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How to Format a Cover Letter: Layout Examples for 2022

How to Format a Cover Letter: Layout Examples for 2022

Everyone is sending you back to school to learn how to format a letter. But there’s no going back, only moving forward. So learn everything about cover letter format with us.

As seen in:

Most applicants know nothing about the cover letter format—layouts are sloppy, and the contents basically put readers to sleep.

 

What if I told you that in 7 minutes, you’d be the only one to learn how to wake everyone up?

 

This guide will show you:

 

  • Cover letter format example better than 9 out of 10 others.
  • How to format a cover letter to impress employers with your attention to detail.
  • The best cover letter formatting tips that recruiters will thank you for.
  • And ideas for a modern or traditional but always proper cover letter format.

 

Want to write your perfectly formatted cover letter in 15 minutes? Use our cover letter templates here.

 

Create your cover letter now

 

Sample cover letter made with our builder—See more cover letter examples here.

Here’s how to format a cover letter step by step:

 

  1. Format Your Cover Letter for a Job Application
  2. Create a Professional Cover Letter Header
  3. Start With a Personal Salutation and a Strong Opening
  4. Make an Offer and Explain Your Motivation in the Central Paragraphs
  5. Use a Clear Call to Action
  6. Finish with a Professional Sign-Off

 

Cover Letter Format Example

 

Mary Chao

Digital Marketing Specialist

4710 Oak Way

Omaha, NE 68102

402-214-2558

marychao@gmail.com

linkedin.com/in/mary.chao

 

Omaha, 01/28/2019

 

Ashley Alameda

Head of Marketing

Avanix, Inc.

2509 Hall Valley Drive

Omaha, NE 72662

 

Dear Ashley,

 

Two months ago, I hit a goal I never thought I'd reach. I pushed SEO traffic to 20 million monthly views. One year ago, traffic for our four sites—all of which I manage through a team of 25 employees—rested at just 4 million per month. Upper management challenged me to lead the team toward doubling our traffic. We hit that goal in just six months, blowing away our sales revenue forecasts in the process.

 

I know your main upcoming challenge will be to grow revenue from your new website. With over seven years of experience in SEO and social media marketing, and as someone who is passionate about staying on the leading edge of tech, I'm confident I can repeat the growth I achieved with XYZ as your new Digital Marketing Manager.

 

In my current position, I successfully lead creative strategy and internal development teams. Specifically, I have:

 

  • Skyrocketed Inbound Marketing ROI by 43%.
  • Reduced Cost Per Lead by 35%.
  • Boosted Landing Page Conversion Rates by 55% 

 

What impresses me most about your online marketing strategy is that you’ve managed to build a self-reliant team aligned with two basic key metrics only: traffic and conversions. This perfectly reflects my core professional values.

 

I'm adept at reading Google and user search intent, then translating that into measurable returns. Can we schedule a call to discuss ideas for growing your revenue by 25% in 2018?

 

Sincerely,

Mary Chao

 

How to Format a Cover Letter?

 

Let me walk you through how you can format your cover letter equally well:

 

1. Format Your Cover Letter for a Job Application

 

Start with the basic formatting before you get down to writing. You’ll benefit from the effort you’ll put into creating your cover letter template. Here’s everything you need to know:

 

Are you sending a cover letter via email? Here’s exactly what you need to format your electronic letter: Email Cover Letter Writing Guidelines

 

You need to have specific details handy to write a cover letter header. And they are:

 

  • Your full name, mailing address, phone number, email, and LinkedIn profile handle.
  • Date of writing
  • Hiring manager’s or recruiter’s name, job title, company name, and location.

 

Addressing the cover letter right is the single most important thing in cover letter writing. Fail at this stage, and your application is good to go (to the trash).

 

cover letter header

 

Here’s the correct way of formatting the cover letter header:

 

Professional Cover Letter Format—Heading

 

Mary Chao

Digital Marketing Specialist

4710 Oak Way

Omaha, NE 68102

402-214-2558

marychao@gmail.com

linkedin.com/in/mary.chao

 

Omaha, 01/28/2019

 

Ashley Alameda

Head of Marketing

Avanix, Inc.

2509 Hall Valley Drive

Omaha, NE 72662

 

Leave a slightly larger space between your contact information and the date of writing.

 

When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building a professional resume template here for free.

 

When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.

3. Start With a Personal Salutation and a Strong Opening

 

There’s excellent research that shows nothing activates our brains as much as hearing or seeing our own name. So open your cover letter with the correct name, and you’ll get the attention you deserve. 

 

You can look for the name in the job description, company website, or LinkedIn. Call the company and ask for the hiring manager’s name if you're struggling.

 

Cover Letter Format—Salutation

 

  • Dear Ashley,
  • Dear Ms. Jones,
  • Dear Ashley Jones,

 

By no means open the cover letter with “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” Nothing screams generic more than these two. Go for “Dear [XYZ Team] Hiring Manager” or “Dear Hiring Manager” if all strategies have failed.

