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Cover Letter Spacing and Margins
- Cover Letter Format
- Salutation and Greeting
- Who To Address When Unknown
- How To Start A Cover Letter
- How To End A Cover Letter
- Best Cover Letter Font And Size
- Cover Letter Spacing
- Cover Letter Length
- Key Elements Of A Cover Letter
- How To Write An Address
- Official Letter Format
- Cover Letter Opening
Find a Job You Really Want In
Writing a standout cover letter is about more than just having great content. Coming off as professional in both form and function is going to help you get noticed by hiring managers.
That means using proper spacing, margins, indentation, and length. Do these things correctly and your cover letter will be well-organized, clear, and easy to read.
Whether you’re sending a physical cover letter or an email, we’ll provide guidelines to make your cover letter format perfect. We’ll also show you a sample cover letter for both a physical copy and an email version.
Your margins should be 1-inch on all sides, but if youâ€™re going over one page , then you can consider making the margins smaller
Your cover letter should be similar to your resume with font and font size, which should be no larger than 12-point font.
A cover letter should be between 200-300 words, but try to keep it on the shorter end if possible.
Cover Letter Spacing Guidelines
Proper cover letter length, cover letter examples, margins and alignment in a cover letter, guidelines for cover letter font, sending your cover letter, final thoughts.
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We’ll start with proper cover letter spacing, which is the first thing any hiring manager is going to notice upon first glance. Follow these rules and your page will look professionally done.
Spacing varies slightly depending on if you’re sending a physical cover letter or a digital cover letter.
Physical Copy Guidelines:
Single-space your cover letter
Start with your contact information in the following order:
Your name Your current address City, state, zip code Phone number Email address
Add one space
Write the date
Add the contact information of the letter’s recipient in the following order:
Hiring manager’s name Company Address Company city, state, zip code Hiring manager’s phone number Hiring manager’s email address
Write your salutation
Write 3-4 paragraphs, with one space between each one
Add one space after your final paragraph
Write your closing sign-off (e.g., Sincerely)
Put three spaces between your closing and your typed name
Put your signature in the space between your closing and your typed name
Tip: You can use the same header for your cover letter as your resume.
Email Cover Letter Spacing Guidelines:
Start with a salutation
>Write 3-4 paragraphs, with one space between each one
Add two spaces
Write your contact info in the following order
Full name Position Phone number Email address
If you have a formatted email signature , you can use that for step 8. You can add a digital signature between your closing and contact info if you think it looks snazzy (or, better yet, you think your prospective employer will think it looks snazzy).
Tip: When emailing a cover letter, keep your subject line clear and professional. State your name, the position title, and the fact that you’re sending along documents for an application. It should look something like “Donald Duck — Sales Representative Application.”
Just like your resume, your cover letter should never exceed one page . Ideally, the body of your cover letter should be between 200-300 words (aiming for the lower end of that spectrum is your best bet). Hiring managers have to sift through tons of these cover letters, so keeping things short and sweet is beneficial.
A cover letter should have three paragraphs, four at the most.
Opening paragraph. Your opening paragraph should introduce yourself and your background, grab the reader’s attention with a big accomplishment, and let the company know why you’re applying. If you were referred by someone in the company, this is a good place to mention it.
Body paragraph(s). Your middle paragraph(s) should focus on your professional qualities and experiences that relate to the company for which you’re applying. Don’t repeat credentials from your resume, because the hiring manager has probably already looked at it. Dig deeper and highlight why you’re the perfect fit for the position.
If you’re having trouble deciding which elements of your professional history are best to include here, read the job description again. Note the required qualifications and significant responsibilities.
Then, look back on your experience for moments where you applied similar skills or achieved results comparable to what the new company wants to achieve. Any time you can give percentages, dollar figures, or numbers to describe your duties, it will be more impactful.
Closing paragraph. Your closing paragraph thanks the employer for considering your application. You can also express how eager you are to learn more about the role and the company.
Cut out unnecessary information and you should have no trouble fitting everything in a 300-word count maximum.
