Block format is the most common format for a professional business letter. It’s the easiest format to use and simplest to set up in your word processing program. The block format is perfect for a cover letter created to accompany a resume as part of a job application. Keep reading to learn more about block format cover letters and review examples and templates.
What is Block Format?
In block format, everything including your contact information, the date, the employer’s contact information, the body of the letter, and the greeting and closing, is all left-justified. It gives a clean and professional look to your letter.
In block format, the letter is single-spaced, with the exception of a space between each paragraph (as well as a space above and below the date, and above and below the salutation and signature).
How to Use a Letter Template
A letter template is a great starting point for your own cover letter. You can use a template to decide the best way to format your letter so that it looks polished and professional. You can also use a template to decide what information to put in each paragraph of your letter.
However, a template is only a jumping-off point. You can, and should, make any changes to the template that you want. Remove anything from the template to fit your personal circumstances. For example, if you don’t know the name of the recipient, you do not have to include a salutation.
You can also change the style and format of the cover letter template. For example, if the letter is in Arial font, and you want your letter to be in Times New Roman, just change the font.
Make sure that your letter includes information specific to you and is organized in a way that highlights your skills and qualifications. Finally, be sure to proofread your letter before submitting it thoroughly.
Block Format Cover Letter Template
Block Format Cover Letter Template
Your City, State Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Name (If you don't have contact information for the employer, start your letter directly after your contact information)
City, State Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name (or other salutation):
First Paragraph: Why You Are Writing. Remember to include the name of a mutual contact, if you know someone at the organization. Mention the job you are interested in and where you heard about the position. State that you think you’re an ideal candidate for the job. Be clear and concise.
Middle Paragraphs: What You Have to Offer. Convince the reader that he or she should grant the interview or appointment you requested in the first paragraph. Make connections between your abilities and their organization’s needs. Use specific examples from past work experiences to prove your skills and qualifications.
Final Paragraph: How You Will Follow Up. It is your responsibility to follow up if feasible. State that you will do so and provide the professional courtesy of indicating when (one week's time is typical).
Your Signature (hard copy letter)
Your Typed Name
Modified Block Format
In addition to regular block format, there are similar, but somewhat different options you can also use for resume cover letters, such as modified block and semi-block format. With the modified block format, your name, address, and the date are on the top right, and the closing and your signature are on the bottom right. The employer's contact information (and the remainder of the letter) is left justified.
To get the information such as your name, address, date, closing, and signature on the right side of the page, begin writing at the center of the page. It’s a slightly more informal format for a letter and is a format you can use with someone with whom you are at least somewhat familiar.
A third option is a semi-block format. Like the modified block format, your name, contact information, and the date are on the top right, and the sign-off and signature are also on the right. However, there is also an indentation at the start of each paragraph. It’s the most informal letter format.
One Additional Alternative
If you are submitting a traditional resume on bond paper to an employer, you can enhance your presentation by using the same header (with your contact information) that you’ve used for your resume – even if this header is centered on the page (which many are). Simply copy-and-paste the header to your new cover document, then use the block format (left-justified) for the rest of your letter.
Make sure that you use the same font for your cover letter as you’ve used for your resume. This should be a conservative, easily readable font such as Times New Roman, Arial, Courier, or Verdana.
This presentation style works well if you are delivering your cover letter and resume through snail mail, in person, or as Word documents attached to an email.
How to Send an Email Cover Letter
Applying for a job by way of email means you’ll also send your cover letter via email. Be sure to list your name and the job title in the subject line of the email message. Include your contact information in your email signature, and don't list the employer contact information.
More Cover Letter Examples
Review sample cover letters for a variety of scenarios including a follow-up letter, inquiry letters, job/industry-specific sample cover letters, cold contact, and referral letter samples.