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How to Write a Standard Cover Letter (Step-by-Step Guide)

Updated on January 10, 2018
JR Cuevas profile image

Ray is a civil engineering student and former student journalist. He loves to write about education, technology, and lifestyle.

Cover Letters are your introduction to the employer. It is a business representation of yourself to the people you have never met before. These letters are the one greeting your employer before you. A cover letter let you introduce who you are and what you can do for them. It gives the employer a glimpse of what you have accomplished, your personality and your skills. Cover letters are the one that comes first before your resume, so cover letters must be smooth. You must be knowledgeable in creating a cover letter and make your employer intrigued about you as an applicant. Here are the guidelines in making a professional and standard cover letter.


1. Write the Return Address

The first part or first section of the letter is the return address. This section is located at the topmost part of the letter. Return Address is the address of the sender. Of course you have to provide your details as the receiver needs (if applicable) to reply a message to you. Return Address section includes:

  • Your address (including your Zip Code and Country)
  • Contact Number (either telephone number or mobile Number) -OPTIONAL

2. Write the Date

After the return address section is the "Date" line. Write the date of the day you are writing the letter. It is mostly in the format of Month/Day/Year. But still you can alter and modify depending to what you prefer. See the photo below.

3. Write the Inside Address

Inside address is the address of the receiver or the one you're sending the letter to. Just like the Return Address, make sure that it is complete. Inside Address includes:

  • Full name of the receiver
  • Position of the receiver
  • Company/Organization of the receiver
  • Full Address of the receiver
  • Contact Number (either a telephone number or mobile number) - OPTIONAL

Includes the return address, date and inside address of the cover letter
Includes the return address, date and inside address of the cover letter

4. Include a Salutation

Salutation is also called the greeting of the letter. There are actually a lot of greetings for business but the most common form of salutation is Dear followed by the recipient's surname. You could also use:

  • Dear Sir/Madam:
  • Greetings
  • To Whom It May Concern

Remember that the "Dear followed by the recipient's surname" has formats. These are the correct formats.

  • Dear Mr. Cuevas:
  • Dear Mr. Cuevas,
  • Dear John:
  • Dear John,

5. Write the Introduction of Your Cover Letter

This is the start of the message proper to the employer. In this part of the letter, you tell them who you are. Start introducing yourself and state your purpose of writing. Make your introduction very catchy by including an interesting statement about yourself. Next is you have to indicate your source of information in knowing about the job vacancy or how you heard about them. Also, include why you are interested to the job. You must show here your enthusiasm and eagerness to work to the company you're applying for.

Includes the salutation and introduction of the cover letter
Includes the salutation and introduction of the cover letter

6. Write the Body Section of Your Cover Letter

In the body part of the letter, sell yourself specifically your skills and knowledge. Present to the employer your work experiences, academic qualifications, training, and some personal qualities with valid evidence. Show to the employer that you have strong credentials and you really fit to the job. Make sure you highlight key points of your resume in relation to the position you're vying for. Lastly, explain to the employer how you intend to contribute and the benefits employer will receive if they hire you.

Body Section of Cover Letter
Body Section of Cover Letter

7. Include a Conclusion Section

Make everything in the conclusion section action-oriented. Show and let your employer feel that you are very much interested for an interview at his/her most convenient time. In the conclusion section, state how he/she will reach you either through email or contact number. Then, express that you are expecting a positive response from the employer and lastly, thank the employer for his/her time and consideration.

Conclusion of the Cover Letter
Conclusion of the Cover Letter

8. Complimentary Close, Signature, Full Name & Enclosure

This are the last parts of the cover letter, to officially close it. These include the complimentary close, signature and full name of the sender, and the enclosure. Complimentary close is to convey the appropriate amount of respect to the receiver. Some of the complimentary closes that you can use are:

  • Sincerely yours
  • Very truly yours
  • Cordially

Followed by the complimentary close is the sender's signature and full name. Lastly, the enclosure.

What is an enclosure notation?

Enclosure notation is used to show that a document(s) is enclosed separately. Usually resume is enclosed with the cover letter, so the format could be "Enclosure: Resume".

© 2018 Ray Cuevas


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