How to format a cover letter

A well-structured cover letter can significantly boost your chances of landing that dream job by effectively showcasing your skills and qualifications. Discover the best practices for crafting a compelling cover letter that effectively communicates your professional story.


Cover letter format UK - brand logos

If you’re going to land your dream job, you’ll need a professional-looking cover letter to impress your potential future employers. A well-presented cover letter with the right formatting will stand you in good stead and make an impression on recruiters.

Keep reading to learn how to format your cover letter so it looks professional, reads well, and catches the attention of hiring managers. You will discover how to lay out your cover letter and what information to include. Additionally, cover letter format examples will show you how it’s meant to look.

Cover letter format UK

In the UK, a well-structured cover letter generally contains several key sections. Below is a breakdown of these sections:

  • Header: Your contact information (name, address, phone number, email) followed by the date and recipient’s details.
  • Opening: A formal greeting to the employer or hiring manager.
  • Introduction: A brief overview of who you are, the role you’re applying for, and where you found the job listing.
  • Body: Detailed explanation of your qualifications and relevant experiences. Always remember to tailor this section to the position you are applying for.
  • Conclusion: Why you believe you’re the right fit for the role and a call-to-action, requesting an interview or further discussion.
  • Closing: A professional sign-off, your name, and optionally, your signature.

Each section plays a vital role in telling your professional story and demonstrating your suitability for the role. Ensure you craft each section meticulously to create a lasting impression on the recruiter, just like the cover letter example below would.

UK cover letter format

Now that we’ve gone over the general format of a UK cover letter, let’s delve into more specific details and nuanced considerations.

In the next section, you will learn how to format a cover letter to further enhance the structure and effectiveness of your application.

How to format a cover letter?

Let’s take a closer look at each of the key sections in a cover letter, focusing on how to maximize their potential to capture a recruiter’s attention:


The header is the section where you provide your contact details, ensuring that the hiring manager can reach you with ease. Your details should be at the top, on the right-hand side. Be sure to include your name, full address, phone number, and professional email address. While your physical address isn’t mandatory, it can be useful if the role requires proximity to the workplace.

After your contact details, include the date of your application.

Finally, add any contact information you have for the company on the left-hand side, including the company name and company address.


Your opening paragraph should be brief and professional. Use a formal salutation, addressing the hiring manager by their name. If you don’t know the hiring manager’s name, use a general greeting like “Dear Sir/Madam” or “Dear Hiring Manager.”

Avoid using generic greetings like “To Whom It May Concern” as they can seem impersonal.


In the introduction, briefly introduce yourself and express your enthusiasm for the role you’re applying for. Mention where you found the job listing–be it on a job board, company website, or through a referral. This gives the hiring manager context about your application.

The best cover letters will grab the reader’s attention in the first paragraph to make a great first impression.


The body of your cover letter is your opportunity to showcase why you’re the best fit for the role. A good cover letter addresses one topic per paragraph, each paragraph being made of a few sentences. Give specific examples of your previous work and how your professional skills and experience align with the job description.

Remember to tailor this section to the job you’re applying for; generic cover letters are easy to spot and can make you seem less committed.


In your conclusion, reiterate your interest in the role and the company, explaining why you believe you’re the right fit. You could also state what you hope to bring to the role and how your skills will contribute to the company’s goals.

Finally, encourage the reader to take action via an explicit call to action. Usually, you’ll invite them to get in touch with you to invite you for an interview. You can also encourage them to get in touch with you if they have any questions.

Additionally, if you possess a portfolio of work or a personal website, mention that you have a link to it (or is attached to your application) in this paragraph.


End your cover letter on a professional note with a formal closing. If you’ve used the person’s name, then sign off with “Yours sincerely,” or if you haven’t, then you can use “Yours faithfully.” Alternatively, you can simply use “Best regards,” followed by your name. Including a digital signature can be a nice touch, but it’s not always necessary.

After the closing, you might want to consider adding a postscript to highlight an important achievement that aligns with the job description.

Should you add a physical signature to your cover letter?

