Sometimes writing a cover letter can be even more difficult than putting your resume together. What should you say? What should you leave out? A cover letter should be a short, introductory message that expresses one’s interest in an open position and briefly outlines their skills and experience. But perfecting the content of your cover letter is only half the battle; it should be formatted just right, too.
So how do you build a cover letter header that’s right for your particular document? Which header is best for specific industries? Would the same cover letter header be appropriate for a job as a marketing assistant as well as a legal assistant? Perhaps not.
One useful tool that can help you get it right is LiveCareer’s Cover Letter Builder. Let’s take a look at how to build a header that helps your cover letter stand out and get noticed.
Your Cover Letter Header
Before a recruiter or hiring manager gets to your resume, they’re going to spend a few seconds on your cover letter. And the first thing they’re going to see is your cover letter header.
The header should contain not only your name (physical addresses are sometimes included, though optional), but a phone number and ideally a professional-sounding email address as well. If you have a link to an online portfolio, you might include that too.
It’s important that your cover letter header’s format matches that of your resume, so font and text sizes should be the same. If you used a color or bolded your resume header’s text, for example, do the same on your cover letter (though this might not be appropriate for all industries, as we’ll get into next).
Format for Your Industry
Traditional? Classic? Contemporary? Which is the best way to go when it comes to building a cover letter header?
LiveCareer's Cover Letter Builder offers a diverse set of formats to choose from. Some can be used for any industry; for example, the professional or classic formats are a safe bet for creative, conservative, or any other types of industry.
A more artistic format, with colored and bold lettering for your name, for instance, or a color highlighting your address and contact information, can be very eye-catching. But this might not be the way to go for jobs in more technical or conservative fields such as finance or law. This could be the perfect way to go, however, for more creative industries like fashion, design, or advertising.
When you’re creating your cover letter header, remember to keep your audience in mind. It’s easy to do with the Cover Letter Builder; before you create your letter, you’ll be asked a few simple questions such as your last position, how many years you’ve been working, and your top strengths, such as "collaboration," "communication," "organization," or "time management."
You’ll also be asked to select what best fits your working style. Are you a leader? A creator? An organizer or analyzer? This information will help to present the types of cover letters and headers that would work best for your needs.