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Formal Cover Letter: Example, Format, & Writing Guide

Formal Cover Letter: Example, Format, & Writing Guide

Your cover letter needs to look professional so hiring managers don’t dismiss you. Use this formal cover letter guide and sample to show your skills in a business-friendly way.

Every job application needs a formal cover letter like the sample in this guide. Without a formal letter, almost half of all employers will discard a resume. Put the right info in the right places—heading, address, salutation, and the right three paragraphs—to show you’re worth their time.


This guide will show you a formal cover letter sample and the best tips on how to write a formal covering letter step-by-step.


Sample Formal Cover Letter


Arthur McVey


3277 Webster Street

Newark, NJ 07192





Cara Stuyvesant

Staff Development Manager

Apogee Learning, Inc.

761 Duke Lane

Newark, NJ 07102


Dear Ms. Stuyvesant,


Considering Apogee’s standing as the #1 online learning institution in the U.S., I was happy to learn of the recent opening for a math and English tutor at your firm. I know you place a high value on client satisfaction, so I’d like to share that I maintained a 97% student rating from over 400 clients in my 4 years as an NTA-certified tutor at Excelsior Tutoring.


Your job ad emphasizes helping students prepare for the SAT and ACT tests and retests. At Excelsior, I helped over 200 students raise their SAT and ACT retest scores by an average of 35%. You also mention active listening skills as a key requirement. That’s so important for a tutor, and I’m pleased to say I received 5 commendations from my manager for my active listening ability.


Apogee Learning makes a concentrated effort to meet the needs of every student. I’d be happy to assist you in your mission by providing high-quality remote instruction and client interaction. Could we set up a call next week to discuss how my skills in mathematics, English, and communication can help you meet your goals?


Best regards,


Arthur McVey




Want to write your cover letter fast? Use our cover letter builder. Choose from 20+ professional cover letter templates that match your resume. See actionable examples and get expert tips along the way.


sample resume and cover letter set

Sample Cover Letter for a Resume—See more cover letter templates and create your cover letter here.


That’s a job-getting formal cover letter sample.


Your resume matters, too. See our guide: How to Make a Resume for a Job


Want to see a formal cover letter sample for a specific career? See these guides: Best Cover Letter Samples for All Careers


Formal Cover Letter Template


Here’s how to write a cover letter for a formal job application:


1. Choose a professional cover letter format and layout


Read more: Cover Letter Format

2. Create a formal cover letter header


Read more: How to Address a Cover Letter

3. Paragraph 1: say what job you’re applying for


Read more: How to Start a Cover Letter

4. Paragraph 2: show your understanding of the job


  • Mention the top few job duties to show you understand the role.
  • Share a few examples of when you excelled at those tasks.
  • Do this right, and managers will get excited for your resume.

How should your cover letter look? See our guide: What Does a Good Cover Letter Look Like in 2020?

5. Prove you really want this job


  • Show you’re interested in the job.
  • To do it, share something you like about the company.
  • Can’t think of anything? Check their mission statement online.
  • This step proves you’ll work hard.
  • You can do it in any paragraph, or in every paragraph.


Did you know? The fastest-growing careers are in green energy, healthcare, and information security. That’s according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.


6. Paragraph #3: end your formal cover letter with an offer

  • Ask for a meeting or call.
  • Reference a couple more of your skills.
  • Promise to help the organization reach an important goal.

Read more: The Best Cover Letter Endings

7. Add a professional sign-off at the bottom of the page


  • End with, “Best regards,”
  • Include a digital version of your signature for extra professionalism.
  • Add your name, phone, and email at the bottom.


Follow up next week, so they don’t forget about you. Learn more: Job Application Follow-Up Email Templates


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

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


Questions? Concerns? We’re here for you. If you’re still unsure how to write a job-winning cover letter for formal applications, drop me a line in the comments.

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Tom Gerencer, CPRW
Tom Gerencer, a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), is a career expert who has published over 200 in-depth articles on Zety. Since 2016, he has been sharing advice on all things recruitment from writing winning resumes and cover letters to getting a promotion.
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