Best Professional Cover Letter Format to Use (2021)

a picture of business person and cover letter outline examples

A professional cover letter format includes a professional's contact information, addressing the hiring manager by name, using a strong opening paragraph, closing the cover letter with a call to action, and signing-off in a professional way.

Learn how to format a cover letter for any type of professional job application.

cover letter format

Cover letter samples

Refer to the cover letter examples below when writing a cover letter.

Basic cover letter format

cover letter format

A basic/modern cover letter sample.

May 29th, 2021

[Hiring Manager's Name]

Google

1110 West Block

Chicago, IL 60707

(xxx) xxx-xxxx

[email protected]

[Dear Mr./Ms.] [Hiring Manager's Name],

I'm writing to submit my formal application for the role of Software Sales Leader. I've spent the last 12 years of my career working closely with engineering teams and sales teams to direct geographical based and territorial based sales efforts.

In my current role, we've led more than 5 initiatives down the pipeline. Leading to more than a 30% bump in lead generation over the past 12-months. Resulting in more than a 4X increase in our bottom line and overall revenue. This role attracted me because it appears that it's going to be more cross-functional with the marketing team. And this will provide me more ability to execute.

Additionally, I take pride in my numbers as a seals leader and the achievements I've been able to contribute to the companies I'm part of. Here are a few highlights of my career:

  • Increased net sales by 4X at Apple.
  • Led the development of a 200 person sales team.
  • Hired more than 100 territory sales leaders.

I look forward to speaking with you more regarding this opportunity. I'm available at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Internship cover letter format

cover letter format

An internship cover letter sample.

May 29th, 2021

[Hiring Manager's Name]

IT of the World

1110 West Block

Chicago, IL 60707

(xxx) xxx-xxxx

[email protected]

[Dear Mr./Ms.] [Hiring Manager's Name],

Your recent software release that allows for better communication between devices is something that stood out to me. When I began looking more into your company culture, I noticed that you are always seeking to simplify complex challenges. And this is an environment I feel I strongly need to be around.

Since I’m looking to be part of the summer internship program for the marketing department. I felt it’s relevant to share with you my experience at school developing Instagram accounts for coursework. We used viral science and neuroscience background to grow 10 Instagram accounts to over 100k followers in 90 days.

Please view my projects at @nueronetwork to see them in full detail. And please read my resume to find out more relevant work about me. That might show you what I can bring to the internship program.

I’m available to speak by phone or in person at your convenience.

Thank you so much,

[Your name]

cover letter format

How to Write a Cover Letter in 2021

Follow these guidelines when writing a cover letter.

Contact details

At the top of the cover letter should be a few pieces of contact information. This contact information should be your information.

Your name

Include your name at the top of the cover letter. First and last name.

Your phone number

List your phone number so that the hiring manager can contact you by phone, if required.

Email address

Provide a professional email address that the manager can reach you at in order to start the interview process. Use a professional email address format. If using Gmail, try [email protected]

cover letter format

LinkedIn or website

Provide your LinkedIn profile URL or a link to your professional website, if you have one. A professional website should contain professional achievements, a partial resume (or work history), and list professional projects you've completed.

Address, date, and the hiring manager's name

The next item that should be included in the cover letter is the current date and the employers contact information. It's completely optional to include the employers contact information.

Here is what that should look like:

  • Today's date.
  • The name of the hiring manager.
  • Company name.
  • Company mailing address/business address (city/state/zip code).

cover letter format

A salutation

It's more ideal to address the hiring manager by name. And be sure to use the proper prefix and gender prefix when addressing the manager.

The best salutation to use is:

  • Dear [Mr./Ms.] Last Name,

If you don't know the name of the hiring manager, it's okay to use:

  • Dear Hiring Manager,

Lastly, if you don't want to risk insulting the recipient based on their gender preference or marital status, you can skip the prefix, like the following:

  • Dear John Smith,

Pro tip: It's okay to use "Mx" as a prefix, too. "Mx" refers to a non-binary gender prefix.

Avoid using "To Whom it May Concern" or "Dear Sir or Madam" at all costs.

cover letter format

Introduction paragraph

A strong introduction paragraph is important inside a cover letter. It's the first area where you can grab the hiring manager's attention. A strong introduction paragraph should introduce yourself, introduce the reason for applying, and why you'd make a strong candidate.

From there, a second paragraph will be used to better list career achievements, skills, merits, volunteer work, certifications, or other attributes that make you a quality candidate.

Hiring managers want to see this inside of a cover letters first paragraph:

  • Why you're applying for the position.
  • Which position you're applying for.
  • An introduction to your professional career.

For an internship cover letter

Inside an internship cover letter, you might not have any prior work experience to promote yourself as a job seeker. It's okay to list the reasons why you want the job. The reason for applying for a job at the company. And what you might benefit from having an internship with the company.

