Cover Letter Date Placement On A Business

When writing a cover letter (as you should do each time you submit a resume as part of a job application), the layout of your letter is very important. Layout refers to the way the words are set up on the page, including headings, spacing, and font. You want to use a layout that makes your letter both easy to read and professional.

Read below for advice about how to lay out your letter, as well as a template for a cover letter.

Cover Letter Layout Tips

When laying out a cover letter, you want to follow the layout of a typical business letter.

A business letter begins with your contact information, and then the employer’s contact information.

It's important to properly space the layout of the cover letters you send, with space between the heading, the greeting, each paragraph, the closing, and your signature. Single space your letter and leave a space between each paragraph. Also, remember to left-justify your entire letter.

When selecting a font, use a simple font like Arial, Verdana, Courier New, or Times New Roman. Your font size should be no smaller than 10-pt. but no larger than 12-pt. In choosing your font size, 12 pt. is probably the best – you don’t want to irritate a hiring manager by making him or her have to squint to read your font.

How to Use a Cover Letter Template

The cover letter template below shows the layout for a typical cover letter.

Use the template to structure your own cover letter. It will give you advice on how to space your letter, what font to use, and how to justify your page.

The template also briefly describes what kind of content should go in each paragraph. Use this information to help you begin writing your own letter, tailored to reflect your own career history, professional qualifications, hard and soft skills, and your knowledge about the job and employer to which you are applying.

You can also review examples of cover letters for advice on how to word your cover letter.

When using a format or a sample letter, remember to be flexible. You can add or remove paragraphs to fit the needs of the particular job description. Also, keep in mind that your best strategy is to write a customized cover letter for each job to which you are applying. Hiring managers can tell when they’ve been sent a generic cover letter; they are more likely to be interested in candidates who have taken the time to write unique letters that specifically address the job opening they are offering.

Cover Letter Template with Layout

Contact Information

The first section of your cover letter should include information on how the employer can contact you.

If you have contact information for the employer, include that. Otherwise, just list your information.

This section should be single-spaced and left-justified, with a space between your contact information and your employer’s contact information.

Your Contact Information

Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address

(space)

Date

(space)

Employer Contact Information

Name
Title
Company
Address
City, State, Zip Code

(space)

Salutation

(space)

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:

(space)

First Paragraph:

Each of your body paragraphs should be single-spaced, with a space between each paragraph. The first paragraph of your cover letter should include information on the position you are applying for, including the job title. You should state how you heard about the job, and (briefly) explain why you think you are an ideal candidate for the position.

(space between paragraphs)

Middle Paragraph(s): 

The next section of your cover letter should describe what you have to offer the employer. Mention why you are qualified for the job and how your skills and experience are a match for the position for which you are applying. Provide specific examples to prove your skills and experience; these examples will “pop” on the page if you provide them in a bulleted format.

(space between paragraphs)

Final Paragraph: 
Conclude your cover letter by thanking the employer for considering you for the position. Include information on how you will follow up with them regarding the status of your application.

(space)

Closing:

(space)

Sincerely yours,

(double space)

Signature:

Handwritten Signature (for a mailed letter)

(double space)

Typed Signature

More on Writing Cover Letters:
How to Write a Successful Cover Letter
What to Include in a Cover Letter
Sample Cover Letters

How to lay out a letter

This page includes guidelines for composing letters according to various formats and degrees of formality.

Jump to:

Formatting your letter

Sender's address

Date

Recipient's address

Salutation

Body

Closing and signature

Example letters

Formatting your letter

Letters typically follow one of three formats: block, modified block, or semi-block:

Block format is generally perceived as the most formal format. For semi-formal letters, you may wish to use modified block or semi-block format. For informal letters, use semi-block format.

Most business letters, such as cover letters for job applications, insurance claims, and letters of complaint, are formal. Business letters addressed to recipients you know very well (e.g., a former boss) may be semi-formal. Social letters to less familiar recipients (e.g., a professional colleague) may also be semi-formal. Informal letters are reserved for personal correspondence.

