A Guide on How to Create a Cover Letter Template in Word

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 19 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A cover letter is an employment document you submit alongside a resume and portfolio, depending on the job you're applying for. If you use a template for your cover letter, it can allow you to alter the document quickly and efficiently. By reviewing the steps in creating a cover letter template in Microsoft Word, you can easily create your own template specific to your industry and career. In this article, we define a cover letter template, discuss how to create a cover letter template in word, detail why they're important, list types of templates and provide tips for creating your own template.

What's a cover letter template?

A cover letter template is essentially the framework of your cover letter. It outlines the type of content you can write and the location of that content relative to the cover letter. For example, a cover letter template may likely show you the type of contact details to include and where you can include them on the page.

If you're using Word to develop your cover letter template, you usually have an extensive selection of templates that might be ideal for different careers and industries. For example, if you're applying for an acting role, there may be a cover letter template showing you where to include a headshot and a description of your physical features. There's typically a template for most employment circumstances, but you may also edit the templates to ensure all cover letter sections conform to your job application.

Related: Cover Letter Examples for Job Applications (With Tips)

How to create a cover letter template in Word

Before reviewing how to create a cover letter template in Word, it's important to understand that some steps might not apply to your version of Word. Depending on the version of Word you utilise, you may create templates using a slightly unique process. Regardless of your Word version, it's typically a similar process that can be easy to identify and understand. Below, you can explore a step-by-step guide to creating a cover letter template in Word:

1. Open Microsoft Word

You can usually access Word through two methods. If you own Word, you may open it by double-clicking the Word icon. If you don't own Word, you may access the software through your internet browser. This is sometimes a free version, so there are some limitations, but you can easily create an abundance of cover letter templates using the free version. The limitations of the free version might involve limited storage space and design functionality.

2. Create a new document

After you open Word, you can navigate to the top left of the window. There, you can find the 'file' tab. Click on this tab and a column of options appears. If you click on the 'New' option, it opens a window of available document templates. There's usually a search bar at the top of the window where you can type 'cover letter' or 'cover letter template'. Hit the enter key or click on the magnifying glass icon to search for cover letter templates. This usually displays a variety of templates for different cover letter styles.

3. Choose an appropriate template

After navigating to the cover letter templates, you can review and choose a template that suits your employment circumstance. There are usually many templates you can choose from, even if you're using the free version of Word. It can be a good idea to research your industry and analyse the job requirements for the vacant role before choosing a template. By identifying this information, you can determine a template that suits the employment requirements and is appropriate for the relevant industry. If you click on the template, it automatically adds it to your document, where you can begin writing.

4. Download additional templates

If you can't find a template that suits your needs, you can usually download a template from several online sources. You can typically find many free templates and some that might incur a cost. When choosing a template to download, you might find a template specific to your role. For example, Word may provide a general template for experienced finance professionals, but you might find a template available for download that's specific to the role of an accountant. Once you download a template for Word, you can open the downloaded document and begin adding content.

Related: Free Cover Letter Templates

5. Customise the template if necessary

You can usually edit most aspects of a cover letter template in Word. If you find a template that suits your employment circumstance but requires minor alterations, you can apply the edits yourself. For example, you might choose a cover letter template that includes a section for licences and certifications. If you don't possess these credentials, you can remove or replace the section with more relevant content. You can also open multiple templates and copy and paste sections from each document to form your own template specific to your needs.

Related: How to Write a Cover Letter With No Experience in 8 Steps

6. Include your content

Once you've developed your cover letter template, you can begin adding content. You can add generic content to your cover letter template that allows you to replace specific information for each hiring organisation. For example, if you're applying to multiple accounting positions, your introduction paragraph might remain the same, except for specific information such as the organisation's name, contact details and the hiring manager's name. It can be important to relate your cover letter to the hiring organisation. There might be more content that requires alteration, but if you're using a template, you can alter the document easily.

Why is a cover letter template important?

A cover letter template is important because it allows you to alter cover letters to relate to specific hiring organisations. It can also save you an abundance of time by removing the need to include borders, background graphics, profile pictures and contact details, as the template already includes them. A cover letter template can also help you address the relevant employment requirements. This is because a template usually outlines the content to include such as qualifications, work experience and interpersonal qualities.

Submitting a cover letter with no mistakes or missing content can be an excellent method of displaying your professionalism to hiring organisations. If you utilise a cover letter template, you can benefit from a formulaic approach. This means you write all of your cover letters using the same formatting and style. This can be a good way to reduce mistakes and ensure the professionalism of your cover letter.

Related: Samples of the Best Cover Letters (With Writing Tips)

Types of cover letter templates in Word

Below, you can explore a list of some of the most popular cover letter templates in Word:

  • simple cover letter

  • modern chronological cover letter

  • basic modern cover letter

  • sticky note cover letter

  • contemporary photo cover letter

  • photo cover letter

  • minimalist cover letter

  • columns cover letter

  • cover letter (professional)

  • cover letter for functional resume

  • cover letter for entry-level resume

  • resume cover letter when referred

  • resume cover letter for unsolicited resume

  • resume and cover letter (chronological)

  • cover letter in response to ad

  • cover letter enclosing employment and salary history

  • resume cover letter for a temporary position

4 tips to consider when creating a word cover letter template

Below, you can explore four tips for creating a word cover letter template:

1. Research your industry

Before choosing a template, it can be a good idea to research your industry and identify typical employment processes. Depending on how organisations hire candidates, their recruitment methods can influence the style of your cover letter template. For example, if you're applying for an acting position, organisations typically prefer applications with a picture and description of physical attributes, so your cover letter template may include a headshot.

2. Consider an ATS friendly template

Some organisations utilise an applicant tracking system (ATS) that scans and processes job applications. These systems usually help large corporations process an abundance of job applications in a relatively short period. If you research the hiring organisation, you might discover if they utilise an ATS. If they do, it can be a good idea to ensure your cover letter template includes simple formatting. This is because some ATS platforms may struggle when processing complex documents, such as a cover letter with extensive graphic design and typography variations.

Related: How to Format a Cover Letter (With Tips and Examples)

3. Match your resume with your cover letter

If you're submitting a resume along with your cover letter, it can be an excellent idea to ensure they both utilise a similar style. If they use different styles, it might distract the hiring manager and impact the professionalism of your job application. For example, if your resume has a simple format with no graphic design, but your cover letter incorporates coloured borders and graphics, it may seem unprofessional.

4. Determine the version of Word you're using

If you're using an old version of Word, you might not have access to an abundance of cover letter templates. Hiring managers may also have difficulties accessing your document, depending on their operating system. It can be a good idea to ensure you're using a current version of Word or the free online version, as that usually receives constant updates.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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