Recruiters go through hundreds of resumes and cover letters each day. This means the key to getting hired is making it through their initial scanning methods. This scanning involves checking the basics, and one of the most basic parts of your cover letter is how you design it. The design you choose can help you stand out, direct the recruiter’s attention, and leave a lasting impression. What is there to consider when designing your cover letter? Keep on reading below to find out!
Why does design matter for a cover letter?
Much like with your resume design, it all comes down to impression. Recruiters are under severe pressure to sort through all of the applications that come across their desks as quickly as possible. This means it’s important to create an immediate impression. One of the best ways to create an impression on someone who is on auto-pilot is to cause disruption.
You want to catch the recruiter’s attention, give them something that makes them pause and hold your application for an extra second, something that holds their eye and centers them. “Hold on, this one looks good”. That’s what you’re going for. Design choices are an excellent way to accomplish this.
What needs to go into my cover letter design?
Optimise your header
If you’re including a cover letter on top of your resume, your header will be the first thing the recruiter looks at. Think about what information recruiters want from your resume header. They want to find your name, contact information, and spot anything that individualises your application.
This means your name should be the largest font of all text in your cover letter, and there should be clear sections dedicated to your contact information. You can personalise your header by introducing a color scheme and resume headline. Take a look at Marcellus’ header on his network engineer resume to see all of this in action.
Be sure to update any links you’re including in your cover letter as time goes on. While we all know to update the body of your cover letter and ensure it’s specialised to each position you’re applying for, you may forget to update your contact information and header. Ensure you’re including a professional email address and update your voicemail, too.
Think about your color scheme
As mentioned, the color you use in your cover letter can draw attention and convey personality. While I wouldn’t recommend using color in the main body of your cover letter, it can be used to accent essential sections. For example, your title can be included in color. The key number is three. One color for main headings, one color for your body (I’d recommend one shade lighter than your main headings), and an accent color to highlight the important stuff.
When Pavel was applying for a job with Booking.com, he matched his resume colors to Booking’s famous blue.
Beyond simply including a photo of yourself, including a photo of a personal logo can help a cover letter stand out. Not only does this allow you to use photographs to your advantage in states where personal photographs are prohibited, but it also professionality. This is especially true for freelancers. You can go on to include a personal photographs in your resume thereafter.
How does it look on paper?
Part of the design process is thinking about how your cover letter looks from beginning to finished product. This means checking how your design translates across different mediums. Are your colors as vibrant in print as they were in design? Is your font legible when printed out, can you read it without having to zoom in? You never know what format the recruiter will request your application to be sent in by, so you should ensure you’re putting your best foot forward every time.
Tip: Using different resume paper styles can add to the individuality of your application and cover letter!
Remember, your cover letter is the icing on the cake of your resume. They should complement one another. This doesn’t mean your cover letter should be designed in the exact same way as your resume, in fact, in most cases it shouldn’t be. But, they should lie in the same design family. One great feature of Enhancv’s resume builder is the ability to write your cover letter and choose from the same great template, color, and text styles. You can have a resume and cover letter that go hand-in-hand.
Our favorite cover letter designs
1. Default Cover Letter
The default cover letter design was our first, and we’ve never stopped loving it. It’s perfect for matching the Enhancv resume design you all know and love, and is functional for everything a cover letter should accomplish. With the bold typeface, simple sections, and sleek backgrounds, the default cover letter is perfect for every job from entry level all the way to executive.
2. Compact Cover Letter
Much like our compact resume template, the compact cover letter is direct and to-the-point. It can be used to give a quick introduction to the recruiter and further direct them to your resume where they can comb through the fine details. This type of cover letter is perfect for when you’ve already been referred to a job and have already introduced yourself, or when for seasonal work.
3. Modern Cover Letter
The modern cover letter is the perfect middle-point between the compact and default cover letters. Each section is downsized to provide more room for the body of your cover letter, while still leaving room for your personal photo or logo. This is perfect for applying to high-level senior roles where great detail of your prior accomplishments and desire to work for the organisation is needed.
Cover letter design is about nailing the basics
With your cover letter, it comes down to the basics. Make sure to provide enough space to the essential information you’re including by sectioning off your header where you can include your name and contact details. Stick to three simple colors to direct attention, detail, and highlight important elements. You should ensure to match your cover letter to your resume so the recruiter gets you in one cohesive package.
Using Enhancv, you can pick the background, template, font, colors, and more to personalise both your resume and cover letter in this fashion. No need to worry about margins and spacing, we’ve got that covered!