Tip: Never address your cover letter with “To whom it may concern” . Do your best to find the name of the person who will be reading your cover letter, and address it to him or her. If your best efforts turn up nothing or you’re still unsure, use “Dear Hiring Manager” or one of its alternatives .
Physical copy example:
Jonathan Cash 123 Apple Street Anywhere, CO 12345 (999) 765-4321 [email protected] August 22, 2020 Phyllis Vance 789 Company Lane Somewhere, CO 56789 (543) 210-9876 [email protected] Dear Ms. Vance, I was excited to see a job posting for the Sales Representative position on NextCompany.com. I have been working in sales since I was a child with my first lemonade stand, and have 6+ years of formal experience working in sales. During my time at CurComp, I have developed my knowledge of marketing strategies, my ability to generate interest in new products, and my skill at maintaining strong, lasting customer satisfaction. My proudest achievements as a sales representative have been exceeding sales quotas by 10% or more each quarter, closing $900,000 in 2018 (25% above goal), and ranking as the top salesperson in the company in Q2 of 2019. Helping customers see the value of products that I truly believe in is the greatest source of satisfaction in my professional life. I would be thrilled to be in a position where I could implement my proven strategies to sell products offered by NextCompany, which have garnered the attention and excitement of industry experts for years. Thank you for considering me for the Sales Representative position. I look forward to discussing the role further and learning how my brand of salesmanship could fit into NextCompany’s business model. Sincerely, Jonathan Cash
Email cover letter example:
Dear Pat Murphy, ABC Inc. needs an Accountant who is determined, organized, and has years of expereince maintaining financial records. Luckily, I meet all three of those criteria. After getting an MBA with a specialization in Accounts from the University of Florida, I began working in the financial sector. For more than six years, I’ve helped companies upkeep and maintain financial records, run risk assessments, and handle all payroll and invoice documentation. I’ve also dedicated my Saturday’s performing pro bono accounting consultation for a local food bank. I was glad to see that ABC is also greatly involved with aiding the impoverished areas of our city, which further drew me to apply for this role. In my current position with XYZ Corp., I lead a team of 12 junior accountants managing a total of $10M+ in assets and cash. By setting up a new invoice system for contractors, I was able to reduce overhead by 8% and increase the efficiency of contracted projects by 6%. My proudest moment at XYZ, though, was finding a budgetary error that was bleeding over $15,000 monthly from the company. When I identified and fixed this problem, XYZ awarded me “Top Performer of the Month” in January 2020. With me, you get more than a regular CPA — you get a top-notch presenter who thrives in collaborative, deadline-driven work environments. I look forward to speaking more about how I can help XYZ achieve its goals in the years to come. Sincerely, Joanne Diggerly Johnston, HI 54321 (555) 432-1098 [email protected]
Like most documents, your cover letter should be aligned to the left. You should use 1-inch margins on all sides, but if you’re going over one page, then you can consider making the margins smaller. But really, if you’re sticking to our cover letter length guidelines (more on that below), then you should have no issues with standard 1-inch margins.
At no point should you indent any of your paragraphs. And don’t go bigger than 1-inch margins, because it’s going to look super obvious that you’re trying to make the letter’s content look beefier than it is.
If you’re writing your cover letter in Microsoft Word, you can change margins by pressing Page Layout followed by Margins . If you’re writing your cover letter in Google Docs, you can change margins by pressing File and then Page Setup .
A good rule of thumb is to make your cover letter as aesthetically similar to your resume as possible. That means using the same font. Basic, everyday fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, or Calibri are all good options.
Font size should generally be 12-point. If you’re trying to include more content, you could consider bringing that down to 10-point, but play around with margins as well to see which option allows you more space while keeping the letter visually pleasing .
Things to avoid like the plague are: underlining, highlighting, colored lettering, and CAPITALIZING. You can consider using bold or italicized text but use these sparingly to emphasize the key points of your cover letter. And if you choose to use bold, don’t also use italics (and vice versa).
Tip: Look at whether your prospective company uses “serif fonts” (tails at the end of letters, like in Times New Roman) or “sans serif” fonts (no tails at the end, like Arial). Then, use a font in the same style for your resume and cover letter.
