How to Format a Cover Letter

This guide is designed to teach you how to format a cover letter for submission with your resume. Cover letter format follows the same general rules as standard business letter format. Use the cover letter format below as a guideline to create customized cover letters to send to potential employers.

Cover Letter Header Format

The cover letter begins with your name and current contact information, followed by the name and title of the recipient (the hiring decision maker) and company mailing address. Add the current date as a separate line, then your opening salutation.

Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address

Decision-Maker Name
Decision-Maker Title
Company Name
Company Address
Company City, State, Zip Code


Dear Decision-Maker Name:

Cover Letter Body Format

To introduce yourself, briefly indicate the position you’re applying for and where you heard about the position (i.e., from a web site, a newspaper ad, etc.). If you’ve been referred by someone, state that as well. If you’ve had prior contact with the individual you’re writing, reference your meeting.

The rest of the body of your cover letter contains the same elements found in your resume summary. It’s your sales pitch. Explain what you have to offer and why you’re the right candidate for the job. Here you will list your skills and experience, making special note of other pertinent details like schedule availability.

Cover Letter Closing Format

It's always a good idea to finish a cover letter by thanking the recipient for his or her time and encouraging further discussion by stating your preferred contact method. The closing also includes the final salutation:

Your Handwritten Signature (for a mailed letter)

Your Typed Signature

LiveCareer's Cover Letter Builder

For an alternative to going it alone, focus on writing a professional, compelling cover letter and leave the formatting to us. Use LiveCareer's freeCover Letter Builderand we’ll format your cover letter for you.

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