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Cover Letters Part 1

Summary:
This resources explains what your cover letter should look like and what your cover letter should accomplish.

What should my cover letter look like?

Your cover letter should be one page and single-spaced. Your letter should have 1-inch margins all the way around the page. Your cover letter text font should match your résumé’s text font. Lastly, your letter should also follow a business letter format. You have three options:

Block format – the text of the entire letter is left justified (against the left margin)

Click here to see an example of block format on the Purdue OWL.

Modified block – the body text of the letter is left justified, but the date and closing are tabbed to the center point

Click here to see an example of modified block format on the Purdue OWL.

Semi-Block – the body text of the letter is left justified except for the first sentence of the paragraphs. The date and closing are tabbed to the center point

Click here to see an example of semi-block format on the Purdue OWL.

The example cover letters available with this resource show all of these formats. Regardless of which format you choose, your cover letter should follow some general content guidelines.

What should my cover letter accomplish?

Your cover letter should

  • Show the employer you have tailored the letter to the company and to the job you want
  • Explain your experiences in a clear, story-like format that works with the information in your résumé
  • Explain in detail your experiences/skills that relate to the job you want
  • Explain in detail how your experiences/skills will help you help the employer and fulfill the job requirements
  • Provide an example of your communication skills.


Click here to download the PDF file containing sample résumés and employment letters.

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Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.