Cover Letter Styles: Job Application Cover Letters

Cover letters for job applications require as much care as your CV or resume. They must be targeted to the jobs. Never use a standard cover letter for any job application. Every one of them must be directed specifically to the job.

The reason for this level of attention to detail is that the screening process will take out all but a few applications. A cover letter that doesn't show direct relevance to the job will be one of the first ones culled. Just think of your own standard reasons for throwing letters in the trash, and you'll see the logic applying to hundreds of cover letters.

Cover letter formats

  • Size: The cover letter is restricted in size to about one page, or a page and a half maximum. That's about 500 words. Try hard not to exceed this limit. Screening recruiters just won't read lengthy cover letters.
  • Style: The cover letter must be written in business letter style. Addressee, references, contact person, and your own contact details must be presented like a business letter.
  • Online cover letters: Online cover letters are restricted to a number of characters. Your cover letter will be cut down. Edit your cover letter as shown in the information section below, to get the best use of space.

Job application cover letter information

Your cover letter information has to prove you're a good match to the position. Your information must contain:

  • Keywords: A lot of job applications are screened by computers, using keywords as a preliminary screening method, and you must use those keywords in your cover letter. These keywords are always essential job criteria.
  • Motivation: You create a career context for your job application by showing that the job fits your career path. Show a direct connection between qualifications, career goals, and the job.
  • Additional career information: This information can get you the job all by itself. If you have special achievements, skills, and a good level of experience, your cover letter can provide supplementary information that your CV or resume can't.

Job application cover letter styles

  • Personal style: Cover letters are business letters, but they're written in the first person style. This is a formal style, and it's the professional standard for cover letters. You use expressions like, 'I'm strongly motivated to apply for this job because of the many opportunities for career advancement it offers.'
  • Text content and style: Short sentences, in the business style, are the best approach. Use the job's keywords, adding value to the information in your application. If the job criteria include experience in customer service, you state, 'My 20 years experience in customer service...' (This method is easy to edit, too, and helps you refine your letter).


  • Does your cover letter include all essential criteria?
  • Does it portray a good match to the job?
  • Are you a lot more confident about your application?

If you can answer yes to all of these, you can now send your application.