A well-designed and professional-looking cover letter can help you capture the attention of a hiring manager by expressing the unique style and image you’d like to communicate. To start, different professions and industries require different types of cover letter designs -- conventional, clean designs are recommended for jobs like banking and accounting while unconventional ones fit creative jobs like web design and marketing. Whichever style fits your need, though, experts say your cover letter design definitely needs to match the look and feel of your resume. Career advisor Heather Austin says it “helps the hiring official know that these two documents belong together.”
Benefits of Cover Letter Design Templates
When you need help designing a professional-looking cover letter, a template comes in handy.
Templates will help you by:
Providing a framework you can adapt for different job applications.
Saving time and trouble designing and formatting a cover letter on your own that is professional. Templates take care of all the formatting, such as margins, alignment and appropriate colors.
Identifying the key elements you need to include in your letter, such as introductions and body paragraphs.
Providing suggested wording, even if you have been out of work for a while or are a new job seeker.
Quickly choosing from different styles for your cover letter, from contemporary to traditional.
Developing your personal brand by using an image style that sets you apart from others.
Getting your cover letter noticed by a hiring manager because of its professional design. Recruiters make snap decisions within seconds about your resume and cover letter, so you want to be sure your cover letter is not disqualified due to its appearance.
How to Select a Design Template
Your choice of a cover letter design hinges on whether it is the best fit for your job search. Since you can easily switch to any other design, we suggest you “try on” different templates, especially with each new job application.
Consider these questions when choosing design templates:
What kind of work do you do? A cover letter template for a creative director or makeup artist may have bolder colors and graphics than a template for an accountant. Choose a template that gives you the chance to show your familiarity with the potential employer’s industry and culture.
What kind of image do you want to present? You wouldn’t wear jeans for a job in a bank or wear a suit for a job in a creative agency. By the same token, make sure the image of your cover letter fits the company culture. If you’re applying for a job at a hip startup, you may want to choose a cover letter template that is more vibrant and trendy. If you are trying to win a job at a serious corporate firm, choose a more traditional layout.
Where you are in your employment journey? If you are new on the job market, then a more classic template will showcase your education and skills in a sophisticated manner. If you have many years of work experience, then an executive or professional template will showcase your achievements.
Four Ways to Personalize Your Cover Letter Template
Once your cover letter is designed, you will need to customize it. Here are key ways to make your letter more attractive to a hiring manager:
- Demonstrate your interest in the company. Prove you have done your research into the company. Talk about what inspires you to join their team, describe how you support their mission and values and why they need you.
- Match your skills and experiences with the job’s requirements. Address the duties and skills listed in the job description and show how you can meet their needs. Highlight your work achievements that address the job description
- Include keywords so your letter is noticed. You want your letter to pass the automated applicant tracking systems (ATS) that recruiters generally use to scan cover letters for relevant keywords. Be sure your letter includes keywords specific to that job, such as Quickbooks, CRM, and Excel for an accounting position.
- Add a “call to action” closing statement. For instance, “I look forward to speaking with you to share more of my qualifications.
If you need help personalizing your cover letter, refer to our best practices on writing cover letters.
Cover Letter Design Elements
A well-designed cover letter should include the following elements:
A Header: Your cover letter header should match with your resume header, which includes your name and contact information.
A Clean Layout: A well-organized layout will cleanly divide your cover letter into sections and is easy to read. Margins and spacing should be the same as they are in your resume.
A Consistent Color and Font: Your design should match your resume’s color scheme and font. If the resume is in black-and-white, your cover letter can’t be multicolored. The same logic applies to the font type and font size.
A Decorative Border: A decorative border allows you to display some creativity and aesthetics. (Again, make sure you don’t use this for a conventional employer.)
An Original Logo: A personal logo or branding graphic gives cover letters personality flair. (Make sure you do the same on your resume.)
See “How to Format Your Cover Letter” for examples and more detailed information about formatting.
Cover Letter Design Options
We consulted with hiring managers and recruiters to create these cover letter designs that can be applied to a wide range of professions and industries.
When you want to make a contemporary visual statement. Sample job titles: Architect; Web Designer; Makeup Artist; Graphic Designer.
