Microsoft Office/Cover Letter



• Cover Letter • Letter head • Tab stop • Tab character • Clear Formatting • Quick Style • Date line • Inside address • Non-breaking space • Building Block • Table • Cell • Dimension of table

What is a Cover Letter


A COVER LETTER is an introduction to your prospective employer on who you are. Is allows you to point out the positive points from your resume that make you the best candidate for the job. It is also a sample of your writing skills that show an employer how well you communicate.

In this lesson we will construct a Cover Letter. The goal of a cover letter is to get the prospective employer to read your resume. In today's world, getting your name to the top of the list so that you can get an interview is of vital importance. You need a cover letter that fits what is acceptable business practice, but also shows a bit of your personality. Throughout this lesson you will learn how to better use Word and create a document you will be able to edit and re-use for the remander of your life.

Turn on the format markings by clicking on the backwards P - ¶

Quick Styles


A QUICK STYLE allows you to click on one button and change multiple font settings and formattings. Quick styles are located in the HOME tab in the Styles Gallery. The most used quick styles are NORMAL and NO SPACES. The ones for HEADING 1, HEADING 2, and so forth are great for being able to make a table of contents later. The factory default in Word is to be set to NORMAL. This will have a 1.15 space after each paragraph (when you press enter).

There are a number of quick style buttons located in the ribbon of the HOME tab. For a cover letter you need to have the style set to No Space so that when you press enter it goes to the next line and does not create a 1.15 space.

Theme Colors


Using theme colors helps to automatically use colors that are complementary. From the HOME tab click on the change styles button. Click on COLORS to choose a set of colors that matches your personality.

RED – danger, power, energy

ORANGE – success, victory, creativity

YELLOW – happiness, hope, intelligence

GREEN – growth, health, healing, money, tranquility

BLUE – integrity, trust, confidence

PURPLE – wealth, royalty, magic, spiritual

BROWN – honest, simple, down-to-earth

GRAY – neutrality

WHITE – pure, clean, perfection

BLACK – authority, strength, elegance

Setting a tab stop


A TAB STOP is a position across your page that your cursor stops at when you press the TAB key.

With your cursor (a blinking I beam) at the beginning of the document click on the paragraph dialog box launcher. Click on the TAB button at the bottom left of the dialog window. Type in the place you want the cursor to jump to when you press TAB. Click the radio button for the correct alignment that the text should do at that tab stop. Set if there should be any leaders (for this document we will not have leaders, and they will be discussed in a later lesson). Click SET to accept the tab stop and then click OK.

You can also set a tab stop by clicking in the ruler at the top of the page. A left tab stop will be created. You can then double click on the tab stop and format it as needed.

When you press tab and you have the formatting marks turned on, a tab will show up with the TAB CHARACTER of → When you set a tab stop a character will show up in the ruller that looks like: a L for a left tab stop - the text will be typed to the right of the tab stop a backwards L for a right tab stop - the text will be typed to the left of the tab stop an upside down T for a center tab stop - the text will be centered on the tab stop

Formatting a Clip Art


Click on the INSERT tab. Click on the Clip Art button Type in a key word that represents you or the occupation you are applying for. Choose a clip art from the list of graphics that comes up. Open the Picture Tools Click on the Size Dialog Box Launcher Make sure the check box for LOCK ASPECT RATIO is checked. Change the height to meet your requirements.

Character size, style, and color


Highlight the characters you want to format. Click on the FONT SIZE drop down menu. Choose a font size. With the characters highlighted click the drop down menu for font style. When you mouse is hovering over a font style, the characters in your document will reflect the change. To make the change permanent click on the font style.

To change the color, click the A that is underlined with the color bar. When you click on the drop down, only those colors that are associated with the theme you have selected are displayed. When you mouse is hovering over a color the document will reflect the change. When you are satisfied with the color click on it.

Building Block


A BUILDING BLOCK is a few words to a complete paragraph that can be entered into a document by typing just a few characters. In our letter example here we will build a building block for the company's name, Brown and Company Inc..

When you are entering the company name for the first time in the inside address stop and create the building block.

Highlight the company name, but not the paragraph mark. Go to the Insert tab. Click on the Quick Parts button. From the Quick Parts menu click on SAVE SELECTION TO QUICK PART GALLERY. The Create New Building Block dialog box will show up. Type "bci" in the NAME field. Click on OK.

When you want to insert the company name again just type "bci" and then press F3.

Non-breaking Spaces


Sometimes you will want a group of words to act more like one word with respects to word wrapping. That means that you want the entire group of words to remain on the same line together. In this example we are going to keep the news paper name together with non-breaking spaces. When you go to type in the name of the news paper type it as follows:

Type: Pittsburgh Press CTRL+SHIFT+SPACEBAR Type: Post Press: CTRL+SHIFT+SPACEBAR Type: Gazette

The three words of the news paper title are now put together as one block.

