Cover Letter Free Formats

Free Cover Letter Templates for Microsoft Word

A good cover letter can mean the difference between catching the hiring manager’s attention and languishing in job search limbo. But many job seekers find it hard to stare down that blank page. How do you summarize your most important qualifications in way that makes it clear that you’re the best candidate for the job?

Cover letter templates can help. A template will give you a "fill in the blank" format you can use to create your own letter to send with your resume when you apply for a job.

It will save you a few steps and help you structure your letter in a professional way.

Free Microsoft cover letter templates are available online from Microsoft Office Online, as a download for Microsoft Word users, or are available within your Word program, to use to create cover letters for jobs. Note that not all templates may work with all versions of Word, so check before you download. There will be a message next to the download button advising if there are restrictions.

Not a Microsoft user? Google Docs also has free template samples available for letters and resumes. Using any of these templates can help you to feel confident that you are properly writing and formatting your cover letter.

Free Microsoft Word Cover Letter Templates

There are a variety of templates available for Microsoft Word. Template options include general cover letters and both job- and career-specific cover letter samples.

For example, there are cover letter templates for professionals, temporary workers, and candidates who are sending in their resumes unsolicited.

Microsoft Word also offers a variety of different cover letter template designs, with resume templates to match. Note that if you choose one of these fancier template designs, you’ll want to choose a resume template to match.

It’s important to be consistent in your application materials, whether it’s matching your cover letter to your resume or choosing a font or format. Ideally, your experience should stand out to the hiring manager, not your stylistic choices.

To Access Cover Letters From Your Computer:

Open Microsoft Word, then click on:

Then, search for online templates by typing your keywords (e.g., “cover letter”) in the field provided.

How to Access the Microsoft Cover Letter Templates

If you don’t own a copy of Microsoft Office or a subscription to Microsoft 365, you can still access cover letter templates via Microsoft Office Online.  These templates are free and editable online.

Visit the Microsoft Cover Letter Templates website, browse the cover letter templates, then click on the title to preview the sample. You'll need to sign up for a free account to edit the document.

Once you find a template you like, click Edit In Browser, then follow the instructions to customize and save your cover letter.

There are also sets, which include matching resumes and cover letters, available to use.

Use the Template to Create a Customized Cover Letter

Once you have downloaded or opened a cover letter template file, type over the text in the file to create your own, personalized cover letter.

The template will include all the relevant information that you need to include in your document. Simply change the generic version to include your personal and professional information.

It's a good idea to include additional details about your qualifications and experience. Take the time to match your qualifications to the job description. Include keywords related to your skills and achievements.

To customize your cover letter further, look for a contact person at the company, ideally the hiring manager or HR contact, and address the letter to this person. If you have an employee contact at the company who is willing to refer you, be sure to mention them as soon as possible in the cover letter. Employee referrals carry a lot of weight with hiring managers.

Double-check to make sure there is none of the template information left in your final saved version.

Carefully proofread for grammar and typographical errors before saving and sending your cover letter.

To avoid sending a blank template or the wrong version of your cover letter, choose a file name that’s easy to remember. It should always include your name, and may also contain the name of the position to which you’re applying. Avoid version numbers and cutesy nicknames.

More Templates for Resumes and Letters

More Microsoft Letter Templates
Microsoft letter templates are available as a free download for Microsoft Word users or are available within your Word program, to use to create a variety of letters. There are letter templates for cover letters, resignation letters, reference letters, thank you letters, interview letters, and a variety of business letters.

Microsoft Word Resume Templates
Microsoft resume templates are available as a free download for Microsoft Word users to use to create a resume. Microsoft Word resume options include basic resumes, job-specific resumes, and career-specific resumes.

It’s a good time to be a job seeker: U.S. job growth is strong, unemployment is on a steady decline, and openings are at an all-time high.

That doesn’t make the search any less daunting. Differentiating yourself from every other job seeker on the market is no small feat, and the monotony of filling out online applications can make the task downright exhausting. That’s where a killer cover letter comes in.

Done right, a great cover letter is like a secret weapon for catching a hiring manager’s attention. Next to your resume, it’s one of the most important, underutilized tools at your disposal.

Here are some cover letter writing tips, and a free, downloadable template, to make yours stand out.

1. Personalize

Every cover letter you write should be tailored to the job you’re applying for — just like your resume. Study the job posting carefully, and make a quick list of any essential qualifications.

“Job seekers really struggle with what to say on a cover letter,” says Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, President and CEO of Great Resumes Fast. “Taking a second to think about why you’re applying, and why you’re a good fit for the company, makes the process a lot easier.”

If you’re adding a cover letter to an online application, use a business letter format with a header and contact information. If you’re sending an email, it’s OK to leave out the header, but be sure to provide a phone number (and an attached resume, of course). Make sure you’re clear about the position you’re applying for.

Avoid nameless salutations — it might take a little Google research, and some LinkedIn outreach, but finding the actual name of the position’s hiring manager will score you major brownie points. “Do not start a cover letter with, ‘to whom it may concern,’” Holbrook Hernandez says. “It concerns no one.”

2. Tell a Story

To grab a recruiter’s attention, a good narrative—with a killer opening line—is everything.

“The cover letter is a story,” says Satjot Sawhney, a resume and career strategist with Loft Resumes. “What is the most interesting thing you’re doing that’s relevant to this job?” Use that to guide your letter.

Ideally, the story that drives your resume will focus on a need at the company you’re applying for. If you’re a PR professional, maybe you have a list of clients in an industry the team wants to break into. If you’re in marketing, a successful promotional campaign might be the ticket in. “A hiring manager wants to see results-driven accomplishments with a past employer,” says Holbrook Hernandez. “If you’ve done it before, you can deliver it again.”

If you have a career gap or are switching industries, address it upfront. “If there’s anything unique in your career history, call that out in the beginning,” says professional resume writer Brooke Shipbaugh.

(Here’s a downloadable sample.)

3. Use Bullet Points to Show Impact

Hiring managers are usually slammed with applications, so short, quick cover letters are preferable to bloated ones, says Paul Wolfe, Senior Vice President of human resources at job site Indeed.

“Make your cover letter a brief, bright reference tool,” he says. The easier you can make it on the recruiter the better.”

Bullet points are a good tool for pulling out numbers-driven results. Job seekers in creative fields like art and design can use bullets to break down their most successful project. Those in more traditional roles (like the one in the template), can hammer off two or three of their most impressive accomplishments.

4. Highlight Culture Fit

It’s often overlooked, but a major function of the cover letter is to show a company how well you’d mesh with the culture.

As you research a potential employer, look for culture cues on the company website, social media, and review sites like Glassdoor. Oftentimes, employers will nod to culture in a job posting. If the ad mentions a “team environment,” it might be good to play up a recent, successful collaboration. If the company wants a “self-starter,” consider including an achievement that proves you don’t need to be micromanaged.

The tone of your letter can also play to culture. “The cover letter is a great place to show [an employer] how you fit into their world,” Shipbaugh says. “Show some personality.”

5. End with an Ask

The goal of a cover letter is to convince the person reading it to make the next move in the hiring process — with a phone call, interview, or otherwise. Ending on a question opens that door without groveling for it.

“You have to approach this with a non-beggar mentality,” Sawhney says. “Having an ‘ask’ levels the playing field.”

Related: What Your Resume Should Look Like in 2018

 

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