Proper Cover Letter Heading

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

Contact Information

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 Name
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address

(space)

Date

(space)

Employer Contact Information

Name
Title
Company
Address
City, State, Zip Code

(space)

Salutation

(space)

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:

(space)

First Paragraph:

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)

Middle Paragraph(s): 

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)

Final Paragraph: 
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.

(space)

Closing:

(space)

Sincerely yours,

(double space)

Signature:

Handwritten Signature (for a mailed letter)

(double space)

Typed Signature

More on Writing Cover Letters:
How to Write a Successful Cover Letter
What to Include in a Cover Letter
Sample Cover Letters

Learn How to Format a Cover Letter

When you submit your resume, you will typically need to write a cover letter as well. In this letter, you'll make a case for your candidacy, highlighting your relevant skills. Since a cover letter is a formal document, there are set guidelines for what information to include in the letter, as well as how to format it. 

Hiring managers read a lot of cover letters, so while their most important goal is to find strong candidates, they will definitely notice if the letter is formatted incorrectly or does not adhere to the usual cover letter style guidelines.

Use the cover letter format below as a guideline when you create customized cover letters to send to employers. It lays out which information to include, and where. Then, review cover letter samples, a cover letter template, and tips for formatting hard copy and email cover letters you can use to write your own letters.

Cover Letter Format

Your Contact Information
Name
Address
City, State, Zip Code
Phone Number
Email Address

Date

Employer Contact Information (if you have it)
Name
Title
Company
Address
City, State, Zip Code

Salutation
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,

  • Cover Letter Greeting Examples: Note: If you do not have a contact name, you can skip the salutation entirely. Or, you can use Dear Hiring Manager, To Whom It May Concern, or one of the other examples listed in the link. Ideally, you will be able to address your cover letter to a specific person. Doing research can help you figure out who is the most appropriate person to receive the letter. Note: If you do not know the gender of your contact, you can write out the person's full name, e.g., "Dear Cory Smith"or "Dear Jordan Parish."

Body of Cover Letter
The body of your cover letter lets the employer know what position you are applying for, why the employer should select you for an interview, and how you will follow-up. Organize the body of your cover letter into the following paragraphs:

  • First Paragraph
    The first paragraph of your letter should include information on why you are writing. Mention the position you are applying for and where you found the job listing. Include the name of a mutual contact, if you have one.
  • Middle Paragraph(s)
    The next section of your cover letter should describe what you have to offer the employer. Mention specifically how your qualifications match the job you are applying for. Think of this section of the cover letter as where you're making a pitch for your fit as an employee and show makes you a great candidate. Keep in mind that employers will be more interested in what you can do for them, than a list of your background. Make the connection between your qualifications and the job requirements clear. Use this section to interpret your resume—don't repeat from it verbatim.
  • Final Paragraph 
    Conclude your cover letter by thanking the employer for considering you for the position. Include information on how you will follow-up. Optionally, you can briefly restate why you would be a good fit for the position.

Complimentary Close
Respectfully yours,

Signature

Handwritten Signature (for a hard copy letter)

Typed Signature

Email Subject Line

When you're sending an email cover letter, include a subject line that enables the hiring manager to recognize who you are and the job for which you are applying. Here are sample subject lines that are appropriate to use in your emailed job application.

Formatting Tips for Cover Letters

Here are some formatting tips to keep in mind when you are writing your letter:

  • Email versus hard copy: The example letter above is formatted for a printed out hard copy. If you are emailing your cover letter, you'll need to pay particular attention to the subject line of your email. See more tips for formatting your email cover letter.
  • Font choices: The details count when it comes to cover letters, so choose a professional font in a 10 or 12 point size. This is no time to break out emoticons or emojis!
  • Spacing: Your letter should be single-spaced. Include a space between every paragraph, and in general, a space between each section of the letter. (That is, there should be a space between the address and the date, and then again between the date and the salutation.) In an email cover letter, where many sections are left off, you will want to include a space between the salutation and between each paragraph, and another space before your complimentary close. 
  • Proofreading: Remember that note about details counting in cover letters? Make sure to avoid errors by carefully proofreading your letter. Use your word processor's spell check to catch common errors, and then consider reading your letter aloud—or having a friend review it—to catch additional errors. Here are guidelines for proofreading your cover letter.

Cover Letter Examples

Examples of cover letters for a variety of different types of jobs, types of job seekers, and types of job applications.

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