Dos and Don’ts of the Cover Letter Signature Section

Two Asian hiring managers looking at resumes

Overview

How a Professional Cover Letter Signature Can Signal the Turning Point in Your Career

Focusing on every aspect of a cover letter is important. While some seemingly irrelevant details probably won’t make or break your career, they can make getting an interview harder. And it’s difficult enough as it is. That’s why you need to get every part right. Even something that seems trivial—like your cover letter signature.

Pretty much any role requires attention to detail. Companies might avoid mentioning this requirement in their job ad—it makes them sound basic (this is also why they, thankfully, stopped using buzzwords like “hacker,” “rockstar,” and “superhero”). But it’s still implied.

Properly signing your cover letter is one way to show that you are that detail-oriented super-ninja hacker rockstar. You wouldn’t want your dream employer to think of you as anything less, would you?

This article will clear up the following questions:

  • Do you need to sign a cover letter?
  • How should a cover letter be signed?
  • Is an electronic cover letter signature any different from one written by hand?

Should You Sign Your Cover Letter at All?

Do I need to sign a cover letter

In general, companies prefer a signed cover letter since it assures them of the authenticity of your submission. An unsigned cover letter might make you appear sloppy, and in the worst-case scenario, cause the recruiters to think that it’s not genuinely yours.

Where does that come from? If, for example, you download a generic cover letter or pay someone to write it for you, they likely won’t sign it. Recruiters will use this lack of signature as one of the signs they’re reading someone else’s words.

It never hurts to add a signature. It shows you took that extra step and made sure you didn’t miss anything. This additional bit of finesse might be what makes your cover letter stand out from hundreds of other applications.

Do You Need To Sign a Hard Copy Cover Letter?

A company may ask you to submit your cover letter by mail or in person. This is rare, but it still happens.

If you’re submitting your document in one of these ways, you should leave a blank space at the bottom for your signature. The classic method is to sign cover letters with a ballpoint pen or a fountain pen.

Make sure that your signature is easily distinguishable. It’s a bad idea to write a garbled mess that looks more like a blotch than a handwritten signature.

Top-down view of an elderly female hiring manager sitting in a chair and reading a candidate’s portfolio

Source: Karolina Grabowska

Are You Required To Sign an Electronic Cover Letter?

An electronic signature is rarely a requirement when sending your cover letter via email. 

It’s fancy and looks nice, and the employer might appreciate the aesthetics. But if you don’t have one already prepared, you don’t have to bother.

People have been using email correspondence for a while now—they know what to expect.

Typing out your full name is sufficient—include it right beneath your formal closing phrase. For example:

Sincerely,

John Smith,

XXX-XXX-XXXX

johnsmith123@gmail.com

Is the Rest of Your Doc on the Same Level as Your Cover Letter Signature? 

Writing a good cover letter is still a prerequisite when you are applying to serious and professional companies. This means meticulously crafting every part of your document before and including the signature.

Employers want to know how you’ve used the skills included in your resume. It’s a useful document as it shows them whether you have any actual experience in the role you’re applying for—and if not, what other qualities make you a good fit.

The two most vital components you should pay attention to are:

  1. Structure
  2. Format

What’s the Best Way To Structure a Cover Letter?

To get to the cover letter signature, you first have to cover every other section:

SectionPurpose
HeadingEnter your contact details, including your first and last name, email address, and cell phone number
Introduction and opening paragraphGreet the recruiter with a formal phrase such as To Whom It May Concern or Dear Hiring Manager. You should then grab their attention with an informative sentence about why you want the role and why you think you’d be the best fit for the company
Main paragraphElaborate on your career accomplishments, hard and soft skills, as well as any professional details that a company could find valuable for the role
ConclusionWrap up your cover letter by summarizing the essentials and conclude with a closing phrase, such as Best regards or Respectfully. Add a comma and include your cover letter signature below this part

There’s no need to be super-original or inventive. You can use this basic outline for all your cover letters.

How Do You Properly Format a Cover Letter?

If you’ve formatted your cover letter in a poor fashion, it will be impossible to read. The recruiter might not even get to your signature. That’s why you should make sure that your document ticks all the boxes:

Format ElementFormatting Tip
Font type and sizeUse legible fonts, such as Times New Roman or Arial. As for size, it should be between 10 and 12 pt
IndentationDo not indent the first line of your cover letter. While it may seem appealing, this will make your text look uneven
MarginsThe margins should be one inch from both sides, as well as the top. You can increase or reduce them depending on the length of your cover letter
Alignment and spacingAlways use left alignment. Press Enter between paragraphs. You may also do it twice between the last paragraph and your conclusory note (farewell phrase and signature)

You should avoid including certain elements in your cover letter as they make your document unreadable by an applicant tracking system (ATS). This is a program larger companies use to speed up their recruitment process and weed out unsuitable candidates. Make sure not to include:

  1. Text boxes
  2. Images
  3. Colored text
  4. Graphs and charts
A hiring manager and a candidate discussing the candidate's resume during an interview

Source: RODNAE Productions

Check Out What Lensa Can Do To Make Your Job Hunt Easier!

No matter whether you’re writing your cover letter as a veteran or as someone who’s just starting off their career, the signature at the end will demonstrate your professionalism to potential future employers. 

Though cover letters themselves might seem like a matter of form, 26% of employers state that they still impact their decision on who to hire—and over 50% report that they expect candidates to submit them even when they’re technically optional.

More than 60% of job seekers are looking for employment by applying to ads posted on hiring websites. The online competition is huge, and getting hired is anything but easy. But it doesn’t have to be painfully difficult either—if you sign up for Lensa!

Lensa is an AI-powered app that helps you search for that ideal workplace by compiling job ads from numerous job boards onto a single platform.

Other benefits include:

  • Option to filter out remote positions
  • Opportunity to try out the Workstyle Game and learn a bit about your soft skills
  • Job recommendations tailored exclusively to your personality, qualifications, and preferences
  • Assessment of your resume’s ATS-friendliness
A hiring manager and a candidate having a relaxed interview by the window

Source: Christina Morillo

Registering for Lensa Will Only Take a Few Minutes

You can make your job search more efficient by taking these easy-to-follow steps:

  1. Go to the Lensa website
  2. Write your desired job title and click on Search
  3. Enter your email address
  4. Select the Submit option

Once you do this, you can begin browsing the website for job ads. You can also play the Workstyle Game to learn something about your professional strengths and weaknesses.

To flesh out your account, you could also:

  • Specify your desired salary range
  • State your level of education
  • Enter information about your prior work experiences
  • Upload your resume

The more information you provide, the better and more precise job recommendations you will get!

Source: Felicity Tai

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