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How to Start a Cover Letter

A cover letter is your opportunity to grab the potential employer's attention and make a good first impression. It is very important to your chances of gaining employment. You must take adequate time to research the company to which you are applying and to properly construct your cover letter. A good cover letter will help you to stand out above the other applicants.

Address Your Letter

Open your word processing program and begin a new document.

Center your full name; street address; city, state and ZIP code; phone number; and email address on separate lines at the top of the page.

Double-space before entering the date.

Double-space before you enter on separate single-spaced lines the prospective employer's contact's name; contact's title; company name; mailing address; and city, state, and ZIP code.


Double-space. Address the prospective employer in a respectful tone using a proper name. An example of a proper salutation is, "Dear Mr. Smith:"

Double space. Use the first sentence of your first paragraph to communicate the purpose for your letter. Here is an example: "I am writing to apply for the position of receptionist with ABC Company."

Use the remainder of the first paragraph to reveal the manner in which you found out about the potential opening. For example, "I learned of the opening in a classified advertisement in the September 4 edition of 'Anytown News.'"


Use the second paragraph to express your interest in the position and highlight your skills that would be an asset in the position. Use the final paragraph to thank the reader for his time and request an interview. Use spell-check, but do not rely solely on the computer's critique. Double-check your own work, and whenever possible, have another set of eyes act as an editor.