Cover letters are key for any job search. Most employers will look at this document just as closely as they will look at your resume, project list, or portfolio. It’s a candidate’s opportunity to explain why they are the right person for a particular job they are searching for.

For this reason, Michael Page has offered some useful advice about how to compose a proper cover letter. But even with these tips, you may need a little extra help fitting everything you want to highlight into a one-page cover letter.

So, we’ve composed a cover letter outline that will help to keep you on track. It will ensure you hit all of the main points you need to, while keeping your cover letter concise.

You can use this cover letter outline as a checklist and guideline, or you could follow it to the letter. Either way, using it can vastly improve the quality of your cover letter and set you on the right path in your job search.

Take a look at our cover letter outline below.

I. The Basics

  • Insert your name and contact information in a header.
  • Put the name of the company (and hiring manager if you have it) as well as their address and phone number on the left-hand side.
  • In your salutation, address the hiring manager specifically. If you cannot find their name in your research, simply put, “Dear Hiring Manager,” or something to that effect.

II. Introductions

  • Express interest in the position you’re applying for. Address it by the full job title and name the company.
  • Briefly explain why your experience generally has prepared you for the role, referring to the job description if you can.

III. Experience

  • In two to three very brief paragraphs, go into detail, describing how your past work experience has prepared you for this role.
  • Address specific qualifications or points in the job description, explaining how tasks or responsibilities in your previous jobs coincide with them. For example, if a job spec calls for someone who has experience maintaining relationships with multiple high-priority clients at once, describe how you did this in a previous position.
  • If you have a very brief success story/metric, include it in this section. If you brought in new business, developed relationships with important clients, or saved your employer money and time on a project, call that out in a single sentence.

IV. Finishing Touches

  • Any relevant soft skills you have should be listed here.
  • Briefly explain why you want this job. If it is one of your personal goals to work for this company or make this upward move, explain how your motivation and drive will benefit the business. If you simply think this will be a good fit, say so and back the assertion up.
  • Conclude by thanking the reader for their time and consideration, and express the hope that you will hear from them soon.
  • Sign off with “Thank you,” “Regards,” “Best,” or something in that vein, then sign your full name.

Though this cover letter outline is just the skeleton of the document, it should be able to set you on the right path.

If you are currently looking for a new opportunity, take a look at our job postings. If you choose to apply, one of our expert recruitment consultants will be in touch with relevant opportunities.