In an earlier post here on our website, we gave you an in-depth guide on how to write the perfect cover letter. However, if you are still searching for ways in which to perfect it, or you need to know the exact order in which to write, we have here a step by step, paragraph by paragraph guide on how to format your cover letter. We feel that it is important to really nail the overall format of your cover letter, for, after all, this is a formal document which requires total accuracy and professionalism. Therefore, we have further tips on what you need to provide for your cover letter. Let it be known that the information about yourself which you include in this letter is up to you, but the overall format, on the other hand, is often something which must be adhered to.
Employers may read through hundreds of applications, resumes and cover letters in a single day. Thus, it is imperative that your application stands out. One way in which to do this is to make sure that your cover letter is formatted correctly. Your chances can be immediately lessened if an employer notices some unprofessional formatting errors in your cover letter. In sum, we are now going to duly outline the cover letter format, step by step, so you won’t have to worry about the scrutiny of your letter under the eyes of the all-powerful employer.
Cover Letter Format: A Complete Step By Step Guide
Before we get started, we would just like to attract your attention towards some other professional writing guides. If you are applying for a job soon, you may find our page on writing the perfect resume helpful. Or, on the other hand, if you are leaving a job, our guide on writing a great resignation letter could offer you some help. Please feel free to browse our site – we have many useful guides on letter writing.
Step 1: The Head Of Your Cover Letter
- Contact Information
It’s vital that you begin with your contact information. This will run as follows (for example):
Name (Full name)
Address: City (or Town), State (County), Zip Code (Post Code)
Phone Number (Try to include both your mobile number and your home number – the more information the better)
- Follow this up with today’s date **/**/****
- Following this, include the employer’s information if you can provide it. The employer’s information should follow the same formula as your own contact information: Name, Job Title, Company Title, Full Address, Address.
The above three steps should set you up perfectly for launching into the main body of your cover letter. The head should provide all the necessary contact details about you.
Step 2: The Main Body Of Your Cover Letter
Before you begin your main text, it’s important that you provide a salutation. (This is the thing at the start of a letter which reads something like ‘Dear Sir/Madam’). There are many ways in which to do a salutation. For one, you could write Dear (insert employer’s name). This will suffice. On the other hand, if you do not know the employer’s name, or you don’t know exactly who you are contacting, it’s best to write “To whom it may concern”. Please try to remain formal with your salutation. If for example, you begin your letter with an informal “Hi”, or “Hello there”, for example, you may not be taken seriously.
- Paragraph One
In this paragraph, you should state the position that you are applying for. Provide information on where you found the job listing, and if you happened to come to know of the job through somebody related to the company, it would be helpful to include his or her name.
- Paragraph Two
Here is where you should state your strengths and why you would be a suitable candidate for the job. Provide the most relevant work experience which you think the employer would like to know about. Also, provide your educational background. With a combination of education and work experience, you can present yourself in the strongest position to your employer. Once stated, try and relate all your education and work experience back to the employer. In other words, state what you could do for the company given all the experience that you have. For example:
“After having successfully completed my degree in criminology and having dealt with a number of clients throughout the years in (…) I feel that I could further my current expertise and experience with your company”.
- Paragraph Three
Close out the main body of your cover letter with thanks and appreciation. Thank them for considering you, and if you have ample space, briefly reinforce why you would be the perfect candidate for the job.
Step 3: The Ending Of Your Cover Letter
- A Formal Close
Just like your salutation at the beginning, close your letter with a ‘Respectfully yours”, “Regards”, or a “Sincerely”. At the very end of your letter, you should provide your signature. If you are applying via email, your full name will suffice.
- Applying Via Email
If you are applying to the job position via email, there are some other things which you must bear in mind. The above cover letter format remains the same, but there are some other formalities to consider. First of all, think about your font style in your email. Don’t use something which is hard to read. If you are unsure, stick with Times New Roman. Also, consider your line spacing. The font can be hard to read when bunched closely together. Lastly, include a subject line in your email. In your subject line, the email content should be clear. For example, “Application For the Position Of … At …” would suffice.
And there you have it. A complete step by step guide to your cover letter format. If you still have some doubts about the overall cover letter format, do a google search on cover letter examples. Also, try asking a friend if your cover letter format is up to standard.