Formatting a Cover Letter

The information included in your cover letter is just as important as your resume. And like your resume, you want it to look professional and nicely organized. The cover letter is a business letter and should be treated as such. Luckily, formatting a cover letter correctly is one of the easiest things you can do to let an employer know you are serious about a job. Check to see that your cover letter hits each of the following points:

  • Type your letter on a vertical, 8.5 x 11 inch standard sheet of paper — your cover letter should be no longer than the front of one page

  • Use no less than one-inch margins on all sides

  • Use black ink with an easy-to-read font such as Arial, Calibri or Helvetica

  • Place the recipient’s name, address and other contact info left-aligned at the top

  • Your name, address and other contact info should be left-aligned or right-aligned at the top in line with or under the recipient’s address

  • Include the expected date of delivery at the top

  • Don’t use indentations or “tabs” anywhere in the document

  • A greeting line addressing the recipient by name and title, such as “Ms. Smith:” or “President Anderson.” If you don’t know the name of the intended recipient, use a title only, such as “Hiring Manager” or “Human Resources Department.” If you’re still unsure, the safest bet is to address your letter “To Whom it May Concern:”

  • A sign-off such as “Sincerely,” “Thank you” or “Best regards”

  • Always include your first and last name at the end, and a signature in blue ink if you will be mailing or hand-delivering your letter

View Sample Cover Letters