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Quick Formatting Tips for Cover Letters

Summary:

This page provides a down-and-dirty guide to writing cover letters. Here you will find brief answers and lists of what you should include in a cover letter, how to order and format such a letter, and what to do before sending it out.

Remember that the basic format of a cover letter follows that of a business letter. As you design the page, think about the following:

Length

  • Keep it to one page.
  • Write one introductory paragraph, one to three paragraphs to highlight your skills, and one concluding paragraph.

Spacing

  • Single-space your cover letter.
  • Leave a space between addresses and dates in the heading.
  • Leave a space between your heading (contact info) and greeting ("Dear...:").
  • Leave a space between each paragraph.
  • Leave at least three spaces between your complimentary close ("Sincerely,") and typed name.
  • Sign your name in ink between your complimentary close and typed name.

Margins and Alignment

  • Use standard margins (one-inch margins, usually).
  • Can use smaller margins (to about 0.7-inch) as long as you are consistent on all sides.
  • Align all paragraphs to the left of the page. (You can also indent the first line of each paragraph, but that is not used as often.)
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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 This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.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.