SIDE NOTE: You can also do this with the hyphenated words by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+HYPHEN instead of just a regular hyphen.



A TABLE is a way to organize your work into rows and columns. Each block in the table is called a CELL. When you first create a table you need to specify the number of rows and columns. This is called the DIMENSIONS OF THE TABLE. The dimensions are usually listed as columns x rows. So a table that is 3 x 5 is three columns by five rows. (a column goes up and down, and a row goes side to side)

To create a table go to the INSERT tab. Click on the TABLE button and then position the mouse over the correct number of rows and columns in the graphical display. As you hover over the rows and columns graphic the sample table is displayed in the document. Once you click your mouse the table will actually be created in your document.

Type in the text of your table.

Notice that the ruler at the top of the page will show the boundaries of the table. You can click and drag the boundaries in the ruler to adjust your table in the document.

If you need to add another row to your table at the bottom, you can just press TAB from the last cell in the lower right and a new row will be created.

Use TAB to move from cell to cell in the table and SHIFT+TAB to move backwards up the table cells.

Once you have all your data typed into the table you can format the table style and colors. At the top of the word window there is a TABLE TOOLS button that will open up the table editing ribbon.

Click on the Design tab. Click on the more button in the table styles gallery. You should see the same table style in each row, and the columns are the colors from your theme you selected earlier. Staying in the same color theme, choose a style that fits your personality and matches the content of your table.

Once you have the table style and color set you can change the table to fit the size requirement of the content.

Click ont he Layout tab Click the Autofit button Click on the AutoFit Contents menu option

Next hover your mouse over the table to see the table move handle in the upper left corner. Click on the handle to choose the entire table. Then press CTRL+E to center the table on the page.

Letter Head


LETTER HEAD is usually preprinted on stationery that is used by everyone in the company. This is the first item that the reader will notice. It should not take up much space, should reflect the personality of the company, or individual, and should be business professional.

When you are preparing a professional document and you are not part of a company, you can create your own letterhead. Letterhead usually contains the legal name of the company (or your legal name if you are self employed), your complete address including your building, room, suite, or post office box, your phone number, your fax number (if you have one), and your email address. If you have a web address this also can be placed as part of your letterhead. It can also contain a graphic that represents you, or your business.

We will use text, graphics, and a border to create the appearance of a professional letterhead that will display your personality.

Type your name. Change the font to size 18. Pick a font style that matches your personality. Press enter to the next line.

Pick a clip art that matches your career interest. Change the size to 0.5 x 0.5, or close to that.

Set the font size to 11 and change the style to Arial or Times New Roman. Set a tab stop at 6.5 that aligns right.

Press TAB. Type in your address, then type a symbol. Type in your phone number, then type a symbol. Finally type in your e-mail address.


Press TAB and then type in your address. Press ENTER. Press TAB and then type in your phone number. Press ENTER Press TAB and then type in your e-mail address. Press ENTER Set the clip art to in front of text so that the clip art is on the left and the text is on the right.

With your cursor at the end of the last line of text, after your email address and before the paragraph marker, click on the bottom border button in the HOME ribbon.


Click on the NORMAL button to move the bottom border up below the letterhead. This is will CLEAR FORMATTING and let you start the next part of the document with the default character and paragraph formatting.


When you type an email address or other web address Word will automatically create the hyperlink for you. If you do not want the text to be a hyperlink you need to remove that coding. The easiest way is to put your cursor immediately after the hyperlink text and press BACKSPACE one time. You can also highlight the hyperlink text and then right click and click on remove hyperlink.

Insert Current date


To enter the current date into a document you have two popular ways. You can type in the current month, and when you finish typing the month and press space, the current date will appear in a box. Pressing enter will accept the text into your document. The other method is to go to the INSERT TAB and click on the DATE & TIME button. From here you can pick the format you would like today's date to take when it is placed in the document. Just double click on the format, or click on the format and then click OK.

When typing in a business letter the DATE LINE should be just under the letter head, and on the right side of the page. You can create a left tab stop at 3.5, then press tab and select the format of the date. The format (September 28, 2009) is a standard used in business letters. The date line should be the date you are sending the letter, which is usually the date you are writing it.

Inside Address


The INSIDE ADDRESS is the address of who you are sending the letter. This is placed two lines below the date line, or so that it fits in the window of the envelope once your letter has been folded. You might need to play with this a little depending on the envelope style, and your letterhead you have created. The address block should contain the persons name whom you are contacting, their official title, the name of the company, the street address or po box, and the city, state and zip code.

EXAMPE: Mr. John Smith Human Resources Director Brown and Company Inc. 100 Main Street, Suite 3 No Name, CO 81601



The SALUTATION of a letter is the line that greets who you are contacting. There should be one blank line between the address block and the salutation. Usually the salutation looks like:

Dear Mr. John Smith:

You can use a : or a ; depending on the letter style you are using.