This is a bold design to make a strong first impression. Sample job titles: Architect; Web Designer; Graphic Designer; Copywriter.
This is a clean, no-frills design especially good for professionals. Sample job titles: Accountant; Executive; Attorney.
When job candidates with minimal experience want to project a professional image. Sample job titles: Admin Assistant; Secretary.
When you want to emphasize your job experience and professional achievements. Sample job titles: CEO; VP; Executive.
When you want to detail your experience, leadership skills and technical expertise; this is easily adaptable across many professions. Sample job titles: CTO; CEO; CPA; IT.
This is a clean template to emphasize your pioneering, cutting-edge experience and achievements. Sample job titles: Creative Director; Art Director; Chief Creative Officer.
This option emphasizes your credentials and why you’re a good fit for the job. Sample job titles: Copyeditor; Executive Assistant.
When you need to get all the important details about your capabilities across in a minimal amount of space. Sample job titles: Copyeditor; Copywriter.
Cover Letter Templates by Industry
We’ve created templates for different industries. Personalize each of your cover letters to show employer prospects that you’ve done your homework and you’re familiar with their line of business.
Common Questions About Cover Letter Templates & Writing
What Makes a Good Cover Letter Template
Strong cover letter templates will match your resume both in looks and in the kind of information they include.
The layout should make your work story easy to read and your contact information easy to find. You want to get your points across as clearly as possible. That means that the design should be clean—not cluttered.
The template should also include the four key sections of a cover letter:
Finally, the text should not exceed one page, and the font size should not be smaller than 10-point.
How Should a Cover Letter Template be Formatted
Appealing cover letter templates will start with an eye-catching header that details your full name and contact information. You may also want to consider including links to your social media profiles and online examples of your work.
Separate the header from the content of your letter by using design elements like color, a larger font size, or simple bold and underline styling.
The font size for the rest of your cover letter should be between a 10- and 12-point font. The margins should be 1 inch. This is generally the default setting in Microsoft Word.
The text of your cover letter should be separated by clear paragraph breaks. In some cases, you may even want to use bullet points to quickly communicate some key points. This makes it easy for busy hiring leaders to scan and digest your cover letter.
What is the Best Cover Letter Template
There is no best cover letter template. There’s only the best cover letter template for you.
Here are some elements to consider when choosing from cover letter templates:
What kind of company are you applying to?
What kind of work do you do?
How much experience do you have?
If you’re applying for a job at a hip start-up, then you may want to choose a cover letter template that’s more vibrant and trendy. If you’re trying to win a job at a serious corporate or big firm, it could be better to choose a more traditional layout.
What are the Worst Cover Letter Mistakes
Every recruiter and hiring manager has their personal pet peeves when it comes to cover letter red flags. Overall though, here are some common mistakes that the hiring industry across the board loathes:
A sexist greeting. Don’t assume your reader is a Mr., Ms., or Mrs. Only include this information if you know for sure.
An opening paragraph that lists the wrong job title or company name.
A cover letter that’s longer than one page.
A cover letter that’s not personalized or shows that a candidate hasn’t done their research on the company.
A cover letter that ends with a call to action that’s too pushy. For example, don’t say, “I’ll give you a call in the next 48 hours so that we can decide on an interview time.
A cover letter littered with spelling and grammar errors.
A cover letter that doesn’t align with the skills and experience listed in the job posting.
Can I Use the Same Cover Letter Templates for Every Job
Yes! You can certainly use the same cover letter templates as starting points for any job you’d like to apply to. However, it’s essential that you then customize the templates to reflect the skills and experience each job posting requests.
At its simplest, this means mentioning the name of the hiring manager in your salutation and the job title and company name in your opening paragraph.
A truly strong, unique cover letter will go beyond that though, detailing specific accomplishments and responsibilities that prove you could add value to the business in question.
What is a Good Resume Template to Go with my Cover Letter Template?
Ideally, your resume will match your cover letter both in the way it looks and in the kind of information it includes. Have a look at these resume templates if you need a reference point for starting this part of your job application.
How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?
While a resume may be anywhere from 1 to 3 pages, a cover letter should never be longer than one page. Hiring leaders and recruiters have precious little time to review these documents. Accordingly, you need to keep your work story short and to the point.
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