Job search letters, including letters of inquiry, thank you notes, academic cover
letters, and cover letters are essential to a successful employment search. The Purdue Owl Job Search Letters site addresses each in detail and provides step-by-step guidance in crafting persuasive
correspondence. An overview of the cover letter and its parts is as follows:
Cover Letter Formatting and Parts
FORMATTING: The basic format of a cover letter is that of a business letter. Standard margins,
aligned to the left. Indent first line of each paragraph.
Length: Keep to one page.
- Single space your 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
- Sign your name in ink between the complimentary close and your typed name
PARTS: Four basic parts of a cover letter: Heading, Introduction, Argument/Body, Closing.
- Your contact information
- Date you are writing the letter
- Address of the company
Introduction (Paragraph 1):
- Greet the specific person with whom you are corresponding
- State the position for which you are applying and where you heard about it
- Name drop if you have a good connection
- State why you believe you are a good match, including 2-3 key qualifications you will
address in the rest of your letter (that will also match your resume)
Argument/Body (Paragraph 2 and MAYBE 3):
- Tailor cover letter for each job application.
- Focus each paragraph on one qualification that shows you are a good match for the
job and organization.
- Give specific examples to prove where you got these skills and how you have used them
- Tell a story; do not just list your skills.
- Refer to your resume; do not repeat it.
- Do not use contractions.
Closing (Final Paragraph)
- Close with a strong reminder of why you are a good match for the job and the organization.
- Request an interview in some way.
- Provide contact information.
- Thank the person for reading your material.
- Sign your name and print it underneath.