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How to Write a Cover Letter: Standard Business Format



Block Format (Standard Business Format) Type every line flush with the left margin and begin at the top margin.

(double space)

Return address of the letter writer:

1600 Main Street
Somewhere, Kansas 12345

(four single spaces)

Date: December 1, 2008

(double space)

Complete name, title, and address of the recipient.

Use “Mr.” for a male recipient. If you do not know how a female recipient prefers to be addressed, it is best to use “Ms.”

Ms. Jane Doe, Chair
Department of Linguistics
Right State University
1415 University Drive
Anywhere, OH 45435

(double space)

Salutation with a colon: Dear Ms. Doe:

(double space)

Body of the letter:

A cover letter should be one page with three to six paragraphs. The body of your cover letter should highlight your experiences and accomplishments without repeating your resume.

Be sure to focus on the needs of the employer to whom you are writing. You want the reader to believe that hiring you will improve services, bring ideas, increase efficiency or productivity.

In closing, state how you plan to follow up with the employer. Your closing should briefly summarize the body of the letter, and leave the reader with an important thought to remember you by. Finally, have someone else proofread and critique your cover letter, and look closely for mistakes in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. (double space)

Closing: The most common closing is “Sincerely.” Follow this with a comma. Skip four single lines after the closing and type your name. Sign your name in the space above.


(four single spaces)


John Doe

(double space)

Enclosure: If you are enclosing additional information with your letter such as a resume or a curriculum vitae, skip two single lines after your typed name and type “Enclosure” or “Enclosures.” If you use the plural, you have the option of stating the number of enclosures in parentheses.

Enclosures (2)

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One response to “How to Write a Cover Letter: Standard Business Format”

  1. I found that there are a couple of things that really increase the chances of getting a job, even now with an economic recession the basic rules still apply.

    * Use Titles or Headings That Match The Jobs You Want
    * Use Design That Grabs Attention
    * Medium Size Resume and The Use Power Words
    * Identify and Solve Employer’s Hidden Needs
    * Sell the Benefits of Your Skills – it should be pretty obvious for the employer why not hiring you would be a loss for their company

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