Cover Letter Spacing Done Right [Top Formatting Tips]

A Muslim woman smiling at her desk in front of a laptop with her colleague in the foreground

Overview

How Proper Cover Letter Spacing Leaves Space for Recruiters To Notice Your Application

Job hunting can be exhilarating—and tiresome. 

If you’re desperate and in a frantic hurry, it’s probably leaning towards the latter. Thinking about how much white space your cover letter should have is the last thing your exhausted brain wants to deal with.

A cover letter is necessary for the application process, and it’s an opportunity to show off your experience and competencies in a more personal way. 

Being negligent with your cover letter spacing is not disastrous but can affect your chances of landing that perfect job. Why? Recruiters don’t like reading one big block of text.

Your skills could be on-point, but forget to hit Enter once—and your cover letter is under the invisibility cloak. And it really shouldn’t be.

This component of your application is as important as your resume. You want your target company to know how awesome you are, right? To get there, your cover letter has to stand out—and proper spacing helps.

Why Is Cover Letter Spacing Important?

The way you use space between sentences and paragraphs in your cover letter determines whether a recruiter will be able to scan it. 

Companies receive a ton of applications for their job postings. A recruiter will not go into every cover letter in detail—they will skim it, looking for key skills and experiences. They are trying to figure out whether you’re the right fit for them (usually, in less than a minute).

You may be the right fit, but if your cover letter is a word-jungle, how will they find you?

The recruiter will have a hard time discerning the important bits—and may even give up and reject your application without reading it.

Should a Cover Letter Be Single- or Double-Spaced? 

This could be your first or hundredth time composing a cover letter, and you probably still have no idea how to answer the spacing question. 

Cover letters are formal documents, but not a “Here is your standardized stylebook for margins, spacing, and indentation” type of formal documents. Some job postings could include writing guidelines, but in most cases, it’s up to you.

Readability is still a thing, though. Stick to the following directions::

  • Keep your cover letter single-spaced—using double space will make your letter look outdated and simplistic
  • Hit Enter to divide your cover letter into easily scannable paragraphs:
    • Between addresses and dates in the heading
    • Between your heading and greeting
    • Between each paragraph
  • Leave at least three spaces between your complimentary closing and signature
A cropped shot of a man writing in his notebook with his laptop beside it on the table

Source: Ketut Subiyanto

Can Cover Letter Margins Help Your Text Breathe?

Yes—cover letter spacing and margins go hand in hand.

Margins on a cover letter should be 1 inch. This is pretty standard for any formal document. It will give your cover letter a clean look—which improves readability.

What should you do if you have more text and don’t want it spilling over onto the next page? Do you tighten the margins to 0.7 inches? No—if your text can’t fit on one page with these settings, it’s too long.

Still, if your cover letter is brief, you can expand the margins to 1.5 inches, so the document looks more even.

Should You Indent Paragraphs in a Cover Letter?

No, it isn’t necessary to indent the first lines in your cover letter. 

Your cover letter should be one page long, so this could inadvertently lead to text spilling over onto a second page. If you want to hit Tab to add aesthetic value—don’t. First-line indentation works best in books, not business documents.

Can Proper Alignment and Font Make Your Cover Letter More Readable?

If your cover letter is all over the place, no recruiter will read it. The line spacing in a cover letter is not the only factor in making the document skimmable.

The other crucial formatting elements are:

  1. Alignment
  2. Font
An elderly Black man sitting in a café and writing on a piece of paper in front of his laptop

Source: Ono Kosuki

Text Alignment—Right, Left, or Justified?

You should always align your text to the left. A reader’s eye is naturally drawn to the text on the left—use this scientific fact to your advantage.

Using justified paragraphs may seem appealing, but avoid it. It makes your text a bit more difficult to read.

Fonts—Creative or Standard?

Choosing the appropriate font is easy—stick to the ones that are ordinary-looking and easy to read. You should particularly avoid weird-looking Serif fonts. Cool as they may appear, readers will have a hard time deciphering the letters.

Below is an overview of the fonts you should and shouldn’t use:

UseDon’t Use
Arial
Times New Roman
Helvetica
Tahoma
Roboto
Impact
Lobster
Old English
BLOKK
Comic Sans

Your font size should be between 10 and 12 pt. Anything below ten will make a reader go blind before they finish reading your cover letter, and everything above 12 will make the text stick out in an unpleasant, aggressive way.

How Should You Structure Your Cover Letter for Maximum Effect?

Using a basic outline that works for any cover letter is an excellent way to not skip on an important part. You can fill out the contents according to the requirements of the position you’re applying for.

Most cover letters consist of the following parts:

PartDescription
HeaderYour contact details, such as your full name, email address, and phone number
IntroductionA short introductory phrase, such as To Whom It May Concern or Dear Sir or Madam, followed by a comma
Opening paragraphYour chance to capture a recruiter’s attention by stating how you found their ad and what makes you suitable for the role
Main paragraphYour skills and experience, as well as the value you’d bring to the company
Closing paragraphAn opportunity to express your eagerness to engage the company further and thank the recruiter for their time
Farewell and signatureA professional sign-off like Kind regards or Sincerely followed by a comma and your signature
A man wearing a turban is writing on his laptop while sitting at a desk in his apartment

Source: Ketut Subiyanto

Why Getting Hired Is Much Easier With Lensa in Your Corner

Making your letter readable by using spaces is great, but getting your application noticed in today’s job market is still hard. Statistics show that up to 20% of employers claim they receive too many job applications. The fact that an average job seeker needs to send at least six applications to different companies before they get invited to an interview testifies to the difficulties of getting a job.

The situation is by no means ideal, and job hunting is a constant struggle—especially if you’re after a job that thousands of other candidates are applying to. In such a situation, how can you increase your chances of getting a job that suits you? By subscribing to Lensa!

Lensa is an AI-powered application that compiles job ads from a variety of different hiring platforms. It’s a convenient way to find ads that interest you without visiting dozens of job boards manually.

Lensa’s AI-powered app can help you find job recommendations based on:

  1. Your education
  2. Your desired salary range
  3. Your preferred work style

This is just a start. Other benefits include:

  • Chance to play the Workstyle Game and find out more about your personality and professional characteristics
  • Customized job recommendations tailored to your preferences
  • SMS and email alerts about job openings in your vicinity

Subscribing to Lensa Is as Easy as ABC

To sign up for Lensa, follow these brief guidelines:

  1. Go to the Lensa website
  2. State your desired role and location, and press Search
  3. Enter your email address
  4. Press Submit

Once you complete these steps, you can play the Workstyle Game or immediately kick off your job search.

To build up your account further, you may also:

  • State what your preferred salary would be
  • Provide information about your education, abilities, and previous work experience
  • Enter your telephone number
  • Upload your resume

Doing all of the above will ensure that Lensa sends you job recommendations based on your education, professional strengths, and personal needs.

Featured image source: Pavel Danilyuk

Recommended posts