The Format of a Cover Letter

by Donny Grover

The Format of a Cover Letter

Career Tools: Cover Letters:

In order to leave a good impression with your cover letter, use your head. You are writing to a boss, not your best friend. Letters must be free of grammatical and spelling errors, well-spaced, well-organized and have a clean design that properly showcases your qualifications. The three most commonly used formats are: Full Block, Block, and Modified Block. We are including an example of one letter in all three formats.

The most formal letter is the full block; it is also the most commonly used. The casual style is the modified block; it is the least commonly used. As a general rule of thumb, the better you know the person you are writing, the more casual you can afford to be with the format of your letter. Unless you’ve actually met the person to whom you are writing, stick with either the full block or block format.

Some other general rules to keep in mind when writing the perfect cover letter:

  1. Each Word in the Address Line Begins With a Capital Letter.
  2. The date is positioned on the very next line below the address and can be written in the following two ways: August 21, 1980 or 21 August 1980.
  3. The name of the individual to whom you are addressing the cover letter should be preceded by a courtesy title (Dr., Mr., Ms., Mrs., etc.). Male attorney names should be superseded by Esq. and all medical doctors by M.D.
  4. Use “Dear” in the opening of your letter.
  5. The most common closing is “Sincerely” followed by “Sincerely Yours”.
  6. Two lines below the signature block (see one of the sample letters) flush with the left margin include initials of your name, in lower case. If your name is David Maldov Carnegie, write “dmc.” Known as the typist identification, it is not required but including it is a signal to employers that you have mastered the art of cover letter formats.
  7. The chances are that your cover letter will include a resume. In the line directly below the typist identification write the word “Enclosure.” If you are enclosing more than one document put the number you are including in parentheses immediately after the “Enclosure.” So for four documents, you would write “Enclosure (4)”.