What Does a Cover Letter Look Like? How to Make It Stand Out

Long story short: if your cover letter looks bad, it will generate zero interest. And there’s more to making it look great than setting the right margins and picking good fonts.

Maciej Duszyński
Career Expert
What Does a Cover Letter Look Like? How to Make It Stand Out

About 50% of the candidates send cover letters. And only 26% of the recruiters consider them important.


But since you never know whose hands your job application is going to end up in—


It’s better to be safe than sorry, isn’t it?


The problem is:


If you send a cover letter that doesn’t look as it should, you’ll be doing yourself more harm than good.


In this article you’ll learn:

  • What a CV cover letter should look like.
  • What template works best for any cover letter.
  • Tips on how to write one so it both looks and reads great.


Looking for a step-by-step guide on how to make a cover letter? We’ve got one just for you: How To Write a Cover Letter in 10 Minutes (10+ Examples)


1. Example and Template of a Great Looking Cover Letter


Before we go any further—


Here’s what a CV cover letter looks like:


A Good-Looking Cover Letter for a CV


Save hours of work and get a cover letter like this. Pick a template, fill it in. Quick and easy. Choose from 18+ cover letter templates and download your cover letter now.


sample cover letter templates


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I had an interview yesterday and the first thing they said on the phone was: “Wow! I love your cover letter.”

I love the variety of templates. Good job guys, keep up the good work!

My previous cover letter was really weak and I used to spend hours adjusting it in Word. Now, I can introduce any changes within minutes. Absolutely wonderful!

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Below you can find an outline you can copy and paste into a blank document:


Proper Cover Letter Outline


[Your Name]

[Your Job Title]

[Phone Number]

[Email Address]

[LinkedIn Account]




[Addressee’s Name]

[Addressee’s Job Title]

[Company Name]

[Company Address]

Dear [Addressee’s Name]

[Paragraph 1] Get the recruiter’s attention and introduce yourself.

When I found the opening for [Position] with [Company], I was [Describe your excitement]. In my current position as [Current Job Title], I [Mention a key achievement of yours]. I’m sure my experience will translate into similar results at [Company].


[Paragraph 2] Prove your worth and explain why you’re a great fit.

I realise that [Mention a current problem a company is facing, e.g. refer to what you think is the most challenging in the role]. While working at [Previous Company], I’ve [In two sentences, describe what you did specifically, mention another one of your key achievements and say how it helped the company].


[Paragraph 3] Explain your motivations.

I love [Say what you like about the company and/or the role you want to fill in]. It’s perfectly in line with my core professional values: [In a sentence, say what it is. Make sure the values or skills you mention here tie in with the previous sentence].


[Paragraph 4] Call to action.

When can we [arrange a meeting/schedule a phone call/interview] call to discuss [your contribution to the company].



[Your Name]

[Phone Number]

[Email Address]


P.S. [Optional Section] Grab the recruiter’s attention once more with an additional achievement of yours included in the postscript. [E.g. I’d also love to tell you how I managed to motivate my team to achieve X by doing Y].

Expert Hint: Your job application documents consist of a CV and a cover letter. It’s crucial for both of them to be formatted in the same way. Also, make sure both the CV header and cover letter header match one another.

2. How to Format and Write a Professional Looking Cover Letter 


Cut to the chase:


As the name rightly suggests a cover letter is a letter.


It’s not an informal note. Or an email. And it’s not a novel either.




Just like you see in the template above, a cover letter should consist of:

  • Heading
  • Salutation
  • Main Body
  • Closing
  • Postscript




How long should a cover letter be? How much space do you have?


A single page.


To be more precise:

  • Experienced candidates should stay below 300 words.
  • Entry-level candidates shouldn’t exceed 200 words.


Obviously, nothing is set in stone.


Let common sense be thy guide. If your cover letter is 20% longer or shorter, it’s fine.




A single paragraph won’t look good. Neither will a 5-page treatise.




