Every inch of your cover letter should be just as laser-focused as your resume. Even though most recruiter attention may be given to body paragraphs and work experience sections, obvious, page-topping mistakes are often instantly disqualifying. Did you accidentally leave the wrong phone number, address the letter to the wrong hiring manager, or use the wrong company name entirely?
Even when convenient cover letter builders can shoulder so much creative weight, it’s critical for every job seeker to be familiar enough with the basics to avoid these types of rookie errors.
Atop of your cover letter’s header should sit your most basic contact information. Your name should be immediately visible, likely set in the largest font found on the page, followed by a phone number and professional-sounding email address adjacent or just below. Remember, mistakes made here are more than red flags to hiring managers; they could leave you impossible to contact. On the same line, these elements can be preceded by your city, state, and zip code if you choose to include them.
The level of the detail in this section’s remaining portion hinges on how much you know about the company and hiring manager most likely to read your cover letter. After another line break following the letter’s date (which itself follows your contact info at the same distance), address its recipient with as much detail as possible.
If you can be confidently accurate, write out the recipient’s first and last name, the company name, city, state/province, zip code in which its office is located, phone number, and email. Each should be separated by a line break. It’s okay to not have every piece of information, but showing a recruiter you’ve done your homework rarely hurts your chances of landing an interview.
Finally, make sure you kick off the main text of your cover letter with a proper greeting. Even if you already placed the hiring manager’s name atop the address above, it’s okay to use it again here. A simple “Dear [hiring manager’s name]” will do.
If you want help in nailing the exact placement of every element explained here, LiveCareer’s Cover Letter Builder can assist with that and more. To know more about which type of cover letter is right for you and your dream job, our page detailing Cover Letter Formats can illuminate all you need to know.