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Some things are only obvious when they’re missing. Take proper cover letter layout as an example. Get it right and it acts as an invisible frame for the job-winning content within. A well set out cover letter tells the recruiter you’re serious, professional and adept at written communication.
Get it wrong and it’s a different story. Leave out a crucial element like your address, or go left-field and right-align everything and it’s immediately obvious that something is wrong. And immediately obvious that you’ve got no idea what you’re doing. Result, rejection.
But once you’ve read this guide you’ll have proper cover letter layout down to a T. But before we start, here’s a perfectly laid out cover letter created with our builder.
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Once you’ve got your cover letter layout squared away, get your CV in order too. Read more:
- How to Write a CV [Professional UK Examples]
- 20+ Job Winning CV Tips and Advice
- Best CV Format for Job Hunting Success
- Skills Based CV Format [Complete Guide]
- CV Layout [5 Professional Examples]
- How to Write a CV Personal Statement [CV Profile Examples]
- Key Skills to Put on a CV [Best List of CV Skill Examples]
- How Long Should a CV Be? [Best Page Length]
- Student CV Example & Template
1. Basic Cover Letter Layout Tips
Let’s get the basics right first, make sure your cover letter layout follows standard UK cover letter format.
How to lay out a cover letter:
- Set your margins to one inch on each side of the page.
- Use single or 1.15 spacing. And put a space between each paragraph, the heading, greeting and your signature.
- Right-align your own contact info and the date but left-align everything else. Don’t use justification.
- Choose an easily readable font set to 11 or 12 pt. Calibri, Helvetica and Arial are three safe choices. And try matching it to your CV font for a professional touch.
- Get your cover letter length right. It should be between half a page and one page long.
And this isn’t just about following rules. Formal cover letter layout leaves plenty of white space, which makes your content more readable.
Read more: What to Include in a Cover Letter in the UK
Here’s a job-winning cover letter layout template. Use it to structure your own cover letter or try our cover letter builder which will lay your cover letter out for you.
Customer Service Advisor
121 Old York Road
0777 777 7777
5th March 2021
Customer Service Manager
Severance Sourcing Inc.
17 Aston Street
Dear Ms Lumley,
As a genuine admirer of Severance’s peerless online customer service offering, I was excited to see the opening for a customer service advisor at your London headquarters. With my 5+ years of experience and fluent French language skills, I am confident I can contribute my skills to Severance as it expands its offering to France-based clients.
I am aware that a key objective moving forward will be reducing call waiting times. While working at Liston Partners, I’ve noticed that shift patterns were not matching peak customer demand. By working with our IT team to produce data on call waiting times I helped our senior manager readjust staffing levels to reduce average waiting times by five minutes. This was directly cited by customers in call satisfaction feedback which surged from a score of 60% to 85% in a matter of months.
I am sure that my track record of resolving 95% of complaints at first point of contact will help Severance to achieve its aim of constantly improving complaints resolution metrics. I’d be delighted to have the opportunity to further my professional growth in an environment such as Severance, whose reputation for comprehensive staff training is legendary in the industry.
Thank you kindly for your time and I’m available on the telephone number above to discuss this opportunity at your convenience.
2. How to Lay Out a Cover Letter—Template
This is a basic template for you to follow when writing a cover letter. It briefly describes each section of your cover letter and how to write it. But remember, it’s crucial to write a fresh cover letter for each job, making sure it’s targeted to that role.
Now you’ll see the layout of a cover letter, section-by-section, from the top to the bottom of the page. Don’t forget to leave a space between each section.
The first section of your cover letter contains contact information for you and the employer. Remember to right-justify your own info and the date. And make sure you get the date format right too, e.g. 6th March 2021. Here’s how it looks.
[Your First & Last Names]
[Your Postal Address]
[Your Phone Number]
[Your Email Address]
[Date of Writing]
[Manager’s Job Title]
[Company’s Postal Address]
Read more: How to Address a Cover Letter
It’s easy, just write ‘Dear Mr/Ms Surname’. And do make an effort to find out the hiring manager’s name, because it’s scientifically proven to activate their brain and make them pay attention.
And when addressing women please stick to Ms, unless you know for certain they prefer Mrs or Miss. Making assumptions can quite rightly cause offense.
You’ve got to make a strong start and get the reader hooked. Always make the position you’re applying for clear, it’ll help recruiters who deal with hundreds of applications for multiple positions. So do mention the name of the company and the job title.
Make sure you’re passionate and enthusiastic, get the hiring manager energised and excited to interview you. Also mention contacts and connections. If you were recommended for the role now’s the time to mention it. Social proof is highly persuasive.
And show off an impressive professional achievement using an accomplishment statement to demonstrate the value you can bring.
Read more: How to Start a Cover Letter
This section could be structured as one or two paragraphs. Here’s where you go into more detail about what you have to offer to the employer. Refer to the job advert so you can highlight experience and skills that meet their needs.
Include some more accomplishments that you’re proud of. Quantify them with numbers wherever possible and structure them using the PAR formula. That gives solid proof that you’re a prime candidate.
Read more: How to Write a Cover Letter
Close by thanking the hiring manager for their time. Saying thank you has a powerful effect that goes beyond good manners. Maintain the passion and energy you put into the rest of your letter. Show that you have goals for growth within the role and include a call to action asking the hiring manager to make contact with you.
Read more: How to End a Cover Letter
Sign-Off and Signature
There are two options:
- Yours sincerely if you addressed the cover letter to a named person.
- Yours faithfully if you didn’t, e.g. ‘Dear Hiring Manager’.
Then follow this with your own name written in full and a scanned copy of your handwritten signature.
Email Cover Letter Layout
You’ve just seen how to lay out a cover letter that’s being sent as an attachment or upload. If you’re sending the cover letter in the body of an email the rules are slightly different.
You don’t need to include contact information at the top of the page but do ensure you write a clear subject line. Your email should be instantly identifiable, so state your name and the job you’re applying for. E.g. ‘Application for Sales Manager—Samantha Ellis’.
Follow the same rules for your greeting and the body of your cover letter, but move your own contact details to be part of your email signature. No need to include your postal address. For example.
0777 777 7777
And that’s everything you need to know about the layout of a cover letter!
Thanks for reading. What else would you like to know about the ins and outs of cover letter layout UK? What cover letter layout examples do you need help with? Any questions about how to layout a cover letter at all, go ahead and use the comments section and I’ll be happy to help.