 

Now that you have the recruiter’s attention, use one of those opening strategies:

 

  • Mention a significant (yet relevant) accomplishment you’re proud of
  • Discuss something you love about the company you’re applying to
  • Comment on the recent award or news the company was honored by
  • Drop names
  • Showcase your passion, skill, or other outstanding quality

 

See this example of a powerful opening paragraph:

 

Cover Letter Format Example—Opening

 

Two months ago, I hit a goal I never thought I'd reach. I pushed SEO traffic to 20 million monthly views. One year ago, traffic for our four sites—all of which I manage through a team of 25 employees—rested at just 4 million per month. Upper management challenged me to lead the team toward doubling our traffic. We hit that goal in just six months, blowing away our sales revenue forecasts in the process.

 

4. Make an Offer and Explain Your Motivation in the Central Paragraphs

 

In the main parts of your cover letter, focus on what you have to offer, not what you want out of a job. And then make them feel special. Let your cover letter say why exactly you want to join them, not any other company. 

 

These points should help you figure out how to sell yourself in the cover letter:

 

  • Read the job ad carefully. Identify the key challenges your future employer is facing. Then, explain how you can help them.
  • Emphasize how your expertise will help solve their problems. You can use bullet points to break up the text and highlight your achievements with numbers.
  • Explain your motivation. Once your employer understands they want you, they’ll want to know why you want them.

 

Format of a Cover Letter—Body

 

I know your main upcoming challenge will be to grow revenue from your new website. With over seven years of experience in SEO and social media marketing, and as someone who is passionate about staying on the leading edge of tech, I'm confident I can repeat the growth I achieved with XYZ as your new Digital Marketing Manager.

 

In my current position, I successfully lead creative strategy and internal development teams. Specifically, I have:

 

  • Skyrocketed Inbound Marketing ROI by 43%.
  • Reduced Cost Per Lead by 35%.
  • Boosted Landing Page Conversion Rates by 55% 

 

What impresses me most about your online marketing strategy is that you’ve managed to build a self-reliant team aligned with two basic key metrics only: traffic and conversions. This perfectly reflects my core professional values. 

Are you intimidated by those achievements? You must be at the beginning of your journey then. Read more: Cover Letter Writing Tips for No-Experience Candidates

5. Use a Clear Call to Action

 

The hiring manager wants to give you a shot already, so don’t let them change their mind. Finish your cover letter with a compelling call to action. This is how:

 

  • Reiterate your value and sum up your qualifications in a single sentence.
  • Ask for a call or a meeting.
  • Restate that you can help them achieve their objectives.

 

How to Format a Cover Letter—Call to Action

 

I'm adept at reading Google and user search intent, then translating that into measurable returns. Can we schedule a call to discuss ideas for growing your revenue by 25% in 2018?

 

6. Finish with a Professional Sign-Off

 

A cover letter closing format is the same as any other formal business letter. Write “Sincerely” and sign off with your full name one or two lines underneath. 

 

Optionally, include a digital copy of your handwritten signature in your sign-off. It will add a professional touch.

 

Proper Cover Letter Format

 

Now that you’re stocked with cover letter formatting tips see what the best cover letter looks like:

 

Cascade

 

 

If you want a format that focuses on what’s important in a cover letter, you’re right to choose Cascade. The darker sidebar covers the boring, leaving your hiring manager with the juicy and plenty of white space they can rest their eyes on.

 

Cubic

 

 

Looking at Cubic, you can tell it was made for C-suite professionals. It’s elegant. It’s neat. It’s perfect. The heading is designed to highlight your position, so use it to your advantage if you’re a senior candidate with an impressive resume.

 

Iconic

 

 

Are you recruiting to the creative industry? Then Iconic is a perfect cover letter format for someone with a knack for design and communication. Iconic will help you tell your story thanks to a sleek layout that feels complete.

 

Primo

 

 

Sometimes you want things to be uncomplicated, and you want to be direct and put your thoughts down uninterrupted. The Primo cover letter format gives you just that.

 

Vibes

 

 

Entry-level candidates—here’s something just for you. A splash of color and square icons will add personal vibes to your cover letter. It is precisely what employers are looking for in candidates like yourself.

 

Key Takeaway

 

In a nutshell, this is how to format a cover letter:

 

  • Use one-inch margins, single line spacing, and 11 to 12 pt font.
  • In the top-left corner, put your contact details, city and date, and the employer's contact details.
  • Open with a personal salutation.
  • In the body of your letter, open with the hook, make an offer, and explain your motivation.
  • Finish with a clear call to action.
  • Sign off with a “sincerely” and your full name.

 

All check? Then you can be sure your cover letter for a job is formatted perfectly.

 

Want to learn more about cover letter setup? Have additional questions we didn’t answer above? Drop me a line in the comments, and I’ll be happy to chat!

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Michael Tomaszewski, CPRW
Michael is a career writer, Certified Professional Resume Writer, and the newsletter coordinator at Zety. Apart from sharing his own resume-writing expertise, Michael reaches out to recruitment and hiring gurus to help you learn the most effective strategies for managing your career.
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