How to Set Out a Cover Letter (6 Steps)

April 29, 2020

How to set out a cover letter? A cover letter is supposed to be an easy way to allow the employer to get to know you on a more personal level, and it should be a fairly simple thing to create. Unfortunately, a lot of people find it an out-and-out challenge to put together a cover letter. One thing that can make your venture infinitely easier is to set out a cover letter before filling it in.

So, how to set out a cover letter? Formatting your cover letter before filling in the details is a great way to get the ball rolling. It’s fairly simple- you will start with the date and your contact information. Then, you will place a greeting, an opening paragraph, middle paragraph(s), and ending paragraph before closing.

If you are ready to say goodbye to your cover letter woes, then you have come to the right place. We will be discussing how to properly set out a cover letter so all you need to do is fill in the details when the time is right. Plus, setting out a solid cover letter can help you with multiple cover letters for a variety of jobs so you don’t always have to start from square one.

setting out a cover letter

Answered: How to Set Out a Cover Letter in 6 Steps (& Land Your Dream Job!)

Cover letter formatting isn’t rocket science, but it’s fairly particular- and employers want to see the proper formatting each and every time.

The good news is, though, that once you have solidly set out your cover letter, it will be easy to fill in the details and know you have put together a rockstar cover letter that hiring managers will be happy with.

Let’s take a look at some of the things to include when setting out a cover letter:

1. Start with the Date and Contact Information

The very first thing you are going to want to do is to provide the date along with your contact information. It should look something like this:

Date
Your Name (First and Last)
City and State
Phone Number
Email Address

Don’t be overly concerned with placing your address. You can place it if you want to and feel comfortable doing so, but digital cover letters do not necessarily need them.

If this is going to be mailed as a paper copy, then you should include your address as well so the company knows where to send any responses.

You don’t need to put the company’s contact information, although some people may still add it for nostalgic purposes. You might feel more comfortable adding it to a paper cover letter, too, to ensure the cover letter gets directly to whom it is supposed to.

2. Add Your Greeting

The next part is the greeting (or salutation), which is a hit or miss when it comes to hiring managers. That being said, yes- greetings are an extremely important piece of the puzzle when it comes to your cover letter. This is because this is the area where employers will get to see your expertise, communication skills, and how much you care about the job.

Your greeting should always be on the personal, but professional side. You should always have a name, refusing to settle for impersonal salutations such as ‘To Whom It May Concern’. Instead, find a name, and greet the reader by saying ‘Dear Ms. Jones’ or ‘Hello Dr. Oswald’.

3. Write Your Opening Paragraph

Here is where you will want to catch the employer’s attention.

You should start with a swift, yet enthusiastic introduction of yourself and start off on the right foot by tossing in some facts about who you are as it pertains to the job. For instance, you might start off with

My name is Jennifer Adams, Lawrence Elementary’s Teacher of the Year for the past 3 years.”

Start off with a bang and some useful information that shows that you’re the best person for the job. This will pique the hiring manager’s interest and they will feel more excited and somewhat obligated to continue reading.

Don’t settle for ‘common’ traits, though, such as being a top-notch customer service agent or a punctual worker- it’s just boring.

4. Start Your Middle Paragraphs

The middle paragraph (or paragraphs- limit to two, though) will include all of your background, history, and skills that make you the top pick for the job.

Keep in mind that you don’t want it to be an exact replica of your resume, though. Give them an explanation of gaps in your career history or share some vital information about your studies or skills that directly relate to the job.

We suggest you use bullet points in your middle paragraphs.

This simply makes it easier for the hiring manager to read and puts your skills, background, and history front and center.

Just make sure that these bullet points have some sustenance, and aren’t just a repeat of your job skills from your resume.

5. Finish With Your Closing Paragraph

This is going to bring your cover letter to an end. Here, you will want to thank the individual for reading your cover letter and taking the time out of their day to do so. Make sure you don’t come across as pushy or desperate in the closing paragraph.

You want to set the tone and make it clear you want them to call. For instance- saying something like

Thank you for your time and consideration. I can’t wait to hear from you to discuss further how I can raise your sales by 25% in just 3 months, just as I did at Wilmington’s. I’m available to chat Monday through Thursday after 1 PM.

This is a good ending because you are giving them a good time to call. You are also sharing even more reasons why you should be hired for the job by tossing in some information about yourself and how you can help the company- otherwise known as to why they need you.

6. Signature

When you’re done with your closing letter you will still need to sign off, so to speak. You will want to professionally say goodbye to the hiring manager, by saying one of these closings:

  • Sincerely
  • Regards
  • Best
  • Respectfully
  • Thank You, Etc.

Remember to stay professional and avoid anything too casual, like ‘Bye’ or ‘Peace Out’. ✌️

We suggest leaving three line spaces in-between your closing and your name. This gives you room to place a signature, which is very professional.

Employers like to see your signature on your resume, so don’t forget it, whether it’s electronic or by hand.

Related Questions

Where does the date go on a cover letter?

The date should almost always go in the top right-hand corner of your cover letter, followed by your contact information. However, some cover letter formats will have you place the date in the middle or the left-hand side. This isn’t typical, though, so you can always be safe with placing it in the upper right-hand corner.

What are the 3 main types of cover letters?

1. Application cover letter
2. Prospecting cover letter
3. Networking cover letter

There are essentially three different types of cover letters, but when applying for a job you will almost always want to use the application cover letter. However, there may come a time when you also utilize a prospecting cover letter or networking cover letter that has its own rules and regulations, so to speak.


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