Cover Letter Format and Layout Guide

Sending a cover letter with each resume you submit to a potential employer helps to increase your chances of receiving an interview request or being hired altogether. When you are designing a cover letter for each position you are interested in, creating a unique look that is properly formatted is a key factor in standing out against other individuals seeking out the same job. There are multiple methods of formatting a cover letter, and choosing the right one may depend on the type of position you are looking for and the industry you plan to work in.

Paragraph Layouts

Cover Letter Format and Layout Paragraph cover letter layouts often include introduction paragraphs, a body paragraph (or multiple paragraphs broken up) along with a strong conclusion. When you begin formatting a paragraph cover letter, include a header, your contact information and the contact details of the potential hiring manager or employer the letter is addressed to personally. Once you have the basic contact information and header in place, implementing body paragraphs is a way for you to highlight what you can bring to the company and the relevant skills you have that can contribute to the growth of the overall business.

Ending a cover letter that is formatted with an introduction and body paragraphs can be done by adding a strong conclusion paragraph. Sharing your enthusiasm for the position you are interested in and requesting a follow up is highly recommended with paragraph-style cover letters.

Comparison Cover Letters

A comparison cover letter also includes a similar header, introduction paragraph and conclusion, similar to paragraph style letters. However, using a comparison cover letter allows you to show off your qualifications and skills versus what the employer needs using a chart you have created or a comparative list. Creating a comparison cover letter is a way to divide "Your Needs" (for the employer) and "My Qualifications", using a classic table rather than implementing otherwise length paragraphs.

Using bullet points

A bullet point cover letter layout is one of the more modern innovations in formatting a proper cover letter for all types of industries. Bullet point layouts help you to get directly to the point, increasing your visibility and generating interest from potential employers much easier. A bullet point cover letter includes a traditional header, contact information and introduction stating what position you are interested in and how you want to contribute to the company.

Instead of paragraphs or a comparison chart of your qualifications, using bullet points are implemented to highlight your skills, work experience and how you plan to contribute to a specific company you are interested in. Bullet points highlight your workplace personality traits and qualifications, followed by an explanation with facts that can show potential employers why you are the right candidate. Using terms such as "Organizing and Planning Skills", "Professionalism" and even "Self-Motivated" can get you started with describing why you are the right individual for the job.

Concluding the bullet point formatted cover letter with a paragraph is highly recommended, especially when requesting a follow-up from the potential employer and sharing your enthusiasm for the position that is currently being offered.

Determining which Layout and Format is right for you

Selecting the right layout and format for your cover letter highly depends on the position you are interested in and the level of professionalism the job may require. If you are applying for a estudious business position, using paragraphs may be wise, although it is not required.

One way to find out which cover letter format may be right for you is to thoroughly research each company you are submitting resumes to individually, to get a feel for their business model and how they approach clients, customers and even their employees. If the company is more relaxed and offers a creative working environment, a comparison or bullet point format may be ideal, especially if you are seeking a position that gives you more freedom. Choosing the right cover letter format and layout for each position you want to apply for individually will give you an advantage over those who choose to use basic and generic templates with each application they submit. The more custom-tailored each one of your cover letters appear, the easier it is to find the job opportunities you desire in any professional industry.