Most formal and semi-formal letters should be typed. Informal letters may be handwritten. If you are typing, use 10- to 12-point font and single line spacing for composing your letter. Include a margin of one to one-and-a-half inches around each page.

If you are writing your letter as an email, use block format, regardless of formality. Omit the sender's address, date, and recipient's address.

Read more about block, modified block, and semi-block letter formatting.

Sender's address

The sender’s address includes the name and address of the letter’s author. If you are using stationery, it may already be printed on the letterhead; if so, do not type it out. If the address is not on the letterhead, include it at the top of the document. Do not include your name:

123 Anywhere Place

London, 

SW1 6DP

or

123 Anywhere Place

New York, NY 10001

In block format, the sender's address is left justified: in other words, flush with the left margin. In modified block or semi-block format, the sender's address begins one tab (five spaces) right of centre.

There is no need to include the sender's address in informal letters.

Date

The date indicates when you composed the letter. Type it two lines below either your stationery's letterhead or the typed sender's address. For informal letters, it may go at the top of the page.

The UK, the date format is day-month-year:

1 July 2014

In the US, the date format is month-day-year:

July 1, 2014

In block format, the date is left justified; in modified block or semi-block format, it begins one tab (five spaces) right of centre.

Recipient’s address

The recipient’s address, also called the inside address, includes the name and address of the recipient of your letter. It may be omitted in informal and social semi-formal letters. For other letters, type it two lines below the date. In all formats, it is left justified.

Your letter should be addressed to a specific person, if possible. Include a courtesy title (i.e., Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., Dr.) for the recipient; confirm what title the person prefers before writing your letter. Only omit the title if you do not know the person’s gender (i.e., for unisex names). If you are unsure of a woman's marital status or title preference, use Ms:

Mr John Smith

10 Utopia Drive

Toronto

M4C 1a7

or

Mr John Smith

1000 Utopia Drive

San Francisco, CA 94109

If you do not know the person's name, include the title of the intended recipient (e.g. Hiring Manager, Resident) or the name of the company:

Human Resources Director

Acme Corporation

246 Looney Tunes Lane

Oxford

OX1 2CL

or

Human Resources Director

Acme Corporation

246 Looney Tunes Lane

Hollywood, CA 90078

Salutation

The salutation is your letter's greeting. The most common salutation is Dear followed by the recipient's first name, for informal letters, or a courtesy title and the recipient's last name, for all other letters. For more on salutations, see Choose the right greeting and sign off.

The salutation is left justified, regardless of format. Type it two lines below the recipient's address (or date, for informal letters). In formal and semi-formal letters, it ends with a colon. In informal letters, it ends with a comma.

Formal letters
Dear Ms Smith:
or
Dear Ms. Doe:
Informal letters
Dear Jane,

Body

The body includes most of the content of your letter. In block or modified block format, each paragraph begins at the left margin. In semi-block format, the paragraphs are still left justified, but the first line of each paragraph is indented by one tab (five spaces). Include a line of space between each paragraph.

In the first paragraph of your letter, you should introduce yourself to the recipient, if he or she does not know you, and state your purpose for writing. Use the following paragraphs to elaborate upon your message.

Closing and signature

The closing is your final sign off: it should be brief and courteous. It begins two lines below your final body paragraph. Common closings include Best regards, Sincerely, and Yours truly. Capitalize only the first word of the closing, and end with a comma. For more on closings, see Choose the right greeting and sign off.

The signature includes your handwritten and typed name. For formal and semi-formal letters, add four lines of space below your closing, and then type your name. In formal letters, you should include your full name; in semi-formal letters, you may use only your first name. Sign your name in the space.

For informal letters, you may omit the typed name; you only need to sign your name below the closing.

For letters written as email, you may omit the signed name; you only need to type your name below the closing.

In block format, the closing and signature are left justified. In modified block or semi-block format, they begin one tab (five spaces) right of centre:

Best regards,

 

 

John Smith

Example letters

See a formal letter in block format (pdf).

See a semi-formal letter in modified block format (pdf).

See an informal letter in semi-block format (pdf).

 

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