Should a Cover Letter be Double Spaced?

April 10, 2020

Should a cover letter be double spaced? As if cover letters weren’t challenging already, another aspect you have to consider is formatting. Did you know that hiring managers and employers will potentially toss out a cover letter that isn’t formatted properly? That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you are on top of everything when it comes to formatting, and it all starts with proper spacing.

So, should a cover letter be double spaced? No, a cover letter should never be double spaced. However, there should be a space in-between each paragraph. There are other space-related issues to keep in mind also, such as a single space between your address and the date, and three spaces in-between the closing and your signature.

Knowing the aspects of spacing when it comes to your cover letter is key to making a good impression on your company-to-be. We’re going to discuss in greater detail the do’s and don’ts of spacing when it comes to your cover letter. It might sound complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it you will be a cover letter formatting master.

How to Space Your Cover Letter Properly

A lot of people might automatically assume that double spacing is the way to go. It makes everything look neater, spaces everything out beautifully, and makes your cover letter appear longer.

While double spacing may have been the best choice for making your middle school paper seem longer, it won’t do you any favors in the cover letter world.

You should never use double spacing when creating your cover letter.

Double spacing actually makes it more of a challenge to read, and it also gives off a negative impression. After all, double spacing is something that should have been left in your school years when your teacher or professor asked for it.

But in the real world, single spacing is best.

Another major reason why double-spacing is not advised is that cover letters should never be more than a single page long.

When you double space, you have a higher chance of ending up with an uber long cover letter that at least ends up being over a page, and that is a huge no-no in the career world.

Single spaces appear more professional and are easier to read.

In fact, a large majority of hiring managers and employers said that they would much rather read a single-spaced cover letter. It’s simply easier on the eyes and you can skim through it quickly and efficiently.

Does that mean that they want to see a block of text? No, not at all. So, that being said, while double spacing your entire cover letter is a big no-no, some spacing serves a purpose in your cover letter.

In fact, some spaces are a must when it comes to proper formatting while writing your cover letter.

Let’s take a look at some of the do’s when it comes to spacing:

  • You should always leave space in-between your contact information and the date. Never put spaces in-between your contact information as this can appear messy and it’s simply unnecessary. You should, however, leave space in-between your contact information and the date. This makes it clear when you sent your cover letter so they can stay on top of who sent cover letters when.
  • Leave a space in-between all four paragraphs. A lot of people will be enticed to opt for double spacing between their paragraphs, but this simply is not needed. You can get by with a single space between your four paragraphs. This creates a clean, neat, and professional appearance that employers love.
  • Leave three spaces from your closing to your name. The purpose of leaving three lines from your closer to your name is to leave room for your signature. This is important, and again, makes your cover letter appear far more professional.
  • Leave a single space in-between your greetings and salutations. This is essentially saying that your greetings should be followed by a single space before beginning your next paragraph. When you’re done with your fourth paragraph, add another space before you write your salutations.

As you can see, there are certain times to add spacing and times to leave it alone.

While some of these may be a bit of a challenge to remember, one thing you can always remember is that cover letters should never include double spacing at any point throughout the letter.

This is true whether you’re writing a letter by hand or typing it on a computer.

Other Formatting Tips for Your Cover Letter

Your spacing will determine whether or not you know what you’re doing when it comes to writing a cover letter. However, there are still a few other tips to keep in mind when it comes to formatting, including:

  • Always use a font that is size 10 or 12. Anything smaller will be challenging to read, but anything larger will appear unprofessional. Your best bet is to stick with a font that is sized 10 or 12 from start to finish. There is no need to make your name size 40 to grab their attention- remain professional, neat, and clean at all times.
  • Opt for professional font styles such as Arial or Times New Roman. Again, while other fonts might be cool and eye-catching, they lack professionalism. And, since your employer is looking for the best of the best, you want to remain to look sleek and professional. This is best done by choosing neutral fonts like Arial or Times New Roman.
  •  Your cover letter should always be aligned to the left. And, this means the entirety of your letter should be aligned to the left. Don’t try to plant your main four paragraphs in the middle to draw more attention. Keep them off to the left with the rest of your words. However, this does not include bullet points, which should definitely be added to your cover letter.
  • Don’t add color. Now, this might not be a rule for everyone. Those who are applying for artistic careers can get by with a few colors here and there, but 95% of people should opt-out of using color. Colors appear unprofessional and can really deter an employer from picking you for the job, so stick to the solid black font.

It’s fairly simple- when it comes to formatting, ditch the bells and whistles and keep it neat and professional. Stay to the left, single space, and opt for business fonts like Times New Roman in size 10 or 12.

Related Questions

Should a cover letter be short?

A cover letter should be anywhere from half a page to a full page. Anything less than half a page will seem like you don’t have a lot to offer while going over a full page is just overwhelming for employers and they will lose interest. Just remember to include all the crucial points, such as the greeting, four main paragraphs, and salutations.

Do employees actually read cover letters?

Yes, employers read cover letters. Even in a day and age where it might seem like employers are too busy or too technically advanced for cover letters, they still serve their purpose and employers still read them. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you do a good job on your cover letter and remain professional with proper formatting with every cover letter you create.


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