Best Cover Letter Outline and Writing Tips (+ Free Templates) [2020]

cover letter outline examples

Using a cover letter outline can expedite the process of writing an effective cover letter. It can assist in ensuring that your cover letter format is correct, as well. The following cover letter outline can be used by a job seeker to act as a cover letter template and writing guide.

Before you start writing and putting together your own cover letter, take some time to think about what you believe your future employer’s needs are with the role. Look through the job description, the company about page, recent company news, or any other relevant source that may provide insight.

From here, start to think about your career accomplishments. You may have listed a few on your resume already, which is okay. You’ll want to reiterate them on your cover letter as the recruiter, hiring manager, or potential employer hiring for the role may look at the cover letter first.

Remember, writing the perfect cover letter entails predicting what the hiring manager or company may value for the specific job you’re applying for. Then trying to support your qualifications through career accomplishments and portraying an understanding of those requirements.

Tip: Keep the cover letter design simple. The cover letter format should be readable and professional. The hiring manager will appreciate a professional cover letter over a "creative" cover letter.

Cover Letter Outline

Contact Details:

Your Name
Phone number
LinkedIn URL

Current date

Hiring Manager’s Name/Recruiter’s Name
Organization/Company Name
Job title


Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs. (Hiring Manager’s Last Name):
When possible, address the reader or specific person the job application is being 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 your resume and rest of the cover letter has been designed around your ideas for what they value.

Second Paragraph:

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,
Your name

Cover Letter Writing Tips

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur,, SparkHire, and many more.


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