Yes, every cover letter needs an address block, a date, a greeting, a message, a closing line, and a signature. But did you know that when you construct your actual message, you might want to consider the layout for that as well?
The one thing a cover letter must never be is boring or tedious. You want to keep it to one page (unless you're really awesome) and you want to have plenty of spaces so that it doesn't look cluttered. Fortunately, there are actually three ways to do that, and they can make a big difference when trying to catch a recruiter's eye.
A paragraph-style cover letter is the traditional structure to use. Keep your paragraphs on the short-to-medium side. Each paragraph should be absolutely no more than eight lines, but six would be better. If you start getting longer than that per paragraph, the eye will get tired and skip over important information.
Try to have a space between paragraphs so that the page is broken up a little.
Bullet Points Style
Use bullet points within a paragraph style to really highlight aspects of your experience, skills, or personality. You might introduce yourself and then put the salient points into bullets like this:
A comparison style list is for targeted cover letters where you meet all the requirements. It allows you to compare the job posting's requirements or preferences with your own qualifications. This can help employers see exactly how well you match up with what they're looking for.
|Their Requirements||Your Qualifications|
|Use their exact wording||Then discuss how you fit the bill|
|List the requirements first||Put your most attractive qualities first|
|Then list the preferences||Any other skills that match up go here|
Index of Cover Letter Examples