Home » Cover Letter Formats

Table of Contents

Cover letters aren’t all created equal. The great ones can convince a hiring leader to spring into action and invite you in for an interview, and the bad ones can eliminate you from the running in a moment. One of the keys to writing a good cover letter is to pick the right format. Our professional designs and expert writing tips will help you put your best foot forward with each job application.

Best Cover Letter Formats

Your cover letter is one of the first documents a recruiter will read to determine your qualifications when you apply for a job. Making your letter clean and attractive is critical to getting a recruiter to continue reading. Whether you like a sleek and modern look or you lean toward a colorful and artistic layout, there’s a professional design for every taste and style.

Keep your audience in mind. An applicant for a job in a conservative environment, such as a law firm or financial services company, will want to choose a simple, classic template. However, an applicant for a job in beauty, fashion, or a creative field might want something edgier.

If you aren’t sure of which format is right for you, a basic template will work for everyone, regardless of the level of experience or industry. View our best cover letter examples below.

Basic and Simple

Clean

Modern

Contemporary

Portfolio

Creative

Cover Letter Format Tips by Section

Your cover letter is your chance to separate yourself from candidates who have similar credentials and experience. A good cover letter expands on the information listed in your resume but without rehashing it. A great cover letter does the same, plus it uses keywords and phrases pulled straight from the job ad to make the argument that you’re a perfect candidate for the job.

Your cover letter should not be a repetition of your resume; rather, it should expand on the information your resume provides. To accomplish this, be sure you format your cover letter to include the following sections: a heading, a salutation, an introduction, a strong body, a conclusion and a sign off.

Review our cover letter examples to learn the best practices for formatting and best approaches to each of the five sections.

Heading Example

Introduction Examples

“Please accept my resume as my application to the Marketing Associate position at Pottery Plus. Marketing Manager Joe Johnson suggested I apply for the position. He and I worked together for several years, and he believes that my five years of experience working in busy marketing departments and my proven track record of building and launching successful seasonal retail campaigns make me a great fit for the position.”

“I am writing to apply for the Store Manager position at Green Apple Market. When I first moved to San Francisco, I lived near the market and shopped there regularly. Throughout my career, my experiences at Green Apple Market have stood out as some of the best customer service I have ever received. During my 10 years in the health food industry, I’ve striven to emulate the service I received at your store, which is why I am excited to learn about this opportunity.”

Notice how the first example calls out the name and title of the employee who is making the referral, includes the title of the job being applied for, and highlights the proven experience that the job requires.

In the second example, the applicant states a personal connection to the company, briefly articulates related experience and why the applicant would like to join the team. Again, the letter includes the title of the job, the years of experience, and explains briefly why the applicant would be a good fit for the role. Including the name of the company instantly lets the hiring manager know that this is not a cookie-cutter cover letter.

  • An increase in sales volume.
  • The number of new contracts you won.
  • The increases in market share due to your work.
  • The increase in the number of customers served and retained during your tenure
  • The number of direct reports you managed.
  • The amount of money you saved the company.
  • The percentage by which efficiency improved due to your efforts.
  • The deadlines you metin an average week, month, and/or year.
  • The rank you attained in performance, especially if you were the No. 1 performer or were in the top 10 percent.
  • The professional awards you won.
  • The magazines or journals that published your work.
  • The amount of money raised due to your grant applications.
  • The improvements in employee engagement due to your initiatives.
  • The increase in website traffic or conversion rates.

Here is an example of an effective paragraph of body copy:

“As a customer service representative for Shoe World, I am responsible for answering up to 50 calls and 100 emails per week to assist customers with questions, complaints and concerns. Last quarter, 85 percent of the customers I assisted reported being satisfied with the resolution of their issue in online polling, which is 10 percent above the company’s average satisfaction rate. In 2016, I was recognized for handling more calls than any other customer service rep in the company.”

Or, this section could also be written as a bullet point list. Here is how you would make the information above into list form.

Body Paragraph Bullet Point Example

Closing and Sign-Off Examples

In addition to my marketing experience, my passion for fitness would be an asset in this role. I am excited by the possibility of applying my marketing skills to an area that holds so much personal importance to me, and World Fitness’s mission is exactly one that I’d love to help promote.

Please see additional details of my relevant experience in my attached resume. I am available via phone or email to answer additional questions you might have about my background and to set up an interview.

Sincerely,

Kim Stevens

In addition to my educational background in early childhood development and my experience as a nanny, I find it gratifying to be around children. My past charges have taught me patience, empathy and humor in ways I could never have imagined. I would love the opportunity to meet your children and discuss this role with you further.

Thank you for reviewing my qualifications. Please contact me via telephone or email at your earliest convenience to set up a time to meet.

Respectfully yours,

Molly Fuller

4 Formatting Rules

Your cover letter format is important, but it’s not the only consideration when thinking about the appearance of your cover letter. Keep the following cover letter best practices in mind when you sit down to write your cover letter.