Are you struggling to get interviews for a job? You’re not alone.
The hiring process is difficult, but one thing many hiring managers agree on is that cover letters are important.
These letters give applicants a way to talk about themselves in a way that a resume doesn’t allow for.
However, there is more to a great cover letter than just its contents.
It also needs to have the right formatting to ensure that the contents of the letter are easily understood.
Let’s look at what makes for a good cover letter layout and how you can write one yourself.
- Is Cover Letter Layout Important?
- How Do You Structure a Cover Letter?
- How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?
- How Do You Write an Attractive Cover Letter?
- Examples of Great Cover Letter Layouts
- Best Cover Letter Templates
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping Up
Is Cover Letter Layout Important?
It turns out that the format is also important when writing a cover letter.
Most of this comes down to how long it takes a new person or thing to make a first impression.
At most, your letter has seven seconds to make its impact clear.
If the first thing a hiring manager sees is an unorganized mess of words on a page, you’re already off to a poor start.
Why Cover Letter Layout is Important
Let’s look deeper into why the cover letter layout matters so much.
- Is a Sign of Professionalism: An organized and well-put-together cover letter shows a high degree of professionalism to the reader. This level of thought communicates that you care about the position and the reader’s time without specifically saying so.
- Easier to Read: As mentioned earlier, a good cover letter layout makes the entire document easier to read. Hiring managers want to understand who the best applicants are at a glance, rather than reading each letter from end to end. Getting to your point quickly and preventing a bad layout from getting in the way helps out with that.
- Makes a Good Impression:
- A good layout for your cover letter can also leave a good first impression. Having something that stands out and catches the manager’s eye makes their time and effort feel worth it.
- Stands Out: Finally, a cover letter with a great format stands out from the rest. Something that uses digestible paragraphs or useful formatting tricks like bold and italic texts for creating sections could help your cover letter stand out in the hiring manager’s mind.
How Do You Structure a Cover Letter?
Overall, a cover letter should have four major parts: your contact information, an introduction, your letter’s body, and a conclusion.
The contact information is necessary for the hiring manager or similar executive from the company to reach out to you.
Without this info, the manager cannot reach out to you, especially in big companies where not everyone involved with the decision has access to the original application.
Next, you want a compelling introduction that catches the reader’s attention. Talk about how you heard about the job or an interesting fact about yourself and how it relates to the position.
The letter’s body comes next. This section should have all the arguments you can make about why you are a great hire for the position and why you can get the job done if hired.
Finally, you want to finish with a powerful conclusion. Thank the reader for their time and mention that you cannot wait to hear back from the reader about the position.
Best Cover Letter Layout
For most people, a paragraph-style cover letter layout will be the best layout to use.
This layout gives the most straightforward way to communicate your thoughts by organizing them into separate paragraphs.
While other layouts have formatting tricks you can use to visually convey your arguments, a paragraph layout makes the most sense to most writers.
How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?
Ideally, a cover letter should be just long enough to cover the concerns of a hiring manager or other executive reading the letter when it comes to candidates for a job.
They want to know that a new applicant will fit the job and do well in that position.
A cover letter should be no more than 300 to 400 words.
Keeping your cover letter to this length keeps the document to around four concise paragraphs, something that keeps the letter digestible and respectful of a hiring manager’s time.
Overall, a cover letter should never go above one page.
Hiring managers won’t have time to go through hundreds of applications if each cover letter is pages long.
By keeping your letter to one page, you ensure your hiring manager is more likely to read through your entire letter.
How Do You Write an Attractive Cover Letter?
When it comes to your cover letter’s layout, there are two things you can do to make it look attractive and approachable:
- Use a Template: Templates offer a way for new cover letter writers to have a solid foundation to work with. Since letters are increasingly an uncommon thing for the average person to write, having a template gives the writer a place to start from for the proper format and spacing business professionals expect.
- Use a Classic Font: While there are hundreds of fanciful fonts out there, the best font choice will be a classic, business-oriented font that is easy to read. You want to put as few barriers between your writing and the hiring manager as possible. Thus, sticking with a simple font will ensure you don’t have a barrier with your font choice.
Examples of Great Cover Letter Layouts
The best way to figure out how to make your cover letter is to look at some examples of great letters and layouts.
This cover letter from Indeed is a good example of a simple cover letter.
It features a header with the applicant’s contact information and a polite opener.
The letter then goes on to describe the applicant’s experience in other jobs that will make them a good fit for the position.
It closes politely and shows the enthusiasm the candidate has for the job.
This administrative assistant cover letter from Resume.io displays a more complex layout to the cover letter that also demonstrates personality.
The applicant uses a personal touch with the cover letter design to stand out and make an impression on the hiring manager.
Finally, the cover letter samples from the University of California Irvine have great examples of the language and formatting you should use in your cover letter.
By keeping things formal, you’ll be able to demonstrate your dedication to your work and display your professionalism.
Best Cover Letter Templates
If you’re struggling to create a good cover letter layout, cover letter creators make great suggestions through their templates.
Let’s take a look at some of the popular cover letter templates out there and how they work.
Google Docs – Cover Letter Template
Google Docs comes with several letter templates that a user can start with to make a cover letter.
Each of these templates contains the parts of a cover letter you need to keep in mind, including your contact info at the top in a header.
These templates work best for most users since they are generic, but come with some color and formatting options.
Canva – Cover Letter Template
Canva has hundreds of user-submitted cover letter designs that will be a step up from Google Docs in visual design.
As an artistic tool, Canva will also have more layout and design options than Google Docs.
Canva is great for creative positions.
Microsoft Word – Cover Letter Template
As part of their Office 365 package, Microsoft Word has several templates for cover letters that will look like the ones Google Docs offers.
These templates differ in that you have access to all of the writing and formatting tools Microsoft Word has to offer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some of the other questions out there about cover letter formats:
Are three paragraphs enough for a cover letter?
Three paragraphs can be enough in a cover letter for an entry-level position. Most hiring managers for these positions want applicants that can quickly explain their potential contributions to the entry-level spot since they receive many applications every day.
What five things should a cover letter include?
Overall, your cover letters should have five things: your contact information as a header, a professional greeting, an introduction that catches the reader’s attention, a body that covers your accomplishments and worth, and a closing paragraph that explains when you will follow up with the letter.
Whether you need an entry-level cover letter or a professional cover letter for a C-suite position, having the best formatting will ensure your letter stands out from the other applicants.
Review the earlier templates and examples and see how they work to make a clear and concise letter.
Take those tips and ideas to your cover letter to craft a document any hiring manager will want to read more.
With a strong cover letter, you’ll have a better chance of landing an interview and in turn, a new job.