You conquered how to write a resume — boost your application with a great cover letter format. Visit our pre-formatted cover letter templates or read on to learn everything about how to format your cover letter sections, margins and fonts to effectively share your professional accomplishments with potential employers.

How to Structure Your
Cover Letter Format

A cover letter is a specialized business letter that adds context to your resume and job application. A resume summarizes most of your relevant experiences and qualifications — your cover letter builds on one or two capabilities by adding crucial details like increased metrics or profits that help a hiring manager visualize your value.

Let’s cover the basic rules of your cover letter layout:

Like any standard business letter, list your contact information at the top of the page, followed by the hiring manager’s contact information and company, a greeting, three to four body paragraphs and a signature.

To learn more about what information to include in your cover letter, visit our how to write a cover letter guide and our professional cover letter examples.

How to Format Your Cover Letter

We covered the basic cover letter structure, but you must also know how to format a cover letter. These simple formatting rules ensure that your cover letter is organized, well-spaced and easy to read by a potential employer!


Set your margin to 1 inch — this helps create white space to balance the density of your written words. White space helps minimize eye strain while reading, meaning hiring managers can spend more energy on your accomplishments rather than trying to navigate your page.

Cover Letter Format Margin


Use a screen-friendly sans serif font like Arial, Calibri or Helvetica for easy reading. If you deliver a physical cover letter, use a serif typeface like Times New Roman or Garamond.

Here’s a list of our favorite professional fonts to help you get started.

cover letter format font


Ensure your cover letter has a 1.15 or 1.5 break between lines to create visual relief during reading. You’ll also want to add a space between paragraphs to minimize eye strain.

Cover Letter Format Spacing


Your cover letter should be left-aligned to help mark each section’s natural end and start since most Western languages read from left to right, top down. Do not use a center or right alignment.

Cover Letter Format Alignment


Recruiters and hiring managers may need to sift through hundreds of applications for a single open job. Keep your cover letter short and help them quickly identify your information. Your letter should be one-page maximum with three to four concise paragraphs max.

Cover Letter Format Length

Bullet Lists

Using bulleted or numbered lists to outline your core accomplishments is a key strategy to help to hire managers quickly identify your qualifications. Since bullet lists naturally have more whitespace, it helps the reader to identify your skills easily.

Cover Letter Format Bullet

File Format

PDFs are generally the preferred file format for cover letters and resumes since they keep your formatting in place and are readable by applicant tracking systems. However, some employers may request a Google Doc, JPEG or Word Doc.

Cover Letter Format File Format

Double-check the job post or ad –– this is where the employer should specify the format they prefer for viewing documents. If nothing is stated, send a PDF. Use our professional Cover Letter Builder to create and download a cover letter in PDF or Word.

Use Our Cover Letter Format
Examples as Guides

These professional cover letter examples demonstrate how to combine these formatting rules to create a unique and professional cover letter for job opportunities.

Traditional cover letter format example

This cover letter sample uses a traditional business letter structure to help introduce and expand your resume.

Bulleted cover letter format sample

This contemporary cover letter structure uses a bulleted list to highlight your key accomplishments and direct hiring managers to your strongest career qualifications.

Modern cover letter format example

This cover letter layout can work as either an uploaded cover letter or the body of an emailed application to help introduce your resume.

How to Format Your Proper
Cover Letter

As we mentioned, how you format your proper cover letter is as important as the information you provide. You can learn how to showcase your qualifications by visiting our cover letter writing guide.

Professional Header

Your cover letter header is the exception to the rule of left aligning the content of your letter. You may use center or right alignment to feature your full name, email address, phone number and city and state location.


Make sure your cover letter header matches your resume for a professional look.

Pro Tip Right

Hiring managers’ contact information

Your recipient’s contact information will follow this cover letter structure:

  • Recipient’s name
  • Recipient’s job title
  • Company name
  • Company mailing address
  • Line break
  • Date of cover letter writing or submission
  • Line break

Recipient’s contact information example:

Jane Abbot
St. Louis, MO


Use the following greetings, followed by a line break before the main body of your letter.

  • Dear [recipient’s name],
  • Greetings [recipient’s name],
  • Hello [recipient’s name],

Avoid vague or impersonal greetings like “To whom it may concern.”


Keep this first paragraph limited to two or three lines under your document, followed by a line break to indicate the start of the next paragraph.

Introduction example:

My skills and qualifications are an ideal match to your Accounting Intern requirements and can bring immediate value to ABC Technologies goals. Throughout my internship, I positively contributed to business outcomes through effective organization, prioritization, and execution of key projects.

Main body

Keep this section down to one or two paragraphs, with a space between each paragraph. In these paragraphs, identify one to two relevant skills and quantify them with examples and numbers.

Main body example:

In my previous role as a student, I exercised a calculated and methodical approach to problem solving. I am independently motivated but work well in collaborative environments and with established teams. I am also knowledgeable in account management and evaluation and proficient in preparing financial statements.

Pro Tip


For greater impact, use bullet points to highlight core qualifications such as improved website traffic, higher profit earnings, reduced spending, or improved onboarding processes.

Concluding paragraph

End your cover letter with a short final paragraph summarizing your featured skills and offering suggested availability to connect for a potential job interview. Follow this paragraph with one line break.

Concluding paragraph example:

Please take a moment to review my attached resume to learn the full scope of my career history and accounting competencies. I appreciate your evaluation and look forward to a response. You can reach me most work days between 2 pm – 6 pm.

Salutation and signature

Close out your letter with a formal salutation, such as one of the following:

  • All the best,
  • Kind regards,
  • Thank you for your time,
  • Looking forward to our next communication,

Follow traditional business letter formats by adding four paragraph breaks between your salutation and your typed signature.

Cover Letter Format FAQ

What is the correct format for a cover letter?

The correct format for a cover letter uses the following business letter structure:

  • Name and contact numbers
  • Paragraph break
  • Recipient’s name and mailing address
  • Paragraph break
  • Date
  • Paragraph break
  • Greeting
  • Paragraph break
  • Body of the letter
  • Paragraph break
  • Salutation
  • Four paragraph breaks
  • Typed signature

What are the four parts of a cover letter?

Your cover letter consists of four parts:

  • Contact information: The first part of your cover letter includes your name and contact information and the recipient’s name, job title, and mailing address.
  • Introduction: Includes your greeting and introduction.
  • Body of the letter: The third part of your cover letter includes your main selling points, i.e., professional skills, knowledge or accomplishments.
  • Conclusion: This final part of your cover letter includes your concluding paragraph and sign-off.

Is there a template for a cover letter?

Our Cover Letter Builder features professional cover letter templates, expert writing advice, personalized pre-written content based on your work experience, unlimited downloads and matching resume templates. You can visit our resume template and cover letter template libraries to preview the final documents made with the online cover letter tool.