Cover Letter Format

Candidates seeking jobs normally submit job applications which principally consist of their resumes (a list of their qualifications which include such things like their educational background and their work experience) accompanied with a one page cover letter (which summarizes the lengthier resume) to prospective employers.

Job applications with a winning cover letter get immediate attention of hiring managers, each job applicant endeavors to come up with a well-written cover letter, in order to have a better chance of being hired.

How should a cover letter be written?

A cover letter is sent by job seekers to principally introduce themselves to prospective employers. People who know how to write are aware that to make the cover letter interesting, care must be taken that it is well crafted and composed, with zero errors in grammar.

Since its purpose is to introduce the writer or the job applicant, the cover letter should appear like a properly dressed person is being introduced personally, so shoddy grammar should be avoided as much as possible. Job applicants who are not good letter writers are better advised to have their cover letter edited first by knowledgeable writers before finalizing their signatures on it. Doing so will ensure better reception of their job applications by hiring managers who try to get people who have some communication skills, as this is very much a part of the business world now.

A job applicant writing a cover letter could do well in following the format suggested below, so he can have a good one to serve as the lead document in his job application papers. Generally a one page document in length, the cover letter is divided into a header, introduction, body, and closing.

1. The Header. Cover letters in general use standard business letter style, with the sender’s address and other information, the recipient’s contact information, and the date sent after either the sender’s or the recipient’s address. There could be an optional reference section (e.g. "RE: Job Opportunity at XXX Corporation") and an optional transmission note (e.g. "Via Email to"). The final part of the header is a salutation (e.g., "Dear Mr. Hiring Manager"). Business people are so used to reading letters with a header so the job applicant may just use the same format in his cover letter.

2. The Introduction. The next part is an introduction which briefly states the specific position desired by the applicant, and is specifically designed to catch the employer’s immediate interest.

3. Body of the letter. The body of the cover letter highlights or amplifies on material contained in the resume or job application, and explains why the job seeker is interested in the job and how he would be of value to the employer. The body discusses the skills, qualifications, and past experience of the job applicant. If there are any special things the applicant wants the reader to note, such as his availability date, they may be included as well in the body.

4. Closing. The closing sums up the letter, and indicates the next step the applicant expects to take. It may indicate that the applicant intends to contact the employer with the indirect approach of saying that the applicant will look forward to hearing from or speaking with the employer. A valediction ("Sincerely"), and then a signature line ends up the whole cover letter.

The format of the cover letter described above is standard, but the wording can be more conversational in nature, rather than making the letter appears as if it was written by a lawyer. The personalized approach in the text of the letter is better appreciated by a prospective employer. He will then know that it is not just copied from somewhere.

Editorial Team at Geekinterview is a team of HR and Career Advice members led by Chandra Vennapoosa.

Editorial Team – who has written posts on Online Learning.

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