Cover Letter Outline, Format, and Examples

A good cover letter outline can do so much for you.

It’ll take you one step closer to getting that dream job despite the number of people that may have applied for the same position. 

Also, there’s a cover letter outline for students, internship, acting, and so much more.

Each of these letters has something in common and that is, they’re simple to write especially if you have a template, to begin with.

But as they say, the simplest of things may sometimes prove the hardest to do.

Now don’t worry your pretty head because we’ve got your back.

We’ve detailed all you need to know about a cover letter and how to write one.

The best part is, you can use the same format for your letter whether you’re in Nigeria, Australia, Ireland, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, India, as with several other countries. 

What is a Cover Letter?

So, what is a cover letter for a job, resume, internship, or acting?

A cover letter reveals your personality to a potential employer.

Think of it as an introduction letter that tells the employer about your qualification, experiences, etc. in a bid to convince them that you’re the right candidate for the job.

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What’s more, this letter is often paired with a resume consisting of facts to back up the claims in your letter.

On the other hand, it is important to write a unique cover letter tailored to the company or industry you’ll be applying for a job.

The goal is to leave a long-lasting memory and give the impression that you’re different from the lot.  

What is a Cover Letter Used for?

A cover letter is used for the following:

  • Proffers an easy way to introduce yourself to a potential employer
  • It is used to show your interest in a company you’ll like to take a position
  • Aids in elaborating your resume
  • To convince your potential employer that you’re the right candidate for the job

Cover Letter Format and Examples

Although a universal or standard format for writing a cover letter does not exist, it is still useful to fall back on some cover letter format and examples.

These examples will serve as a guide when writing yours and ensure that you provide only the most essential information. 

Accordingly, here are some cover letter outline guides you can use:

Sample 1

cover letter outline

Your Name
Your Street Address
City, State ZIP
The Month Day, Year

(quadruple space)

Employer’s Name
Title
Company’s Name
Street Address
City, State ZIP

Dear Mr./Ms. (the person’s last name) or Dear Hiring Manager or Company’s team

First Paragraph (State the purpose of the letter)

Outline the reasons for writing as well as the position you are applying for. 

Also, show your knowledge in the company through a brief explanation.

It may also be useful to reveal how you’d found out about the vacancy. Whether you were referred by an employee, a job advert, etc.

Second paragraph (Outline your background and qualifications)

Outline your previous work experience, qualification and skills, volunteer work, and other details that may catch the employer’s attention.

The skills you outline here must meet the needs of your employer.

Also, refer the employer to your resume and remember that the resume holds the facts.

Hence, you only need to highlight what is defined in the resume.

Third paragraph (Request for Action)

This is the closing paragraph and should hint on your skill’s alignment with the position you’re applying for.

You can also express that you’re willing to discuss your qualification and the position you’ll be filling with the employer.

It may be useful to express your appreciation for the employer’s consideration.

Further, outline that a resume has been attached if the cover letter is an emailed one.

Sincerely,

Signature

(Leave three lines of spacing for your signature if this cover letter is in paper format. Spacing is not required if this is an emailed cover letter.) 

Your Name

Letter Sample

Your Name

Your Address

City, State Zip Code

Phone Number

Email

Date

Hiring Manager’s/Recruiter’s Name

Hiring Manager’s/Recruiter’s Title

Organization/Company Name

Address

City, State Zip Code

Salutation

Dear Mr./Ms. [Hiring Manager’s/Recruiter’s Last Name]:


First Paragraph (Career purpose)

Second Paragraph (Qualifications and experience)

Third Paragraph (Call to action)

Complimentary Closing and Sign-Off

Best regards,

Your Full Name

Attachments to the cover letter:

Resume

Application Form

Letter of Reference

Now, keep in mind that your cover letter must be unique given that the potential for other candidates to use the same format is high.

Therefore, do not just copy and paste these formats, use your initiative to spice things up to keep yourself at the forefront of the competition.

Tips for Writing a Cover Letter 

Now that you have a good idea on what a cover letter is supposed to say, keep the following tips in mind:

Write an Organized Cover Letter

We don’t have to spell this out, but your cover letter must be presented in an orderly manner.

Irrespective of the company it’ll be sent to, treat the visual presentation of sentences and paragraphs with importance. 

You don’t want your letter thrown into a bin even before it is read because the words are too clumsy or the presentation was outright bad.

Reveal How You Can Solve Specific Problems

Companies want the confidence that they are not just hiring another worker to increase the number of employees.

Rather, they want to see how you can solve problems, and therefore be a very useful employee. 

And hey, even though you’ll be tempted to include the line, “I’m a problem solver,” don’t do it.

Rather, paint a perfect picture of how you can solve these problems. 

It begins by explaining in detail how you can solve certain problems in the company using the skill (s) you have.

You’ll even garner more interest if you narrow down to a problem the company is having and proffer a solution for it.

The same goes if the solution is tailored to the company’s industry such as engineering, consulting, business, banking, etc.

Use the Appropriate Voice and Tone

It is often recommended that you stay unique and write like yourself.

In the same vein, it is important to use a voice and tone in your cover letter that is suitable for the company you’re writing to.

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Therefore, learn about the company by carrying out research and then choose a tone that suits it.

A real-life example is the difference between a cover letter written to an insurance company and one to a car manufacturing company.

Tell your story

It’s your cover letter and it’s time to tell your story in a very convincing manner.

You’ll want to reveal your personality, as well as, your work style.

This work style should compliment the position you’re applying for since there’s no use presenting a skill in the wrong department. 

And while it may seem easier and faster to type whatever your mind conjures, it’s better to note down the most important skills that match the position.

An example is a call center job which requires communication skills and good knowledge of how to turn previous buyers into return or loyal customers.

Over and above that, you can share your work experiences since most employers are more than ready to employ someone that has worked in a similar field before. 

Conclusion

Now that you know the importance of a good cover letter outline and how to write one, it’s time to get to work.

And keep the tips that have been outlined above in mind since they’ll help you to write a cover letter fit for any position irrespective of the organization.

We’ll also like to get your feedback on whether you were successful in writing a cover letter or even better, if you got the position you applied for.

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