Formal Cover Letter Example

Written by Mark DeGrasso

May 5, 2023

Your cover letter is an essential component of the job application process, as it provides the employer with a first impression of who you are and what you can bring to their company. Writing a formal cover letter can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time. However, with the right guidance and focus, you can create a cover letter that stands out from the rest. In this article, we’ll take a look at the essential components of a formal cover letter and what employers look for. We’ll also delve into some common mistakes to avoid and final steps to take before submitting your application.

What Employers Look For In A Formal Cover Letter Example Cover Letter

Before we get into the details of what to include in your cover letter, let’s first understand what employers are looking for. Employers receive numerous job applications every day, and they don’t have much time to go through each one in detail. Therefore, they need to quickly identify which applications meet their criteria by scanning the cover letter. Here’s what they look for:

  • Relevance: Employers want to know whether you have the necessary skills and qualifications for the job you’re applying for. Ensure that your cover letter highlights how your skills and experience match the job description.
  • Professionalism: Your cover letter is an extension of your professionalism and work ethic. Employers look for applicants who are professional in their communication, organized, and detail-oriented.
  • Enthusiasm: Employers want to know that you’re passionate about the job and the company. Show your enthusiasm by researching the company and tailoring your cover letter to their mission statement and values.
  • Ability to follow instructions: Employers often include specific instructions on how to apply for the job. Ensure that your cover letter follows these instructions precisely.

When it comes to relevance, it’s important to not only highlight your skills and qualifications, but also to provide specific examples of how you’ve used them in the past. This will give employers a better understanding of how you can contribute to their organization. Additionally, you should use industry-specific language and terminology to demonstrate your understanding of the field.

Professionalism is also key in a cover letter. This means using proper grammar and spelling, formatting your letter in a clear and organized manner, and addressing the employer by name if possible. You should also avoid using overly casual language or slang, as this can come across as unprofessional.

Enthusiasm can be conveyed in a number of ways in your cover letter. One effective strategy is to show that you’ve done your research on the company and understand their values and mission. You can then explain how your own values align with those of the company, and how you’re excited to contribute to their goals. Additionally, you can use positive language and express your passion for the field and the specific job you’re applying for.

Finally, following instructions is crucial in a cover letter. Employers may ask for specific information or documents, such as a writing sample or references. Make sure to read the job posting carefully and provide all requested information in your cover letter. If you’re not sure about something, don’t hesitate to reach out to the employer and ask for clarification.

By keeping these factors in mind and tailoring your cover letter to the specific job and company, you can increase your chances of standing out to employers and landing an interview.

Essential Components of a Formal Cover Letter

When it comes to job applications, a cover letter is just as important as your resume. It’s your chance to showcase your personality, highlight your skills and experience, and show the employer why you’re the best candidate for the job. In this guide, we’ll go over the essential components of a formal cover letter to help you make a great first impression.

Contact Information

Begin your cover letter with your contact information, including your full name, address, phone number, and email address. Ensure that this information is up-to-date so that the employer can easily get in touch with you. If you have a professional website or LinkedIn profile, you can also include that information here.


Addressing the hiring manager by name is a great way to make your cover letter more personal. If possible, do some research to find out the name of the person who will be reading your application. If you can’t find their name, you can use a more general salutation, such as “Dear Hiring Manager.”

Opening Paragraph

The opening paragraph should be brief and to the point. Start by mentioning the job you’re applying for and how you found out about the position. You can also briefly state why you’re interested in the role and the company. For example, if you’re applying for a marketing position, you might say something like, “I was excited to see the opening for the Marketing Coordinator position on your website, as I’ve been following your brand for years and admire your innovative approach to marketing.”

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs are where you’ll really sell yourself to the employer. This is your chance to highlight your skills and experience that align with the job requirements. Use specific examples of your past accomplishments to illustrate how you’ve used your skills in past roles. For example, if you’re applying for a project management position, you might say something like, “In my previous role as a Project Manager at XYZ Company, I successfully led a team of 10 people to complete a complex project ahead of schedule and under budget.”

Using bullet points is a great way to make your accomplishments stand out and keep the reader engaged. Be sure to use keywords from the job description to show that you’ve read and understand the requirements of the position.

Closing Paragraph

The closing paragraph should reiterate your interest in the role and the company. Thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration, and mention that you would be happy to provide further information if needed. For example, you might say something like, “Thank you for considering my application for the Marketing Coordinator position. I would be happy to provide additional writing samples or references if needed. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”


End your cover letter with a formal closing, such as “Sincerely,” and then sign your name. If you’re submitting your cover letter digitally, you can use an electronic signature. Make sure that your signature is professional and easy to read. You can also include your phone number and email address again at the bottom of the page.

Remember, your cover letter is your chance to make a great first impression. By following these essential components, you’ll be well on your way to landing your dream job.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing a Formal Cover Letter

Writing a cover letter can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to formal cover letters. A cover letter is your opportunity to showcase your skills, qualifications, and experience to a potential employer. It’s important to make sure your cover letter is well-written and error-free to make a good impression. Now that we’ve covered what to include, let’s go over some common mistakes to avoid.

