Discover the art of crafting a contemporary cover letter that resonates in 2024.

In this guide, we demystify the intricacies of cover letter formatting, providing you with insights to create a compelling introduction to your job application.

Your journey begins with understanding the vital role a meticulously formatted cover letter plays alongside your CV. We’ll guide you through the essential elements to include and demonstrate how a well-structured letter can captivate recruiters, making a convincing case for why you are the ideal candidate. Explore examples of impeccably composed cover letters and learn how to make a lasting impression in today’s competitive job market.


    How to layout a cover letter in the UK

    Here’s a perfectly formatted cover letter for a job application in the UK.

    It includes…

    1. Header and contact details
    2. Salutation and introduction
    3. Main body
    4. Conclusion
    5. Sign-off

    how to format a cover letter example

    • Header and contact details

      Writing your cover letter should start with your contact information, which enables recruiters to easily invite you for an interview:

      • full name: ideally place it at the top of your document, prominently displayed. You can use a slightly larger font to emphasise it.
      • address: add your full address, including street name, city, and zip code.
      • telephone number: to facilitate contacting you, provide the phone number you can be easily reached at.
      • email address: make sure your email address sounds professional and clearly indicates who it belongs to. So, is a no go…

      The next line should include the date of posting, followed by your employer’s contact details:

      • name of employer or recruiter
      • their position
      • company name
      • address.

      Here’s how it should look

      Toby Williams

      45 Haim Close Bradford
      Bristol BD1 6YH
      Phone: 07912345678

      Dec 17, 2023

      Charles Creek
      Manager at Books & more
      Bristol BD1 6YH
      Phone: 0987654321

    • Salutation and introduction

      After all the contact details, it’s time to officially kick-off your letter. Use a professional greeting such as:

      Dear Mr/Ms Name

      If you cannot find the name of the recruiter, use a general greeting like:

      Dear Hiring Manager


      Dear Hiring Team

      Avoid general greetings such as Dear Sir/Madam, or To whom it may concern – they are outdated.

      After this formal greeting, write a concise introduction stating the position you are applying for and briefly introducing yourself.

      Like this:

      Dear Mr. Creek,

      I am writing to express my keen interest in the Shop Assistant position at Books & More, as advertised. With a proven track record of three years in a similar role, I am confident in my ability to contribute effectively to your team.

    • Body of the cover letter format

      The main body of your cover letter layout is essential as it serves as the core of your communication with a potential employer.

      This section allows you to demonstrate your suitability for the job, highlight your achievements and show how your CV skills match the requirements of the position. This section is what allows you to personalise your application, express your enthusiasm, share your career story and stand out.

      It is the key element of the cover letter where you provide relevant information and convince why you are the ideal candidate.

      Depending on your experience, it should be divided into 2-3 paragraphs.

      Focus on your skills, qualifications and experience relevant to the position.

      Use concrete examples and quantifiable values to demonstrate that you are well-suited for the position.

      Here’s a practical example:

      During my time at Golden Tome Bookshop, I developed a deep understanding of the bookshop business, perfected my customer service skills and cultivated a passion for connecting readers with their next great read. I was particularly drawn to Books & More because of its commitment to fostering a love of fantasy literature and hosting workshops. I’m excited at the prospect of contributing to such a dynamic and book-focused environment.

      My experience working in a bookshop has equipped me with excellent organisational skills, an understanding of the importance of visual merchandising and a commitment to providing exceptional customer service. I am confident that my skills match the requirements of the shop assistant position at Books & More.

    • Conclusion

      Finally, once you’ve introduced yourself to the potential employer, explained your motivation for the job, talked about your work experience, skills and achievements, it’s time to wrap up and conclude.

      This is what the last paragraph of your cover letter is for.

      This section is an opportunity to leave a positive and lasting impression on the employer while demonstrating professionalism and eagerness for further consideration.

      I look forward to the opportunity to discuss in more detail how my experience and enthusiasm for books make me a valuable addition to your team. Thank you for considering my application.

    • Formal sign-off

      Which sign-off you use depends on how you started your letter.

      Use Yours sincerely when you know the name of the person you are addressing the letter to.

      So, when you start your letter with a specific salutation, such as:

      Dear Ms. O’Brien – you close it with – Yours sincerely.

      If, on the other hand, you have not been able to find the name of the person processing your application and you start your letter with:

      Dear Hiring Manager – then end it with – Yours faithfully.

    How to format a cover letter for a job application

    A well-structured cover letter serves as an initial introduction of your persona to a potential employer. Its layout influences how easily recruiters can navigate and understand your qualifications, creating a strong case for your candidacy. A carefully formatted cover letter demonstrates professionalism, attention to detail and a genuine commitment to the application process, significantly impacting the overall impression you leave on potential employers.

