional one. It needs to be concise. And easy to read. You want to catch attention quickly. This is because hiring managers often scan emails fast. The format is simpler. But just as important.  

cover letter formats

Write a strong subject line

Your subject line is important. It’s the first thing the hiring manager sees. Make it clear and compelling. Mention the job title and your name. Here are some examples:

  • “Application for Marketing Manager - Janey Doe”
  • “John Lincoln - Software Engineer Position”
  • “Graphic Designer Application - Emily L. Johnson”

Keep it short. And relevant. A strong subject line increases the chance your email will be opened.

Begin with a personal greeting

Use the hiring manager’s name if you can find it. If not, “Dear Hiring Manager” works too. Personal greetings make your email feel more direct. It's also more engaging. Examples include:

  • “Dear Mr. Johnson,”
  • “Dear Ms. Smith,”
  • “Dear Hiring Manager,”

A friendly greeting really sets a positive tone right from the start.

Create a relevant main paragraph

Your main paragraph is where you truly sell yourself. Keep it brief. But make it impactful. Mention the job you’re applying for. And also why you’re excited about it. Highlight a couple of key achievements. And add skills that actually make you a great fit. Be specific.


“I’m writing to apply for the [a. Position] position at [b. Company]. With over [c. Number] years of experience in [d. Field] and a proven track record of [e. Achievement], I’m excited about the opportunity to bring my skills to your team.”

Use a clear call to action

Let the hiring manager know what you want them to do next. Be polite but direct. Here are examples:

  • “I look forward to discuss my skills. And how I can contribute to your team.”
  • “Please let me know if you need more information. I am excited to discuss this role more.”
  • “I would love to schedule an interview. Let me know at your earliest convenience.”

Adding some action words will encourage the employer to actually take action.

cover letter formats

End with a formal sign-off

Wrap up your email with a formal sign-off. It’s professional. And courteous. Here’s how you can do it:

  • “Sincerely,”
  • “Best regards,”
  • “Thank you,”

Follow with your full name. It’s a simple but important step for a good impression.

Attachment(s) for the perfect cover letter

Don’t forget to attach your resume. And any other required documents. Mention the attachments in your email. This is so the hiring manager knows to find them. Example:

Make your attachments in PDF format. This make sure they look the same on any device.

Need help to write a great resume? Try our resume builder.

Example of an email cover letter

Have a look at this email cover letter template:

Subject: Application for [a. Position] - Amy Sinclair

Dear Mr. Johnson,

I’m writing to apply for the [a. Position] position at [b. Company]. With over [c. Years] years of experience in [d. Field] and a proven track record of [e. Achievement], I’m excited about the opportunity to bring my [f. skills] skills to your dynamic team.

Attached is my resume. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how I can contribute to your team. Please let me know if you need any other information.

I am really excited to discuss this role further.


Amy Sinclair

(545) 535-5565

What is an Interactive Cover Letter?

Interactive cover letters goes far beyond the traditional. It uses multimedia elements to engage. Think videos, hyperlinks, or infographics.

Why Use an Interactive Cover Letter?

  • Grabs Attention: Stands out in a pile of plain documents.
  • Showcases Creativity: Perfect for creative roles.
  • Demonstrates Skills: Highlights tech-savviness and innovation.

Elements of an Interactive Cover Letter

  • Video Introduction: A brief, personalized video message.
  • Hyperlinks: Links to your portfolio, LinkedIn, or projects.
  • Infographics: Visuals that display achievements and skills.

How to Create One

  • Start Simple: Use a clean design.
  • Add Media: Ensure each element adds real value.
  • Test Usability: Make sure links and videos work.

When to Use an Interactive Cover Letter

  • Creative Industries: Marketing, design, media.
  • Tech Jobs: Show off your tech skills.
  • Startups: Highlight your innovative approach.

An interactive cover letter makes a truly lasting impression. Use it to showcase your skills creativity. And stand out from the crowd!

cover letter formats

The Final Word

Writing a cover letter
really doesn’t have to be intimidating. Think of it as your opportunity to tell your story. It's also a change to show who you really are. By following these steps, you can create a cover letter that highlights your skills and experience. And show off your passion for the job!

Remember, the goal is to actually make a great first impression. Keep it professional but personal. And always tailor it to the job you’re applying for. Well-crafted cover letters can set you apart from other candidates. It can truly get you one step closer to landing that job.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why are cover letters important?

A cover letter is a powerful tool. It sets you apart from the rest. It is used to showcase your personality. It also provides context to your resume. Employers appreciate the extra effort. They see it as a sign of genuine interest.

When should I write a cover letter?

Write a cover letter whenever you apply for a job. Even if it's not explicitly required. It's actually particularly really important if you're changing careers. Or if you have gaps in your employment history. It can also be used to explain your background better.

How long should cover letters be?

Avoid a long letter. Keep it to one page. Aim for 3 to 4 concise paragraphs max. Use a cover letter builder if you're struggling.

Can I use the same letter for multiple jobs?

No. Customize each cover letter. Make them unique to the specific job and company.

How can you truly tailor cover letters to a specific job?

Research the company. Use keywords from the job listing. Address specific needs mentioned in the job description.

What are some common mistakes to avoid in a cover letter?

Avoid typos first of all. Also, don't write generic statements. Stay clear of overly long paragraphs. Lastly, avoid clichés and too much focus on yourself.

Can a cover letter improve my chances if my resume isn’t perfect?

Absolutely! It can really highlight strength. And also provide context for weaknesses.

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