Letter Style


There are three main letter styles:

block every part of the letter lines up on the left margin

modified block every part of the letter lines up on the left margin except the date, close, and signature. Those three elements are aligned just to the right of center.

modified semi-block every paragraph is indented the date, close and signature are just to the right of center the rest of the letter lines up on the left margin



Where you heard about the opening

Write a paragraph that is about two or three sentences long that describes how you heard about the job opening. Remember to use the non-breaking space on the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, and to use the building block to enter the company name. (type "bci" then press F3)


I am responding to the advertisement for a high school technology teacher that you recently placed in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. After reading the requirements for the technology teaching position, I know that I am very well qualified to join your team. You will find that my enclosed resume outlines how I can be a valuable asset to Brown Carole Institute.

Educational background

Write a paragraph that is three or more sentences discussing your training and education. List any degrees or certifications that are relevent to this specific job. If you have received training in several key areas and would like to spot light that, a table might be useful here.


This past December I graduated from Slippery Rock University with a bachelor's degree in mathematics, a minor in computer programming, and a minor in education. The following table outlines the hours of study in each area:

Course Hours
Mathematics 32 Semester credits
Computer Programming 20 Semester credits
Mathematics Education 20 Semester credits

Work experience

It is important to list any experience you have in the field you are applying. Volunteer work counts, as does any community service, or actual on the job training. This paragraph should be at least three sentences long and outline any experience that is specific to the job for which you are applying. You might want to include a bulleted list.


While I was attending college to earn my degree I was also working to gain the following teaching experience.

  • Worked at Sylvan Learning Center for two years.
  • Worked with the on campus tutoring service for three years.
  • Volunteered with the on campus special needs classes to help teach sign language.

Contact them

The last paragraph of the cover letter should let them know when you are planning on following up with a phone call to check on the status of the position and to make an appointment to visit with them in person. It should give a time frame, and include your contact information in case the have any questions.

Remember to use the building block when you type in the sentence to enter in the company name.

Type: bci

Press F3

If you want the phone number to stay together on one line try using the non-breaking hypen.


I will call you later next week to set up a time when we can meet to discuss my career opportunities at Brown Carole Institute. If you have any questions or need more information please call me at 970-555-5555, or you can email me at

Complimentary close


When you are done writing your letter you need to close the letter and then sign it. Prior to your name you need to add the COMPLIMENTARY CLOSE.

Press ENTER twice to leave a blank space.

Press TAB (the left tab stop should still be set at 3.5)

Type: Sincerely,


Signature block


You need to leave a place to sign your name after you print your letter out.

Press ENTER three times

Press TAB (there should still be a left tab stop at 3.5)

Type in your full legal name.




When you send a letter with multiple pages or documents you need to communicate that to the recipient. This is done by placing the word ENCLOSURES at the bottom of the page. If you have only one extra page or document then you can just write the word enclosure to signify that the person should find another document other than the main one that they are currently reading. If you are sending multiple documents you should have a title ENCLOSURES and then list the names of the other documents that they should find.



Do a job search on for a job that fits an area of interest from your interest surveys. Create a cover letter for that job.

1. Use your information to create the letter head.

2. Use to help find the address for the company to fill in the inside address.

3. If there is no contact person use Personnel Director, or Human Resources Director for who's attention to address the letter.

4. Include some of the words from the job description on to help fill in the body of the letter. Include where you heard about the job (, your educational qualifications, and your job experience.


Cover Letter Rubric
Standards 1 point 2 points 3 points 4 points 5 points
Creates a letterhead Is missing four or more items Is missing three items Is missing two items Is missing one items Includes your name, address, city, state, zip, phone number, and email address and is formatted correctly
Creates the date line, salutation, close and signature Is missing or formats four or more items incorrectly Is missing or formats three or more items incorrectly Is missing or formats two or more items incorrectly Is missing or formats one or more items incorrectly Places the date appropriately on the page, has today's date, formats the salutation correctly, places and formats the close correctly, places and formats the signature block correctly
Creates the inside address Is missing or formats four or more items incorrectly Is missing or formats three or more items incorrectly Is missing or formats two or more items incorrectly Is missing or formats one or more items incorrectly Includes the name (if available), the job title, company name, address, city, state, and zip. All is formatted correctly
Includes where you heard about the job opening Is missing all four elements Is missing three elements Is missing two elements Is missing one element In a two or more sentence paragraph, lists where you heard about the job opening, and includes their company's name.
Includes your education Is missing all the elements of training Is missing three elements Is missing two elements Is missing one element In a three or more sentence paragraph, outlines the formal training that qualifies you for this position.
Includes your experience Is too short and does not list any qulifications for this position Is missing three elements Is missing two elements Is missing one element In a three or more sentence paragraph, outlines the job experience that qualifies you for this position.
Includes when you will contact them Does not discuss contacting the prospective employer Is missing three elements Is missing two elements Is missing one element In a two ore more sentence paragraph include when you will contact them and how they can contact you.