Firstly, grammatical and spelling errors can be detrimental to your cover letter. A cover letter filled with grammatical or spelling errors can signal to the employer that you don’t have strong attention to detail. It’s important to proofread your cover letter multiple times to ensure it’s free of errors. You can also ask a friend or family member to review it for you.

Secondly, it’s important to keep your cover letter focused on the job description. Going off-topic can make you appear unfocused and unprofessional. Make sure you read the job description carefully and highlight the skills and experience that make you a strong candidate for the position.

Lastly, not tailoring your cover letter can be a mistake. Avoid sending the same generic cover letter to multiple employers. Instead, tailor it to each job and company you apply to. Research the company and find out what they’re looking for in a candidate. Use this information to customize your cover letter and show the employer that you’re a good fit for the position.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your cover letter stands out and makes a good impression on potential employers.

Final Steps On Writing Your Formal Cover Letter

Writing a formal cover letter can be a daunting task, but with these final steps, you can ensure that your cover letter is polished and professional:

  • Proofread: After writing your cover letter, make sure to read it over multiple times to catch any grammatical errors or typos. You don’t want to give a bad impression due to simple mistakes.
  • Get feedback: It’s always a good idea to have a fresh set of eyes read over your cover letter. Ask a friend or family member to provide feedback and catch any errors you may have missed. They can also give you suggestions on how to improve the content of your letter.
  • Personalize: Research the company and try to address the hiring manager by name. This shows that you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested in the position. Additionally, mention specific details about the company that caught your attention. This will show that you’re a good fit for the company culture.
  • Be concise: Employers don’t have time to read a lengthy cover letter, so keep it to one page or less. Be direct and to the point, highlighting your most relevant skills and experiences that make you the best candidate for the job.
  • Show enthusiasm: Finally, make sure to express your enthusiasm for the position and the company. Employers want to hire someone who is excited about the opportunity and is committed to making a positive impact.

By following these final steps, you can create a cover letter that stands out from the rest and increases your chances of landing the job. Good luck!

Example Formal Cover Letter

Below is an example of a formal cover letter that incorporates all of the essential components.

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I am writing to express my interest in the [Position] role at [Company]. With [Number of Years] of experience in [Industry/Field], I am confident in my ability to make a valuable contribution to your team.

In my current role at [Current Company], I have gained extensive experience in [Key Skills/Responsibilities]. Through my work, I have developed a strong understanding of [Industry/Field] and have honed my [Skill/Expertise].

I am particularly drawn to [Company] because of its [Company Values/Mission Statement/Recent Achievements]. I believe that my skills and experience align well with the needs of your organization, and I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to your continued success.

Thank you for considering my application. I have attached my resume for your review. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information or if you would like to schedule an interview.


[Your Name]

PS: I would like to take this opportunity to mention that I am a big fan of the work that your organization has been doing in the field of [Industry/Field]. I have been following your progress closely and am impressed by the impact that you have been able to make in [Specific Area]. I look forward to the possibility of contributing to your continued success.

PPS: In my free time, I enjoy [Hobby/Interest]. I find that it helps me to stay creative and focused, and I believe that it has contributed to my success in my professional life as well.

Thank you again for your time and consideration.

Formal Cover Letter FAQ

Here is a list of frequently asked questions regarding formal cover letters:

  • Can I use the same cover letter for multiple job applications? While it’s tempting to use the same cover letter for multiple job applications, it’s best to create a unique cover letter for each job you apply for.
  • It’s important to tailor your cover letter to the specific job you are applying for. This means highlighting the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the position. By customizing your cover letter, you show the employer that you are serious about the job and that you have taken the time to research the company and the position.

  • How should I format my cover letter? Use a professional font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, and keep the formatting simple.
  • The formatting of your cover letter should be clean and easy to read. Use a font size between 10 and 12 points and make sure there is plenty of white space on the page. Use bold or italics sparingly to emphasize important points. You may also consider adding a header with your name and contact information.

  • How long should my cover letter be? Keep your cover letter to one page or less.
  • Employers receive many applications for each job opening, so it’s important to keep your cover letter concise. Aim to write no more than three paragraphs, with each paragraph addressing a specific point. Make sure to use strong, active language and avoid using cliches or generic phrases.

  • What if there is no hiring manager listed? If you can’t find the name of the hiring manager, use a formal salutation, such as “Dear Hiring Manager.”
  • While it’s always best to address your cover letter to a specific person, sometimes this information is not available. In this case, it’s acceptable to use a more general salutation, such as “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.” However, if you are able to find the name of the hiring manager, it’s always better to address them directly.


In conclusion, a formal cover letter is a crucial part of the job application process. Employers gain their first impression of you from your cover letter, so it’s essential to make it professional, engaging, and tailored to the job description. By following the essential components outlined in this article, avoiding common mistakes, and taking final steps to polish your cover letter, you’ll be on your way to landing the job you desire.