    • Classic cover letter formatClassic cover letter format conveys professionalism. Its classical design ensures readability and accessibility for a wide audience and shows that the candidate understands the importance of clear and concise communication in a professional environment.

    • Cover letter format with a modern designCover letter format with a modern design provides the perfect balance between timeless professionalism and eye-catching form. This approach allows your application to stand out, but also reflects adaptability, and awareness of current trends in business communication.

    How to format a cover letter in Word

    Formatting a cover letter in Word involves various steps to ensure a professional and visually appealing document.

    Not only does it need to contain all the necessary elements to convince a potential employer that you are the one worth inviting for an interview – it also needs to look professional and aesthetically pleasing.

    covering letter format

    Check out our step-by-step guide on how to format a cover letter in Word:

    STEP 1

    Margins and font:

    Align margins of 2.54 cm (1 inch) on all sides for a clean and professional look.

    Choose a professional and readable font. Opt for classics such as Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman. Your font size should be between 10 and 12 points.

    STEP 2


    Start with your full name and contact details. Place them at the top of the document, aligned to the right or centred.

    Your name can be bolded and in a slightly larger font.

    In addition to your name, include your address, telephone number and e-mail address.

    STEP 3

    Date and recipient information:

    Leave one line free after the contact information, add the date below this information.

    Skip the next line and add the recipient’s contact information, aligned to the left.

    STEP 4


    Begin the letter with a formal greeting, such as “Dear Mr/Ms Name”. If the surname is not known, use a general greeting such as “Dear Hiring Manager”.

    STEP 5


    Start with a brief introduction stating the position you are applying for and introducing yourself. Visually, the introduction should take up 1/3 of the body of your letter.

    STEP 6


    The main body of your letter should optimally contain two paragraphs. In this part, you focus on your skills and achievements to convince why you are the right candidate for the job.

    Maintain a professional and formal tone. Use the phrases from the job posting.

    STEP 7


    End the letter with a strong paragraph expressing your interest and willingness to be interviewed. For balance, try to keep the length of your ending in line with the length of your introduction.

    STEP 8

    Formal sign-off:

    End with a formal ending, such as “Yours sincerely” if you addressed the recipient by name, or “Yours faithfully” if you used a general greeting.

    STEP 9

    Additional elements:

    If you are sending your letter by email, mention any attachments (e.g. CV) in the body of the email.

    STEP 10


    Carefully check your cover letter for grammatical or typographical errors before finalising. You can use the spell-check function in Word.

    STEP 11

    Save and send:

    Save the document with a clear and professional file name.

    If you are sending your cover letter electronically, save it in PDF format unless indicated otherwise. Craft a professional message, and mention the attachments, such as your CV and Cover Letter.

    STEP 12


    Ensure consistency of formatting throughout the document.

    STEP 13

    Read the guidelines:

    If your job post includes specific formatting instructions, make sure you follow these guidelines.

    By following these steps, you can create a cover letter in Microsoft Word that not only matches the UK standards but also presents a polished and professional image in your job application.

    How to format a cover letter in an email

    These days, it has become widely agreed that the vast majority of job applications are made electronically. The most common way is to send a CV and cover letter via dedicated recruitment platforms, as attachments, or directly to the interviewer via email.

    If your application is by email, typically you will attach your CV and cover letter in PDF format.

    However, if for some reason you prefer to write your cover letter in the body of an email, here is a quick guide on how to go about it.

    • Make sure you use your professional email address to send the message. Ideally, your email address should include your name. If you don’t already have a professional-sounding email address, consider setting one up.
    • Start by writing a simple, concise subject line for your email. Clearly state the purpose of your message, indicating the position you are applying for and your name. e.g. Application for Deputy Manager – Anna McDonald.
    • Write the content of your letter, following the guidelines mentioned above.
      Make sure that your letter contains
      • necessary contact details
      • post date
      • formal greeting
      • introduction
      • body of the letter outlining your skills and achievements
      • conclusion
      • formal sign-off.
    • Mention the attachments. You can do this in the body of the letter:

      Please find attached my CV.

      Or after the signature, adding a list of attachments. This will work well if you have more than one attachment.


      1. CV
      2. Letter of recommendation
      3. Foreign language certificate

    How to format a cover letter with our builder

    Now, let’s discuss the easiest way to format a cover letter. Here’s a simple approach if professional writing isn’t your strong suit or you simply don’t want to spend hours crafting a letter that, at best, will be mediocre.

    By answering a few straightforward questions, you can effortlessly generate a professionally formatted cover letter. The beauty of this approach lies in its personalised touch – the resulting document is crafted to match your unique needs and align seamlessly with the requirements of your desired position.

    Plus, the user-friendly interface allows for easy edits, updates, and access whenever necessary, ensuring a hassle-free and effective application experience.