If you’re sending your cover letter as a file, make sure to give it an appropriate name. For example, “John-Doe-Cover-Letter” tells the recipient exactly what the file is.
Be advised that many companies use an applicant tracking system when reviewing resumes and cover letters, so using a compatible file format like PDF or .doc is your best bet.
Sending your application documents as PDFs ensures that formatting will remain consistent across devices and operating systems. That makes it a strong choice most of the time, unless the employer specifically asks you not to send a PDF. Instructions directly from the employer always trump any advice we give here.
Cover letter spacing and margins might be the last thing on your mind, but they’re the first thing that a hiring manager or recruiter is going to notice. A bit of creativity is great when you’re applying for jobs, but some standards exist for a reason.
Stick to 1-inch margins and single-spaced, unindented paragraphs, and you’ll be off to a great first impression .
Careerservices.illinoisstate.edu. “ PDF .”
Owl.purdue.edu. “ Quick Formatting Tips // Purdue Writing Lab .”
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Matthew Zane is the lead editor of Zippia's How To Get A Job Guides. He is a teacher, writer, and world-traveler that wants to help people at every stage of the career life cycle. He completed his masters in American Literature from Trinity College Dublin and BA in English from the University of Connecticut.
Matt Warzel a President of a resume writing firm (MJW Careers, LLC) with 15+ years of recruitment, outplacement, career coaching and resume writing experience. Matt is also a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR) with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Marketing Focus) from John Carroll University.
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How To Write An Address (With Examples)
How to Close Your Cover Letter Like a Boss
How to Sign a Cover Letter (With Examples)
Cover Letter Tips To Help You Land The Job (With Examples)
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How To Format a Cover Letter (With Examples)
Cover Letter Format Guidelines
- How To Format a Cover Letter
What To Include in Each Section
- Formatting Tips for Cover Letters
Cover Letter Template
When you are applying for a job, how you format your cover letter is important because the letter is one of the first impressions you'll make on an employer. In fact, how you format your letter is almost as important as what you write in it.
A cover letter that is formatted incorrectly, or is difficult to read, can quickly eliminate you from the pool of candidates, so it's important to pay just as much attention to the formatting of your letter as to its content.
Here's information on cover letter formatting guidelines including setting page margins, choosing a font style and size, paragraph and section spacing, and more tips on how to format cover letters for employment.
Formatting includes factors such as page margins , font type and size , line, paragraph and section spacing, and document type. For example, a letter without the correct spacing between paragraphs, or with too much text on a page, is going to look cluttered, or a letter saved as a file type that is not meant for a text document (such as a .jpg or a .png) may prevent the reader from opening and viewing it.
Adhering to typical standards in formatting is especially important considering that communication skills are important in nearly every field, and failing to compose a readable cover letter will certainly not inspire confidence in your abilities.
On the other hand, a cover letter that is saved correctly and uses sufficient white space , a simple, reasonably sized font, and an appropriate salutation and closing will make a positive impression on your potential employers.
How To Format a Cover Letter
The easiest way to format a letter is to write the letter first, then format it. Once you have all the content ( contact information , why you are applying and qualified, signature, etc.) on the page, you can then easily adjust the margins, font, and alignment. Here's an overview of each section.
- Contact Section : How you include your contact information will vary based on how you are sending your cover letter. If you are uploading or mailing a letter, put the information at the top of the page.
With an email cover letter, your contact information should be below your signature.
- Employer Address : How you address the cover letter will depend on how much information you have about the employer.
- Salutation : A salutation is the greeting you include at the beginning of a cover letter. Here's how to write a salutation, including what to use if you don't have the name of a contact person to list.
- Body : The body of a cover letter includes the sections where you explain why you are interested in and qualified for the job for which you are applying. Here's what to include in each section or your letter.
- Paragraphs and Bulleted Lists : A more traditional cover letter contains written paragraphs describing your qualifications.
