1. How to Format a UK Cover Letter in 2024 (+ Example)

How to Format a UK Cover Letter in 2024 (+ Example)

LiveCareer UK Editorial Team
Update:

Our customers were hired by:

The cover letter functions as your initial handshake with potential employers. If you want to make a good impression, you must first set up the proper cover letter format. If you don't, it can potentially hinder your application.

There is a tried-and-tested formula for formatting your cover letter. Soon, you’ll learn all about it, including the order of sections, advice on fonts, margins, spacing, and length.

In this guide, you'll find the answer on how to format a cover letter the right way, a cover letter format example to copy and use for your own, plus, a business letter layout for the UK.

Use the LiveCareer cover letter builder and your cover letter will write itself. Choose a professional template, answer a few easy questions and the creator will generate a professional cover letter for you with just one click.

Create your cover letter now

Create your cover Letter nowcover letter format example

Want to read more cover letter guides? Or maybe you need to write a different kind of letter? See:

How to format a cover letter: example

Michael Martin

3 Cambridge Road

North Coker

BA22 8AN

michael@martin.com

Greta Smith

Headteacher

Violet Primary School

12 Paramount Road

North Coker

BA22 8 AN

May 19, 2021

Dear Greta,

I am writing to express my interest in the Primary School Teacher position at Violet Primary School. I have over 4 years of experience working with children aged 5–11 and am confident in my ability to contribute positively, just as I did at Tulip Grove Primary. There, I led a mathematics enrichment initiative, resulting in a 15% improvement in Year 5 student math scores on standardized assessments.

I earned my degree in Primary Education from Keele University in 2015, complemented by a brief internship at the Department of Education. During my tenure at Tulip Grove, I taught 95 KS1 and KS2 pupils in dynamic groups of 12 to 24. Embracing a modern approach, we minimized textbook reliance and incorporated engaging solutions using available technology. Notably, I successfully secured a £15,000 grant from the government to acquire tablets and teaching aids, resulting in a 20% improvement in student scores compared to other classes. By integrating multimedia tools, we fostered increased student engagement, transforming learning into an enjoyable experience akin to play, thereby reducing disruptions by 35%.

My experience, coupled with my ability to cultivate positive relationships with students, aligns seamlessly with Violet Primary School's ethos of embracing innovative teaching methods. I am eager to contribute my knowledge to your team while remaining open to continuous learning and hard work.

I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to discuss how interactive methods effectively reduced disruptions at Tulip Grove and to explore possibilities for implementing similar strategies at Violet Primary. Could we schedule a convenient time to delve further into this conversation?

Sincerely,

Michael Martin

Now, let’s discuss all the ins and outs of cover letter formatting.

What's the proper cover letter format in the UK?

proper UK cover letter formatting

The proper cover letter format in the UK includes the following key elements:

  • The header with your name, address, phone number, email, current date, and the recipient's name, job title, company name, and address.
  • Greeting and introductory paragraph featuring a brief introduction.
  • Body paragraphs highlighting your relevant skills, experiences, and achievements.
  • Closing paragraph with a CTA used to summarize your key points, express your enthusiasm for the position, and indicate your desire for an interview.

Here is how to set it up:

How to format a cover letter?

Formatting a cover letter means following a certain proven structure. First, let’s discuss the general cover letter layout rules:

  • Limit the length of your cover letter to no more than one A4 page. A short cover letter of about half a page is enough to make an effective and impactful introduction.
  • Set the margins to one inch on all sides.
  • Right-align your contact info, but left-align everything else.
  • Use a font that matches the font on your CV.
  • Adjust the spacing to 1–1,5. Separate the paragraphs with a double space.
  • Save your cover letter as a PDF unless noted otherwise. PDF file types protect your cover letter format.

Here are the steps to structure each part of your cover letter the right way:

1. Start your business letter with a professional header

The cover letter header carries your personal information. In it, include a physical address, phone number, email, and any LinkedIn/website/portfolio links that you think will help your application. This is the only part that should be right-aligned.

Next, address the cover letter to the recipient. Write down their name, job title, and company address. Then, drop a space, write the current date, add another blank line, and add a greeting.

Cover letter format example: header

Michael Martin

3 Cambridge Road

North Coker

BA22 8AN

michael@martin.com

Greta Smith

Headteacher

Violet Primary School

12 Paramount Road

North Coker

BA22 8 AN

May 19, 2021

2. Use the proper salutation in your cover letter

Addressing the recruiter by name is a simple yet effective personalization technique. Marketing research shows that 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences. This trick also works for job searching since the recruiter will see that you took your time to write a custom-made letter of application instead of copy-pasting a generic cover letter.

Use a simple “Dear [Hiring Person's name or surname]” for best effect. Avoid “Dear Sir/Madam,” and definitely do not write “To Whom It May Concern.”

You can adjust every cover letter created in the builder to meet the job requirements. Choose the name of your profession and the company to which you’re applying, and the LiveCareer cover letter builder will automatically adapt the content for you. Create a cover letter faster than you ever thought possible and apply for the job in record time.

Create your cover letter nowcover letter builder

3. Introduce yourself in the first paragraph of your cover letter

The first paragraph should span about 40–80 words. Start the cover letter by outlining your years of experience and the field of expertise. Back that up with your most impressive achievement that is relevant to the employer's needs or requirements. Use a tone of voice that expresses genuine excitement for the position.

