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Free Cover Letter Templates for Microsoft Word

A good cover letter can mean the difference between catching the hiring manager’s attention and languishing in job search limbo. But many job seekers find it hard to stare down that blank page. How do you summarize your most important qualifications in way that makes it clear that you’re the best candidate for the job?

Cover letter templates can help. A template will give you a "fill in the blank" format you can use to create your own letter to send with your resume when you apply for a job.

It will save you a few steps and help you structure your letter in a professional way.

Free Microsoft cover letter templates are available online from Microsoft Office Online, as a download for Microsoft Word users, or are available within your Word program, to use to create cover letters for jobs. Note that not all templates may work with all versions of Word, so check before you download. There will be a message next to the download button advising if there are restrictions.

Not a Microsoft user? Google Docs also has free template samples available for letters and resumes. Using any of these templates can help you to feel confident that you are properly writing and formatting your cover letter.

Free Microsoft Word Cover Letter Templates

There are a variety of templates available for Microsoft Word. Template options include general cover letters and both job- and career-specific cover letter samples.

For example, there are cover letter templates for professionals, temporary workers, and candidates who are sending in their resumes unsolicited.

Microsoft Word also offers a variety of different cover letter template designs, with resume templates to match. Note that if you choose one of these fancier template designs, you’ll want to choose a resume template to match.

It’s important to be consistent in your application materials, whether it’s matching your cover letter to your resume or choosing a font or format. Ideally, your experience should stand out to the hiring manager, not your stylistic choices.

To Access Cover Letters From Your Computer:

Open Microsoft Word, then click on:

Then, search for online templates by typing your keywords (e.g., “cover letter”) in the field provided.

How to Access the Microsoft Cover Letter Templates

If you don’t own a copy of Microsoft Office or a subscription to Microsoft 365, you can still access cover letter templates via Microsoft Office Online.  These templates are free and editable online.

Visit the Microsoft Cover Letter Templates website, browse the cover letter templates, then click on the title to preview the sample. You'll need to sign up for a free account to edit the document.

Once you find a template you like, click Edit In Browser, then follow the instructions to customize and save your cover letter.

There are also sets, which include matching resumes and cover letters, available to use.

Use the Template to Create a Customized Cover Letter

Once you have downloaded or opened a cover letter template file, type over the text in the file to create your own, personalized cover letter.

The template will include all the relevant information that you need to include in your document. Simply change the generic version to include your personal and professional information.

It's a good idea to include additional details about your qualifications and experience. Take the time to match your qualifications to the job description. Include keywords related to your skills and achievements.

To customize your cover letter further, look for a contact person at the company, ideally the hiring manager or HR contact, and address the letter to this person. If you have an employee contact at the company who is willing to refer you, be sure to mention them as soon as possible in the cover letter. Employee referrals carry a lot of weight with hiring managers.

Double-check to make sure there is none of the template information left in your final saved version.

Carefully proofread for grammar and typographical errors before saving and sending your cover letter.

To avoid sending a blank template or the wrong version of your cover letter, choose a file name that’s easy to remember. It should always include your name, and may also contain the name of the position to which you’re applying. Avoid version numbers and cutesy nicknames.

More Templates for Resumes and Letters

More Microsoft Letter Templates
Microsoft letter templates are available as a free download for Microsoft Word users or are available within your Word program, to use to create a variety of letters. There are letter templates for cover letters, resignation letters, reference letters, thank you letters, interview letters, and a variety of business letters.

Microsoft Word Resume Templates
Microsoft resume templates are available as a free download for Microsoft Word users to use to create a resume. Microsoft Word resume options include basic resumes, job-specific resumes, and career-specific resumes.

How to Write a Personalized Cover Letter

Create Your Own Cover Letter Template

I've heard from more than a few hiring managers who wonder if cover letter writing is a lost art. One of them told me that he has received a lot of cover letters that are shorter than tweets including a cover letter that just said "Have a nice day." and another that said, "Please view my resume."

Cover letter writing is not supposed to be a lost art. Employers still expect them. Hiring managers at the companies surveyed by Saddleback College which require cover letters (53%) want more than just a basic cover letter.

What Employers Expect in a Cover Letter

According to the companies surveyed, here's what they expect to see in cover letters: 

As you can see, employers expect personalized cover letters that show them why you are a strong fit for the position and a valuable candidate worth taking the time to interview. 

That said, in defense of applicants who are sending cover letters as though they were 140 character tweets, it can be hard to justify taking the time to write a customized cover letter, especially when you don't hear back from employers after sending out, in some cases, hundreds of cover letters and resumes.

It's tough when you put effort into applying - over and over again - and your applications get lost in the "black hole" of the Internet. The bottom line though is that if an employer requests a cover letter, you need to send one - a real cover letter, not a sentence or two.

It's in your best interest to send one, even if it's not a requirement.

How to Write a Personalized Cover Letter

Start with a template: One way to make cover letter writing a little easier is to start with a cover letter template. Then, customize it to include some basic information about your skills and experience.

Save your cover letter as a Word document with a file name that's easy to recognize i.e. coverlettertemplate.doc.

Each time you apply for a job, open your cover letter template document and create a new version of your cover letter. Personalize what is now your cover letter template to fit the job requirements of the positions you apply to. Here's what you'll need to personalize and update on the cover letter template: 

Contact information: Edit the contact information section to include the information for the new employer. Edit the salutation with the new hiring manager's name, if you have it. 

The specific job: Edit the first paragraph of your letter to reflect the job you're applying to and where you found the posting. In the first paragraph of the cover letter, you can also share - briefly - why you're passionate about the position and would be a good fit. For example, "With my X years of experience in [industry] and passion for [xyz core job functions/skills], I believe I'm a strong candidate for this position." 

If you were referred to the position or know someone within the company, the first paragraph is the perfect place to mention the connection. (Note: Always confirm with your connection before dropping their name.) 

Your skills and experience: Personalize the body of the cover letter and relate your skills to the job description. Most likely, this will be the most challenging part of the process. It's also the most important portion of the cover letter. This is where you'll make the case for your candidacy. On your resume, you've listed out your skills and experience. Now, in your cover letter, you want to go deeper, and show why your particular mix of skills and experience would allow you to be the ideal employee. 

You won't need to adjust your final paragraph, closing, and signature. These can remain the same. 

Be sure to save your cover letter with a new file name (File Save As) so you have a copy of each cover letter you send to employers. Here's advice on how to name cover letters and resumes. 

Tweaking is easier than starting from scratch.

With the template in place, it won't take long to write a tailored cover letter. You'll be sure to make a much better impression with your personalized cover letter than if you simply write, "Here is my resume."

More guidelines and resources to help you get started writing a strong cover letter: Top 10 Cover Letter Writing Tips | What to Include in a Cover Letter | Cover Letter Writing Guide

Review Cover Letter Samples

If you're not sure what to write, review cover letter samples to get ideas for writing cover letters that make the best impression. Here are email cover letter samples as well. 

Proofread Your Letters

Before you send off your cover letter, make sure to proofread it carefully. A typo or grammatical error can cost you an interview. Here are proofreading tips for job seekers.

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