In the digital age, adding a physical signature to your cover letter is not a strict requirement but can be viewed as a personal touch that adds authenticity to your application. If you’re sending a hard copy of your cover letter, signing it by hand can show a level of professionalism and dedication.

However, for electronic applications, a typed name is usually sufficient. If you wish to include a digital signature, ensure it looks professional and fits well within the overall design of your cover letter. Remember, the most important aspect of a cover letter is the content, not the signature.

Pro tip

Your format of cover letter should allow you to draw attention to the best parts of your CV, while providing information about how you can fill the job’s requirements. Your CV will contain facts about your past work experiences, while in your cover letter you can elaborate on your strengths. This is your chance to convince that you are the right person for the job.

Covering letter format examples

Now that you have mastered the fundamentals of properly formatting a cover letter, let’s examine three specific examples that illustrate different scenarios you might encounter when preparing your application.

These examples will provide practical insights into how you can adapt the format of a cover letter to various situations, such as when you have extensive experience, when you’re making a career change, or when you’re a recent graduate entering the job market.

  • Simple cover letter
  • Modern cover letter
  • Professional cover letter

Simple cover letter format

Simple cover letter format UK

This simple cover letter format focuses on succinctness and clarity. It follows the traditional layout but with a straightforward and concise approach. The language used is direct and professional, presenting all the needed information without any unnecessary embellishments.

This format is best suited for job applications in traditional industries or when the job posting requests a simple, straight-to-the-point cover letter.

Modern cover letter format

How to format cover letter - modern

A modern cover letter format incorporates elements that make it stand out while still maintaining professional standards. This could include a unique header, incorporation of bullet points in the body paragraph to highlight key skills or achievements, and a compelling call-to-action in the conclusion.

This format is ideal for creative or tech-focused jobs, where a bit of flair can be beneficial.

Professional cover letter format

How to format a cover letter UK - professional

The professional cover letter format is a detailed, comprehensive style showcasing your qualifications and experiences in-depth. It follows a formal tone and structure, with each section meticulously crafted to highlight your professional journey and suitability for the role.

This format is ideal for senior roles or highly specialized positions, where a detailed overview of your professional career is necessary.

10 cover letter formatting tips

The best way to make sure your cover letter is readable to recruiters and hiring managers is by using the appropriate cover letter formatting. Follow the guidelines below and create a perfect cover letter that hits the mark:

  • Length: Succinctly convey your key points. Cover letters should ideally be one page long, divided into three or four short paragraphs.
  • Layout: Stick to a clean and professional cover letter layout. Avoid clutter and ensure that each paragraph has a clear purpose.
  • Naming: Name the document appropriately. Include your name and the term ‘Cover Letter’, for instance, “JohnDoe_CoverLetter.”
  • Font size and font style: Use a standard, easy-to-read font like Times New Roman or Arial, and keep the font size between 10 and 12 points.
  • Spacing: Standard line spacing (1) is preferable, and there should be a line break between each paragraph.
  • Margins: Maintain 1-inch margins on all sides to keep the document well-formatted and easy to read.
  • File format: Save your document in a widely accepted format like .PDF or .DOC/DOCX. Check if the job listing mentions a specific format.
  • Proofreading: Always double-check your cover letter for grammar and spelling errors. A clean, error-free document gives a good impression.
  • Consistency: Ensure consistency in your font, formatting, and style throughout the document. This shows attention to detail and professionalism.
  • Personalization: Personalize your cover letter for each job application.

A tailored cover letter can catch the hiring manager’s attention and show your genuine interest in the role.

Nail your cover letter format today!

Crafting a well-structured, professional cover letter can be the stepping stone to improving your job prospects. By following our comprehensive guide and formatting tips, you are well on your way to creating an impactful and memorable application.

Do you want to make the process even easier? Try CVHelp’s intuitive cover letter builder tool! It’s designed to guide you step by step, helping you create a personalized letter from a cover letter template that truly showcases your skills and passion. Start your journey toward a successful job application now!

Cover letter format for job application

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