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 a way that makes it clear that you’re the best candidate for the job? Cover letter templates can help.
A cover letter template provides a "fill-in the-blank" format. You can use it to create your own letter to send with your resume when you apply for a job.
Using a template saves you a few steps and helps 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.
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.
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.
Be consistent in your application materials, whether it’s matching your cover letter to your resume or choosing a font or format. That way, hiring managers can focus on your work experience—not your stylistic choices.
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. You can also click on the "Resumes and Cover Letters" category to get more options. Review the available options and choose the design you like best.
Access Templates Online
If you don’t own a copy of Microsoft Office or a subscription to Microsoft 365, you can still access cover letter templates. 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
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.
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 in the first paragraph of your 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. Finally, 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 for which you’re applying.
Avoid version numbers and cutesy nicknames when choosing a file name for your resume.
Tips for Writing an Interview-Winning Cover Letter
- Send one. Even when an employer does not directly ask for one, be sure always to send a cover letter. The only time you don’t want to send one is when the job listing says not to.
- Review examples. Review cover letter examples and tips for how to write a cover letter, so yours makes the best impression.
- Customize each letter. It might seem tedious, be it is important to customize each cover letter to fit the specific job you are applying for. It will make your letter stand out.
- Highlight relevant qualifications. In your cover letter, address one or two skills or qualifications that you have that match the job description. Provide a specific example of a time you demonstrated each of these qualifications. These examples will make your cover letter different from your resume, which is important.
- Explain any potential issues. You can use your cover letter to go into detail about something in your resume that needs explaining. For example, a cover letter is a good place to talk about a career shift or explain an extended gap in employment.
- Carefully edit your letter. Be sure to edit each cover letter before sending it thoroughly. Consider asking a friend or family member, or a career counselor, to read over your cover letter.
More Templates for Resumes and Letters
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.
Additionally, 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.