Formatting a Cover Letter

Because a cover letter is your first chance to make a lasting impression with a hiring manager, it must be professional.

To accomplish this:

Always use the same heading for your cover letter that you have used in your resume.

Whenever possible, use the hiring manager’s name. This personalizes the document and shows attention to detail.

Include in your opening paragraph what job you’re interested in and a specific reason as to why you feel qualified for this position.

Include in the body of the letter the specific experience, skills or accomplishments from your past that dovetail with the requirements of the new job. This data should be bulleted, rather than presented in a solid block of text. The human eye is drawn to bulleted areas, and they provide the data in an easy-to-read format, so that the hiring manager can digest the information from one sentence before moving on to the others.  

If the letter is being addressed to a specific hiring manager, close your letter proactively indicating that you will be contacting the hiring manager’s office within the next week to see if you might set up a time to meet.

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