- Closing : When you're writing a cover letter or sending an email message to apply for a job it's important to close your cover letter in a professional manner. Here's how to close your letter with class.
Here are details on what to include in each section of your cover letter.
Cover Letter Format Example
Your Contact Information Name Address City, State Zip Code Phone Number Email Address
Employer Contact Information (if you have it) Name Title Company Address City, State Zip Code
- Cover Letter Contact Section Examples
Salutation Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,
Cover Letter Greeting Examples : Note: If you do not have a contact name, you can skip the salutation entirely. Or, you can use Dear Hiring Manager, To Whom It May Concern , or one of the other examples listed in the link. Ideally, you will be able to address your cover letter to a specific person. Doing research can help you figure out who is the most appropriate person to receive the letter. Note: If you do not know the gender of your contact, you can write out the person's full name, e.g., "Dear Cory Smith"or "Dear Jordan Parish."
Body of Cover Letter The body of your cover letter lets the employer know what position you are applying for, why the employer should select you for an interview, and how you will follow-up. Organize the body of your cover letter into the following paragraphs:
- First Paragraph The first paragraph of your letter should include information on why you are writing. Mention the position you are applying for and where you found the job listing. Include the name of a mutual contact, if you have one.
- Middle Paragraph(s) The next section of your cover letter should describe what you have to offer the employer. Mention specifically how your qualifications match the job you are applying for. Think of this section of the cover letter as where you're making a pitch for your fit as an employee and show what makes you a great candidate. Make the connection between your qualifications and the job requirements clear . Use this section to interpret your resume—don't repeat from it verbatim.
- Final Paragraph Conclude your cover letter by thanking the employer for considering you for the position. Include information on how you will follow-up. Optionally, you can briefly restate why you would be a good fit for the position.
Complimentary Close Respectfully yours,
- Closing Examples
Handwritten Signature (for a hard copy letter)
- Signature Examples
Formatting Tips for Cover Letters
Here are some formatting tips to keep in mind when you are writing your letter:
- Font choices: The details count when it comes to cover letters, so choose a professional font in a 10 or 12 point size. This is no time to break out emoticons or emojis.
- Email versus hard copy letters: The sample letter below is formatted for a printed out hard copy. If you are emailing your cover letter, you'll need to pay particular attention to the subject line of your email. See more tips for formatting your email cover letter .
- Letter Spacing: Your letter should be single-spaced. Include a space between every paragraph, and in general, a space between each section of the letter. (That is, there should be a space between the address and the date, and then again between the date and the salutation.)
- Email Spacing: In an email cover letter, where many sections are left off, you will want to include a space between the salutation and between each paragraph, and another space before your complimentary close.
- Proofreading: Remember that note about details counting in cover letters? Make sure to avoid errors by carefully proofreading your letter. Here are guidelines for proofreading your cover letter.
Use your word processor's spell check to catch common errors, and then consider reading your letter aloud—or having a friend review it—to catch additional errors.
Download the cover letter template (compatible with Google Docs or Word Online) or read the example below.
@ The Balance 2020
Cover Letter Sample (Text Version)
Molly Smith 21 Spring Street Anycity, NY 12000 555-122-3333 email@example.com
December 11, 2020
John Brown Sales Manager Acme Corp. 321 Main Street Anycity, NY 12000
Dear Mr. Brown,
I wish to apply for the sales position advertised on Monster.com. Terry Johnson suggested that I contact you directly, as we have worked together, and he felt that I would be a good fit with your team.
For the past two years I have been working in sales for Goodman & Co.. I have consistently exceeded my targets and I was recognized last quarter for outstanding service. As an avid cyclist and user of many of your products, I'm aware that Acme Corp. is a company with tremendous potential. I am confident that my experience, communication skills, and ability to convey product benefits effectively would enable me to excel in the sales role.
I would be delighted to discuss with you how I might be an asset to the Acme Corp. sales team. Thank you for your consideration; I look forward to hearing from you.
Signature (hard copy letter)
CareerOneStop. " How Do I Write a Cover Letter ?" Accessed Dec. 11, 2020.
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Cover Letter Font Size And Margins
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