    Here’s how to do it:

    1. Open our cover letter builder and type in your name.
    2. Choose a cover letter template that you like the most. It’s worth selecting a template that matches the design of your CV.
    3. Answer a few simple questions about your career. This will include your experience, skills and position your applying for.
    4. Check if everything is correct and edit if needed, using professional tips and ready-made content.
    5. Save and send it to the employer along with your perfect CV.

    Cover Letter Formatting Tips

    In the competitive job market of the United Kingdom, an effectively formatted cover letter can significantly enhance your application. Here are tailored formatting tips to make your cover letter stand out:

    • Keep it concise

      In a job market flooded with applications, aim for a concise one-page cover letter. Shine a spotlight on key achievements and skills directly relevant to the position.

    • Prioritise readability

      Make your cover letter easy to navigate with clear headings and well-defined sections. A reader-friendly structure ensures that crucial information is readily identifiable.

    • Use formal language

      Infuse your cover letter with a professional and formal tone. Address the recipient with due respect, whether it’s “Dear Mr Smith” or “Dear Hiring Manager,” maintaining a polished and business-like language style.

    • Choose standard UK fonts

      Stick to widely accepted fonts such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman. Ensure optimal readability by opting for an 11 or 12-point font size.

    • Include contact information

      Kick off your cover letter by providing clear and comprehensive contact details at the top. This includes your name, address, phone number, and email address, making it effortless for the employer to reach out to you.

    • Tailor it to the job

      Demonstrate your genuine interest by customising your cover letter for each application. Mention the position and company name, specifically address the unique requirements of the job and align them with your skills and experiences.

    • Emphasise achievements

      Let your accomplishments shine through by using quantifiable achievements. Highlight specific successes from your professional history that directly correlate with the demands of the job you’re applying for.

    • Conclude professionally

      Wrap up your cover letter with a courteous and professional closing statement expressing your enthusiasm for an interview. Select a formal sign-off such as “Yours sincerely” if you addressed the recipient by name, or “Yours faithfully” if you used a general greeting.

    • Proofread thoroughly

      Conduct a meticulous review of your cover letter, scanning for grammatical errors and typos. A well-proofread document showcases your attention to detail and commitment to professionalism. Double check spelling of the recipients name.

    • Save as PDF

      Ensure the preservation of your formatting by saving your finalised cover letter as a PDF before submission. This guarantees consistency across various devices and platforms.

      By seamlessly integrating these UK-specific cover letter formatting tips, you position yourself as a professional candidate, significantly enhancing your chances of leaving a positive impression on potential employers. Best of luck in your job pursuit!


    Cover letter format - Frequently asked questions

    How to layout a cover letter?

    Follow the recommended layout for a professional cover letter:

    1. Header: First include your name, address, phone number and email address. Add the date below.
    2. Recipient information: Add the recipient’s name, position, company name and address aligned to the left.
    3. Greeting and introduction: Start with a formal greeting, for example, “Dear Ms. Parker”. Then, in your opening, state the position you are applying for and briefly introduce yourself.
    4. Content of the letter: Divide the content into two, a maximum of three paragraphs. Focus on relevant skills, qualifications and experience. To demonstrate your suitability for the job, use some specific examples.
    5. Conclusion: Finish your cover letter by expressing your interest and enthusiasm for the opportunity. Emphasise your readiness for an interview.
    6. Formal signature: Choose “Yours sincerely” or “Yours faithfully” depending on your salutation.

    How long should a cover letter be?

    A cover letter should be concise, usually under one page. Aim for three to four paragraphs, focusing on the most relevant information and avoiding unnecessary detail.

    Two or three sentences should be all you need for the introduction. The main body is considerably longer and, depending on your experience, can be as long as two or three paragraphs.

    The conclusion should be of similar length to your introduction.

    What is the purpose of a cover letter?

    The purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself to a potential employer, express your interest in the position and outline how your skills and experience make you a suitable candidate. It complements your CV, adds a personal touch to your job application and makes you stand out from the pool of applicants applying for the same position.

    What to write on a cover letter?

    Your cover letter should include your contact details, such as address, telephone number and email address, to make it easier for people to contact you. Follow this with the recipient’s details, a formal salutation and an introduction. Provide concise content highlighting your skills, qualifications and experience, as well as a compelling conclusion expressing your interest and willingness to be interviewed Close it with a formal sign-off. Make sure your letter is correctly written and free of any errors. Tailor the content to the specific position you are applying for.

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    Cover letter writing made easy with our formatting tips

    Cover letter formatting is a key skill in navigating the competitive job market. After reviewing the various cover letter format tips, it’s clear that a well-crafted cover letter can significantly increase your chances of securing your dream job.

    Whether you create it from scratch or use a cover letter template, let your covering letter convey your professional history in a convincing way. With these insights in place, move forward with confidence, armed with a standout cover letter that will push you towards your career goals.

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