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Cover Letter Structure: What Parts Does It Consist Of?

Cover Letter Structure: What Parts Does It Consist Of?

Do the parts of a cover letter have you in the dark? This guide will make the cover letter structure as clear as day.

For most people, there’s only one thing worse than writing a resume—writing a cover letter. 

 

It’s not hard to understand why—it needs to be professional, include your work experience and skills, and compel the employer to give you a call.

 

That’s a pretty tall order.

 

But that becomes a whole lot easier when you break the cover letter down into its essential elements and understand the purpose of each part of the cover letter.

 

This guide will show you the right cover letter structure in no time.

 

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.

Looking for a full guide on cover letter writing? See: How to Make a Cover Letter 

Here are the key parts of a cover letter:

  1. Cover letter header
  2. Cover letter salutation
  3. Cover letter body
  4. Cover letter closing

 

Let’s dive right into the elements of a good cover letter structure!

 

1. Cover Letter Header

 

The cover letter header is one of the first parts of a cover letter that the hiring manager sees so you need to get it right if you don’t want your cover letter to tank.

 

Thankfully, it’s pretty straightforward.

 

Add your name, address, current phone number, and email address. If you’ve done some LinkedIn optimization, feel free to add your profile here too. After that add the date and place.

 

Further down add the contact information of the employer that you’re applying to. This should include the hiring manager’s name, title, and company address.

Pro Tip: Keep it professional—no emails like “fancypants77@yahoo.com”. Also make sure that the contact information in your cover letter header matches that in your resume.

Read more: How to Address a Cover Letter

2. Cover Letter Salutation

 

Out of all the elements of a cover letter, this one is usually the most overlooked.

 

Why? It looks like a sinch, but mess it up and you’re done for.

 

Start off this cover letter section with a professional greeting, preferably include the name of the employer.

 

To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” should be avoided. They make you sound generic and like you don’t give a flying squirrel about the job.

 

Try to find the hiring manager’s name in the job ad or by doing an internet search.

Read more: What to Write Instead of "To Whom It May Concern” in a Cover Letter

3. Cover Letter Body

 

This part of your cover letter actually consists of three smaller parts, each with its own specific purpose. Let’s break it down now.

 

Cover Letter—First Paragraph (“The hook”)

 

As the nickname suggests, this component of your cover letter is intended to hook the hiring manager’s attention and reel it right in.

 

Don’t start off with the fact that you’re applying for the open job position—they already know that.

 

Use your cover letter introduction to showcase a couple of big achievements or rich experience that will impress the recruiter to continue reading. Mention that you want to use your experience and skills to help drive the company forward or solve its problems.

 

Cover Letter—Second Paragraph (“Make an Offer”)

 

This is the most difficult of the cover letter components. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, so don’t dramatically fling yourself on your bed just yet.

 

Use the job ad as a cheat sheet and explain how your skills and experience can benefit them. For example, are they looking for an experienced, friendly retail sales associate? Tell them how you’ve been in that role for the last 3 years, consistently maintaining a 95% customer satisfaction rate.

 

Getting my drift?

 

Use moderation when talking about your professional achievements. Nobody likes a windbag.

 

Add bullet points and numbers to make your offer really stand out. Avoid overly long sentences and blocks of text. This isn’t an essay writing contest.

 

Cover Letter—Third Paragraph (“Call to Action”)

 

Use this part of your cover letter to make the recruiter realize that they do want to call you.

 

Reiterate your interest in the job and how you believe that you would be a great fit for the company. Ask for a call or meeting to discuss your fit to the team and the benefit for the company.

 

These three parts of your cover letter put together constitute the main body structure.You shouldn’t just copy what’s on your resume, but make sure that what you’re writing in your cover letter compliments your resume and vice versa.

Read more: What a Cover Letter Should Say

4. Cover Letter Closing

 

This is the part of the cover letter where you thank the hiring manager for their time.

 

Use a professional sign off such as “sincerely” or “kind regards”. Avoid closings that are too informal such as “cheers” or “thanks”.

 

Type out your full name. Leave some space below to either sign your name if you have a printed cover letter or for an electronic signature if you’re sending your cover letter by email.

 

Don’t forget about your cover letter enclosure at the very end. It’s especially helpful if the hiring manager requires several different documents in your job application.

Read more: How to Sign Off a Cover Letter

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.

Cover Letter Format

 

It doesn’t really matter what you write and how many cover letters you send out— if they look like they’ve been pulled out of dog’s throat, no employer is going to call.

 

Make sure that your cover letter format is just as professional looking as your resume format.

 

Use a modern cover letter font and plenty of white space to make your cover letter easy to read for the employer. Make sure you also adjust your cover letter margins and the text body.

 

Also don’t ramble on for pages and pages. Most cover letters are one page in length.

Read more: The Best Cover Letter Layout

Key Takeaway

 

Hopefully now you know what exactly a cover letter consists of and which parts of a cover letter go where.

 

Remember, the right cover letter structure consists of:

  • Cover letter header
  • Cover letter salutation
  • Cover letter body which includes the first, second, and third paragraphs
  • Cover letter closing

 

And that’s it! Those are the key elements of a cover letter.

 

Thanks for reading! Have questions about any parts of a cover letter? Let us know down in the comments below!

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Oliwia Wolkowicz
Oliwia is a career expert with a solid background in various industries, including consulting and aviation. At Zety, she writes dedicated, advice-driven guides to help readers create great resumes and cover letters to land the job of their dreams.
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