This article about the cover letter template outlines all of the different things you should be including, in order to increase the chances of you being chosen. It is always wise to understand how these are supposed to be written and presented and it is often recommended to review other cover letters before writing yours.

Cover letters, both written and formulated via email are designed for a variety of job and employment enquiries. Personalising your letter shows professionalism and your overall ability to do the job in which you’re applying.

Header

The cover letter should always begin with the basic contact information of both yourself and your employer, followed by the date. The rule is slightly different if you are writing an email. You should include the contact information at the end, after your signature.

Your contact information should be as follows:

  • First and Surname
  • Street Address/House Name
  • City
  • Postal Code
  • Phone Number
  • Email address

Salutation

If you know the person with whom the cover letter is being directed, you must start the letter with ‘Dr/Mr/Mrs/Ms the last name’. If you don’t know if they are male or female, you can simply write their full name. You should always write, ‘Dear Hiring Manager,’ if you don’t know the employer’s name. This is more personal than, ‘To whom it may concern,’

Introduction

Start your cover letter by mentioning which job you’re actually applying for. Briefly mention where you first heard about the job, especially if you heard about it from someone connected to the company. Clarify how your skills and past employment experience match the company and/or the position you are applying for. The overall goal of the introduction is to get the readers initial intention. See examples of engaging opening sentences from cover letters.

Body

The following one to two paragraphs should outline why you are interested in the job and what makes you a perfect candidate. Where possible, mention specific qualifications that match the job posting. This is a time to provide specific examples to demonstrate your skills.

It is always more appealing for employers to be given examples of your traits by being shown, rather than told. An example of this would be to use examples of your work to show you are a great team player rather than stating it. Find more information here on what to include within the body your cover letter.

Closing

The end of your cover letter should reaffirm how your skills make you a strong fit for the company and/or the position. If you have space at the end (as a general rule, your cover letter shouldn’t be any longer than a page – you can find more information on how long a cover letter should be here) you could personalise it by discussing why you’d like to work for that specific company. You should mention at this point you would like the opportunity to attend an interview. Clarify what you will do to follow-up the cover letter and when you will do it. Always thank the employer for his or her consideration.

Signature

Write a courteous ending, followed by your handwritten signature above your typed name. If it is an email, include your typed name and contact information at the bottom.

Format Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter should follow the same style and font as your CV. This should be formatted as a professional business letter. The font should be simple like Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, Georgia or Verdana. The size of the font should be between 10- 12, making it easy to read. The top, bottom, left and right margins are the standard size of 1″. Reducing the font and margin sizes will keep your document to a single page but there should be enough blank space so it is easy to read.

Edit and Proofread Your Cover Letter

When you have finished your cover letter, make sure it is edited and proofread before it is sent. It is best double-checking you have the correct employer and company details – this is an easy mistake to make when you could be writing multiple cover letters at once. Printing the document and reading it aloud is the best way to catch typos, missing words and difficult sentences. Make sure the name of the company and contact’s names are spelt correctly.  Ask a friend or family member to check the cover letter. Two eyes are better than one as even professional proof-readers sometimes miss mistakes.

This is not the only cover letter template you can use, however, it outlines all the key components suggested to include in any cover letter.