Learn how to write an internship cover letter.

cover letter format

Second paragraph

After an introduction and a reason for why you might be a quality candidate for the job title, it's time to list accomplishments, experiences, soft skills, technical skills, or certifications that make you qualified for the role.

Before writing this paragraph, it's best to refer to the job description or job posting. The job description will provide helpful insights into the requirements of the job.

The best cover letter method for a second paragraph is to use experience or numbers to show you're qualified for the position. Include up to three bullet points that display your capabilities and abilities in that role.

Here is an example of how a candidate can position their skills and work experience:

For the past 4 years, our sales team has hit record highs in terms of sales. We did this by utilizing new sales automation tools in the market. In the job description, it appears that scale of the sales team and managing the sales team in a more efficient manner is part of the requirements. I've scaled sales teams to more than 200 employees in less than 2 years. All equaling more than 4X in revenue and lead generation.

The perfect cover letter is one that written for the hiring manager and company. Making it crucial to research who the cover letter is going to and why. Job seekers should always spend time researching the company, the role, and the hiring manager before writing their cover letter.

cover letter format

For an internship cover letter

It's okay to mention why the company is attractive to you. Or what skills you might gain from the internship in the second paragraph. If you have any prior experience on the job. Or if you have personal projects or volunteer work that might speak to particular skills required of the internship, list them.

Learn how to write an internship cover letter.

Final paragraph

The last paragraph on the cover letter should be your closing paragraph or call to action. It's best to end your cover letter with a strong, distinctive note. Here is what your closing paragraph should contain:

  • A thank you to the hiring manager for reading the cover letter.
  • Include your contact information once more.
  • Have a compelling call to action that tells them you're interested.

Here is an example of a professional closing paragraph:

I appreciate you taking the time to consider my application at Apple. I'm extremely eager to interview for this position and I am available this entire week for job interviews. I look forward to assisting you these goals. Feel free to contact me at (333) 333 - 333 or at [email protected]

Your signature

You should always close the cover letter by saying "Thank you so much," or "Sincerely," and have that follow listing your full name and a digital signature of your name.

cover letter format

Using an electronic signature is best. And will save you time. Rather than printing your cover letter.

Pro tip: A cover letter should always be one-page and three paragraphs in total.

Cover letter template

Below is a cover letter format example:

Contact Details:

Your Name

Phone number

Email

LinkedIn URL

Current date

Hiring Manager’s Name/Recruiter’s Name

Organization/Company Name

Job title

Salutation:

Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs. (Hiring Manager’s Last Name):

When possible, address the reader or specific person the job application is getting sent to.

First Paragraph:

Open with a strong first paragraph that supports what you believe the role and company both value. Use this as a way of telling the hiring manager that the resume and cover letter have gotten designed around your ideas. And around what they value.

Second Paragraph:

Please take a few career achievements and place them here. You can list them in bullet style format or speak to them through significant work experiences. Keep it brief. Mention that you believe these accomplishments show relevant skills and abilities that are right for the job.

Third Paragraph:

Close your cover letter with a clear call to action. Mention available times to have a phone interview. Or suggest they continue to read your resume for more insights on what you can bring to the company.

Closing Sign-off:

Thank you so much for your time,

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I'm looking forward to speaking with you and the team.

Your name

Cover letter formatting tips

Here are the best cover letter format tips.

Format a cover letter correctly

A professional business letter format should avoid using colorful formats or fonts. Use professional business letter guidelines when writing your cover letter.

Review font size and styles

Use 10 to 12-point font sizes. And font styles that are professional. This includes Times New Roman, Calibri, Georgia, Helvetica, Arial, or Verdana. Avoid using too large or too small of font sizes.

Consider the page margins

Page margins should be between 1" and 1.5". It's okay to adjust the margins if you're running out of space in your cover letter. Or if it looks too thin or too full. Adjust accordingly.

Try not to make your cover letter look too thin or too full. Consider balance as part of your overall cover letter format.

Choose the right file format

The proper file format for a cover letter should be PDF or DOCX format. PDF's are the best format since all computers can read PDF's and applicant tracking systems can still read them effectively.

Name your file correctly

Naming your cover letter can help the hiring manager. Your cover letter should use this format:

first-last-job-title-cover-letter.pdf

Email cover letter format

Email cover letters should follow the same format tips included in this guide.

  • Use a clear subject line: Use a professional subject line that includes the job title and your name as part of your job application.
  • Greet the hiring manager: Address the hiring manager by name and start the email.
  • Use an intro paragraph: Similar to the first paragraph in a cover letter.
  • Use a second paragraph/sell paragraph: Inform the hiring manager why they should open your cover letter and resume/cv. Tell them what you'll do when you get the job.
  • Provide a call to action: Inform the manager of your availability. And ask when you can interview.
  • Close the email: End the email professionally and thank the hiring manager.
  • Provide contact information: Your full name, email address, and phone number.

Favorite Resources

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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