There is a relatively strict format for cover letters that should always remain the same. This format is boring and standard, but important. We'll present it in point form:
  1. Use white or ivory paper only. Do not use paper with patterns, borders, a picture, or anything fancy. Rely on the strengths of the letter.

  2. Write your address, telephone number (personal - don't use your business number unless you're sure it won't lead to trouble at your current job), email address, and the date, in that order, in the top right-hand corner.

  3. Below your address, on the left-hand margin, write the name, title, and address of the person to whom you are sending the letter (do not be lazy and fail to get the name; the nameless "Recruiting Coordinator" to whom you send your letter will not be impressed).

  4. Skip a line, write "Dear Ms./Mr./Mrs./Dr./Professor Whatever," then skip a line and start writing your letter. Don't use "Miss" or "Mrs." unless you have received correspondence from the person using that salutation. If, when asking someone about the name of the recruiter, you think he or she says "Miss," assume it was actually "Ms."

  5. Send an original, signed letter, not a photocopy.

Do not attempt to use a creative format, unless your job is 100% based on creativity. Some people applying for positions in comic book drawing or MTV game-show producing might try and take a chance by using a wacky cover letter, but we still recommend that you stick with what we suggest. The wacky cover letter usually looks unprofessional, and the people who get jobs with wacky cover letters probably would've gotten the job with a normal one. These standard cover letter conventions should constitute an unremarkable, but perfectly executed background. Do not allow your format to distract attention from the good things you say about yourself in your cover letter.