Here’s what you can do to make your cover letter look professional and get enough room for everything you want to say on a single page:


1. Format Your Cover Letter to Make It Look Professional



And remember:


Your recruitment documents consist of a CV and cover letter combo. So see to it that they look alike and use the same template for both.


2. Address Your Cover Letter Properly


Here’s the secret—


You can tickle the hiring manager’s curiosity before they even read a single word on your cover letter.




By addressing your cover letter properly.


Putting the hiring manager’s name on your cover will make it look professional and feel personal.

Find out who the hiring authority is and send your cover letter and CV to them directly, preferably through a mutual connexion you have. This often takes research, but more often than not, you’ll have a connexion somewhere in your network that can assist you.

Double your impact with a matching CV and cover letter combo. Use our cover letter builder and make your application documents pop out.


create your cover letter now




Want to try a different look? There’s 18 more. A single click will give your document a total makeover. Pick a cover letter template here.


3. Write a Great Looking Introductory Paragraph


The best way to grab the recruiter’s attention from the word go is to mention some of your key achievements in the opening paragraph.


Our guide on how to start a cover letter will give you detailed instructions on how to get it right.


This way your cover letter will NOT look like it’s been copy-pasted an umpteenth time, but specifically crafter to this particular reader and job opening.


4. Compose a Compelling Main-Body Section


Relevance is key.


So make sure the main body paragraphs of your cover letter look nothing but relevant to the career you’re after.


Explain to the reader what makes you the best candidate, how you want to help the company grow, and why you believe the job is a perfect match for you.


If you’re having doubts about how to put your best foot forward, you can find the answers in our guide on what to include in a cover letter.

In most jobs these days, communication skills are critical. Demonstrate that you can provide information in a clear, concise, and grammatically correct manner. And make sure that your letter is free of any typos or punctuation errors. If your cover letter is full of mistakes, you're speaking volumes about your attention to detail. So have somebody else (who has good writing skills) proof-read your cover letter. I once received a cover letter in which the applicant mentioned that he'd graduated from a top-tier "collage”—and I was not impressed!

5. Add a Call to Action




A cover letter isn’t a list of demands—


It’s a request.


You’re introducing yourself to someone you’d like to meet in person.


So make sure you finish your cover letter with a powerful call to action that will help you achieve your goal.


6. Sign Off In a Professional Manner


Don’t get sloppy as you’re approaching the end of your cover letter.


How you finish is just as important as how you start.




Learn how to end a cover letter to make it look great from start to finish.


And this is it!


If you follow the steps above your cover letter will look professional and read great.


With ResumeLab’s CV builder you’ll write your CV in a flash. Get specific content to boost your chances of getting the job. Add job descriptions, bullet points, and skills. Improve your CV in our CV builder now.


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Nail it all with a splash of colour, choose a clean font, highlight your skills in just a few clicks. You’re the perfect candidate and we’ll prove it. Just pick one of 18 CV templates and get started now.


Key Points


Here’s all you need to remember about what a cover letter looks like:

  • Address it to the right person.
  • Make it one-page long.
  • Follow a classic letter template.
  • Set the right margins.
  • Choose professional fonts.
  • Format it just like your CV.
  • Write killer content, relevant to the job.
  • Make sure it’s free from typos and mistakes.


Do you have any questions? Would you like to share your ideas on what a great cover letter looks like? We’d love to hear from you! Give us a shout out in the comments below.

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Maciej Duszyński
Maciej Duszynski is a career advice writer and a resume expert at ResumeLab. With over 8 years of experience in recruitment, hiring, and training, Maciej shares insider HR knowledge to equip every job seeker with professional advice to nail the job hunt. His insights have been featured by the Chicago Tribune, SparkPeople, Toggl, Referral Rock, and Databox, among others. Maciej has helped job candidates at all stages of their career paths, from interns to directors to C-suite members, to thrive in their job. His mission is to help you find the right opportunity and create a job application that gets you the career you deserve. Maciej holds a Master’s degree in English with a specialization in communication and education management.

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