Professional Cover Letter Format (Guidelines & Examples)

When applying for a position at a company, your resume is often expected to be accompanied by a cover letter. A letter of introduction, the cover letter gives you the opportunity to explain further the details of your resume. In the contents of the letter, you can highlight more your personal achievements, professionalism and work ethic. You could also take the chance to explain how you would not only be the best fit for the job but for the company as well. When done excellently, you cover letter can easily set you apart from other candidates with the same credentials.

In writing and formatting your cover letter, you should not only be concerned about the content or the information that you provide in it. The manner of your presentation or how your cover letter appears to the employers is also an important consideration. You must make sure that your cover letter follows the proper format, is well-written and readable as well as free from grammatical errors or structural mistakes. This should be your standard even if you are submitting personally or electronically.

Since the cover letter is an example of professional or business correspondence, it must be written as a formal business letter. This means that your letter should follow a strict order and format with parts such as the sender and recipient’s address; a formal greeting; a body with a beginning, middle and end; as well as a closing and a signature.

Similar to all other forms of writing, a cover letter must be written with purpose. It is better to write your cover letter with your target goal in mind like presenting to the employer how you are the best qualified person for the job. The cover letter for your application should be tailor-fitted according the needs of the situation. This is explained further below.

What Content to Include in your Cover Letter

The content of the cover letter depends on the circumstances of your application. For these varying circumstances, there are several kinds of cover letters:

  • Application Cover Letter – These are written to apply for positions in response to specific job openings advertised in a company.
  • Letter of Interest – This kind of cover letter is also known as the prospecting letter, for its goal is to inquire about possible job openings in a company.
  • Networking Letter – If you want assistance or advise when it comes to finding a job, then this kind of letter is what you need. This cover letter is often addressed to colleagues or individuals that are part of your network. You can also ask for referrals using this cover letter type.
  • Recommendation or Referral Cover Letter – In some cases where you are referred to a job or company by a person or another company, then you have to mention them in this type of cover letter. This kind of cover letter can be advantageous to you in gaining the interest and trust of your future employer.
  • Value Proposition Letter – These kinds are aimed at marketing your best assets to the company. It highlights important details in your resume that show specifically how you are unique in comparison to your competitors.

When you have decided on the kind of cover letter that you should write, then you can start on writing your letter. The standard parts of the business letter such as applicant and employee’s address, the formal greeting, the closing and the signature should always be included. However, the cover letter’s body should include the following parts which could be altered depending on your application’s purpose.

  • Self-Introduction – You should introduce yourself first to your future employer. You can include your background, how you learned of the vacant position and how you would fit in the job and the company.
  • Your Qualifications – In the next paragraph, you have to mention your qualifications that make you the best candidate for the job. Here, it is also suggested that you highlight the greatest and the most relevant of your achievements.
  • Proof of Research – A paragraph of your cover letter should also show how well you have studied the company: its history, vision, mission and accomplishments. This will give them a sense that you really care about the work that the company does. This is also a good part where you can tell them how you see yourself growing with the company in the future – this will give them a sense of your dedication in long-term.
  • Follow Up Action – The last paragraph of your cover letter should inform the human resources manager how you can be contacted and when you are available for interviews. You can also mention here that you will follow with the company regarding your application if necessary.

Things To Keep In Mind When Formatting Your Cover Letter

Pick an appropriate font

Since the cover letter is a kind of business correspondence, there should be no room for overly artistic, curly or script-style fonts. Choose simple and easily readable fonts in standard font size 12 such as Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri and Verdana.

Take note of the margins and white space

The standard margins for cover letters should be one inch on all sides of the paper. However, if you cannot condense your ideas on a single page, then you can opt to narrow further the margins – up to 0.5 inches to 0.25 inches on all sides is still acceptable.

Check the length of your cover Letter

Based on the rule regarding proper margins above, a cover letter should only take one page of a legal or letter-sized bond paper. This means that it should contain around 4 to 5 paragraphs with a word count between 300 to 500 words.

Always check your writing before printing and submitting

You should always re-read your written cover letters to check it for grammar mistakes, typographical errors, clumsy sentence construction or a need for better paragraph structure. This is important as the resume, along with your cover letter, is the first impression that you get to make to your future employers.

Sample Formatted Cover Letter

Emily Carlson1408 Avalon-Boulevard

Gardena – CA 90247


[email protected]

May 24, 2018

Pam Jaccarino

Vice President, Editor-in-Chief

Luxe Interiors + Design

3651 NW-8th Avenue

Boca Raton – Florida 33431

Dear Ms. Jaccarino:

I am Emily Carlson, a fresh graduate of Interior Design from California State University – Long Beach. I have learned of your opening for a Homes Editor in Luxe Magazine from your company’s website, LuxeSource. I want to apply for this job because Interior Design has been my passion for a very long time. In addition, a job at Luxe Magazine would allow me to experience and learn more about the field by exploring the most popular trends and studying the work of the best interior designers.

Aside from my achievements as an honor student during my stay in the university, I also had an extensive summer internship at Grace Home Furnishings in Palm Springs. During my internship, I was able to practice applying the concepts of space planning, color coordination and furnishing by assisting some senior interior designers in their work. They also gave me experience in editing and writing interior design articles by creating some features and product descriptions for their catalogues. I was also the leader of the CSU Long Beach’s champion interior design team in last year’s Student Design Competition.

I have followed closely the work of Luxe Magazine since I first learned about it in 2007. I have admired the magazine’s culture of excellence in its passionate study of the design industry and its leading architects, interior designers and home builders. I would very much like to be a part of Luxe Magazine’s purpose in showcasing unique trends, personal styles and other luxurious works of art in the field of interior design at present, and in the years to come.

Attached with this cover letter are copies of my diploma, transcript of records and letters of recommendation. I have indicated in my resume my contact details. If considered, I am free to come in for an interview at your appointed time and convenience. I am hoping your positive response.

Respectfully yours,

Emily Carlson

Cover Letter Format (Downloadable Version)

Cover Letter Format