Cover letter format example: opening

I am writing to express my interest in the Primary School Teacher position at Violet Primary School. I have over 4 years of experience working with children aged 5-11 and am confident in my ability to contribute positively, just as I did at Tulip Grove Primary. There, I led a mathematics enrichment initiative, resulting in a 15% improvement in Year 5 student math scores on standardized assessments.

4. Show achievements in the main body of your UK letter

This will be the longest part of your cover letter. In it, you should outline 2–3 most relevant work achievements you have that refer to what the employer requested in the ad. Make sure you quantify them if possible. Remember that it’s a vital part of creating accomplishment statements. If you want, you can show your achievements in a bullet point format, or incorporate them naturally into your second paragraph.

The best length for the main body of a cover letter is about 100–200 words.

Cover letter format example: main paragraph

I earned my degree in Primary Education from Keele University in 2015, complemented by a brief internship at the Department of Education. During my tenure at Tulip Grove, I taught 95 KS1 and KS2 pupils in dynamic groups of 12 to 24. Embracing a modern approach, we minimized textbook reliance and incorporated engaging solutions using available technology. Notably, I successfully secured a £15,000 grant from the government to acquire tablets and teaching aids, resulting in a 20% improvement in student scores compared to other classes. By integrating multimedia tools, we fostered increased student engagement, transforming learning into an enjoyable experience akin to play, thereby reducing disruptions by 35%.

5. Add sign off and add a call to action to your cover letter

To end your cover letter on a high note, reiterate your enthusiasm for the position and express your eagerness to discuss further how your skills, experiences, and values align with the needs, mission, and vision of the company. This is known as a “culture fit.”

Finally, invite the employer to contact you for an interview, reinforcing your readiness to discuss how your unique qualifications make you a valuable asset to their organization. Finish with a “Sincerely, [your name].

Cover letter format example: closing paragraph

My experience, coupled with my ability to cultivate positive relationships with students, aligns seamlessly with Violet Primary School's ethos of embracing innovative teaching methods. I am eager to contribute my knowledge to your team while remaining open to continuous learning and hard work.

I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to discuss how interactive methods effectively reduced disruptions at Tulip Grove and to explore possibilities for implementing similar strategies at Violet Primary. Could we schedule a convenient time to delve further into this conversation?

Sincerely,

Michael Martin

You don’t have to create any content yourself. The LiveCareer cover letter generator will automatically suggest the best content for your cover letter with ready-made examples and expert tips.

Create your cover letter nowcover letter builder

How to format an e-mail cover letter

Many cover letters these days will be sent and received by email. This requires you to make a few adjustments before sending it off. First, you have to make a choice: whether to attach your cover letter as a PDF or whether you want to paste it into the email body.

If you choose the attachment—you risk them never opening it. If something distracts them when they open your email, they may never return to it. But if you paste your cover letter in the body, they are "forced” to read your cover letter upon opening the email. However, here’s the thing: people skim emails. You'll have to work a little harder to capture and hold their attention.

Here are some more email cover letter format tips for both situations:

  • If you choose the email body, do not paste the header, date, etc. Start from "Dear…" 
  • If you send an attachment, save it as a *.PDF unless specified otherwise. This is best for protecting your cover letter format. 
  • Name the attachment with your surname, something like: "Smith_coverletter." That will allow them to pull it up in the future easily.
  • If you attach, drop a line like "Please find my CV and cover letter attached." Remember, people skim.
  • The subject of your email should be "[Position Title] Application". If there’s a job number in the ad, include it in brackets.

How to format a cover letter with no experience

Formatting a cover letter when you have no experience follows similar principles to a standard cover letter, focusing on highlighting transferable skills, education, and enthusiasm. Since you’re unlikely to have many (if any) quantifiable achievements, put emphasis on education, relevant coursework, and any extracurricular activities or projects. On top of that, intersperse key skills throughout your cover letter.

Other than that, all the standard cover letter tips still apply. Aim for one page at most, use a clean font, make a targeted cover letter, and properly structure each part.

A cover letter alone simply won’t be enough—you need an impactful CV, too. Create your CV in minutes. Just follow our wizard and fill in every CV section with ready-made content. Get started by choosing a professional CV template.

Create your CV nowcv builder

And that’s the answer to how to format a cover letter. Do you have any more questions on the UK cover letter format? Any tips for making a successful cover letter format for a job application? Let us know in the comments below!

How we review the content at LiveCareer

Our editorial team has reviewed this article for compliance with Livecareer’s editorial guidelines. It’s to ensure that our expert advice and recommendations are consistent across all our career guides and align with current CV and cover letter writing standards and trends. We’re trusted by over 10 million job seekers, supporting them on their way to finding their dream job. Each article is preceded by research and scrutiny to ensure our content responds to current market trends and demand.

About the author

LiveCareer UK Editorial Team
LiveCareer UK Editorial Team

Since 2013, the LiveCareer UK team has shared the best advice to help you advance your career. Experts from our UK editorial team have written more than one hundred guides on how to write the perfect CV or cover letter.

Follow us

Rate this article:

Cover letter format

Average:

Thanks for rating!
4.93  (15 Rating)

Looking for a job-winning CV?

Try our cv builder for free
CV examples made in our CV builder

Similar articles

Our customers were hired by: