Samples of the Best Cover Letter Formats

Lately I've been reviewing cover letters sent to me by job seekers, and adding some of them to my collection of cover letter samples. It's fun to see how the formatting has changed over the years as we've adjusted to sending resumes and cover letters via email and posting them online.

I want to show you the three cover letter formats I think are the best:

  • All paragraphs
  • Bullet point statements
  • Comparison lists

Take a look at the following samples to see which of these cover letter formats might work best for your job application. Note: These samples are created as if they were being sent as hardcopy or attached to an email along with a resume. If they were sent in the body of an email message, there would be no need for the headings, inside addresses, or dates. They could simply start with "Dear So-and-so."

Cover Letter Format: All Paragraphs

In this cover letter, Scot writes his message entirely in paragraphs. Notice that each paragraph is short, making it easy and inviting to read.

Read more about this cover letter.

Scot Belmont
000 Reed Avenue
Davis, CA 00000
[email protected]

May 2, 20xx

Ms. Jazmin Medina
Translation Services
Stanford University Hospital
00 University Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 00000

Dear Ms. Medina,
I have a passion for helping people to better understand the health issues that affect their lives — and the sensitivity and communication skills to convey such an understanding.

The attached resume documents my work history. However, what's harder to demonstrate on paper is my intimate familiarity with what your ad calls "the cultural/perceptual factors that may have an effect on patient treatment and communication."

One of my best friends is Mexican and HIV-positive. My wife, who is Puerto Rican, is a long-term diabetic who recently underwent a kidney transplant. My experiences helping these and other people close to me to navigate the healthcare system have contributed immeasurably to my skill and commitment as a healthcare Spanish-language translator.

Although the bulk of my professional experience has been in the administrative field, the work I've done is closely related to your program's needs. I've made numerous trips to Latin America, where I served as a conduit between my boss and his Chilean partners — facilitating complex communications, just as I would between patients and their doctors.

I am excited by the idea of using my talents to benefit a world-class facility like Stanford University Hospital. I'll contact you next week to see when we could meet. Thank you.


Scot Belmont

Attached: resume

Cover Letter Format: Bullet Point Statements

Lynn used bullet point statements in her cover letter to highlight her strengths and make it easy for her reader to quickly scan these key points.

Read more about this cover letter.

Lynn Powell
000 Pine Street, Apt. 8
Camden, NJ 12345
[email protected]com

April 29, 20xx

Sister Mary Nunes, Principal
Sisters of Mercy Middle School
000 Waltham Way
Camden, NJ 30342

Dear Sister Nunes,
Some people think that Catholic schools are out of step with the times. As a veteran teacher, I say just the opposite: With all the pressures teenagers are subject to these days, the discipline and values imparted by a school like Sisters of Mercy are essential to the well-being of our youth — and the community at large.

Today, the problems young teens bring to the classroom are more challenging than ever before. I meet those challenges with:

  • A dynamic presentation style that involves and motivates students.
  • Strong classroom management skills.
  • A compassionate understanding of the issues that concern youths today.

After eight years' classroom experience, I took a break to concentrate on my family. Now that my youngest child is in high school, I'm more than ready to return to teaching.

I would like to meet with you so that we can discuss what I can offer Sisters of Mercy. I look forward to hearing when you would be free to do that. Thank you.

Yours very truly,

Lynn Powell

Attached: resume for middle school teacher

Cover Letter Format: Comparison Lists

The comparison lists technique used in the following cover letter is a good one for responding to a job posting that states what the employer is looking for in the ideal job candidate. In this case, notice how easy it is for an employer to quickly check the two lists and see that Maria has what it takes, and more!

Read more about this cover letter.

12 Town Road
Missoula, MT 12345
[email protected]

March 24, 20xx

Mr. Cecil LaPuenta
General Manager
Tilden & Spice
73 Oakland Avenue
Missoula, MT 12345

Dear Mr. LaPuenta,

Camille Parker of Choices Career Center recommended I contact you regarding the training opportunity with Tilden & Spice. I have read your announcement and would like to respond to the job specifications:


  1. Knowledge of banking or experience in the financial services industry.
  2. Minimum 2 years in corporate training.
  3. Excellent communication skills.
  4. Willingness to travel and to deliver training on Saturdays.
  5. Extroverted and energetic personality.


  1. Financial services experience as former Assistant Manager, Transcontinental Financial Services.
  2. Background in teaching, group dynamics, and curriculum development.
  3. Written and oral communication talents. Wrote training guides. Used strong interpersonal skills to sell programs.
  4. Available to travel. Flexible schedule.
  5. Several "dancing bear acts" that can be performed simultaneously.

Thank you for your time and interest. I will call you next week to set up an appointment.

Sincerely yours,

Maria Pinehurst

Enclosure: resume

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Susan Ireland Resume Author Susan Ireland is the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Resume and creator of Susan Ireland's Ready-Made Resume Builder.