For a Cover Letter, Google Docs Is a Good Choice

How to make a cover letter in Google Docs

There are many software tools you can use to write a cover letter. One option is Google Docs. While this word-processing program is highly popular, is it a good idea to use it for something as important as a cover letter? Will hiring managers respond well to a Google Docs cover letter? Discover the keys to making this type of cover letter work for you.

Should you make your cover letter on Google Docs?

The decision of whether to use Google Docs to write your cover letter is a personal one, but it can have professional impacts. Here are some benefits and drawbacks of using Google Docs to create your next cover letter.

The software is free

You don’t have to purchase a Google Workspace subscription or any expensive desktop software platforms to use Google Docs. All you need is a Google account.

Attachments aren’t necessary

When you share your cover letter, Google Docs doesn’t require you to attach it to an email unless you want to. Instead, you can use a link or even grant direct access to a hiring manager. This is good news if you’re prone to forgetting attachments and want to avoid potential embarrassment.

Downloads are easy

You may need a digital file of your letter if the hiring manager or ATS platform requires an attachment. With Google Docs, you can easily download your letter in a variety of widely accepted formats.

Formatting is limited

One drawback of using Google Docs is that it has limited formatting options. That said, if you want to use a cover letter template, Google Docs has plenty. For some, this can make up for the limited formatting features.

Security can be tricky

Google Docs has many security settings. While this is a good thing, it can make navigating the platform somewhat confusing.

Before sending a Google Docs cover letter, make sure you understand the relevant privacy and access settings. That way, you can avoid access issues that may frustrate the hiring manager trying to look over your cover letter.

The decision of whether to use Google Docs to write your cover letter is a personal one, but it can have professional impacts.

How to use a Google Docs template

If you’re wondering how to make a cover letter on Google Docs, you’re not alone. Here’s a short guide to help you get started.

Create a new document

Log in to your Google account and navigate to Google Docs. On the top row, under the “Start a new document” heading, choose the box reading “Blank document.” You can also choose a template you like from the template gallery next to the blank document or download and use your own resume template.

Format your document

Google Docs works like other word-processing platforms in that it allows you to format your document to meet employer requirements, industry standards, and personal preferences.

For instance, once you’re in the Doc, you can adjust the margins on your cover letter examples by clicking the “File” menu and choosing “Page setup” from the drop-down menu. You can also change the line spacing, fonts, and more by clicking the “Format” menu button and selecting the option you want.

Add the header

Your cover letter should always start with a header to let the hiring manager know who you are and that your letter has arrived at the right company.

To add a header, simply click the top of the page and start typing. Make sure to include your name, contact details, and general location. Then, add the hiring manager’s name and the company’s full name and address.

Start strong

Your letter should always begin with a salutation that greets the hiring manager personally. If you don’t know their name, try finding it via a web or LinkedIn search. If you’re unsuccessful, consider calling the company to ask to whom you should address your application.

After the salutation, compose a compelling introduction that grabs the hiring manager’s attention and makes them want to know more about you. Tell them what job you’re applying for and where you heard about it. Convey your enthusiasm by telling them why you’re applying or highlighting a personal or professional connection to the company.

Craft the body paragraphs

The body paragraphs are where you’ll showcase the value you can bring to the company you’re applying to.

Use two paragraphs (or possibly three short ones) to talk about your current and past positions, but don’t simply rehash information you’ve found in resume articles. Instead, use this opportunity to contextualize your skills and achievements, personal traits, and any anecdotes you want to share.

Close strong

To keep the hiring manager’s attention for the duration of your letter, you’ll want to make sure your closing is just as strong as your introduction.

Use this paragraph to summarize and reinforce the key points you made in your letter. Make it a point to thank the hiring manager for taking the time to read and consider your application.

Once you’ve done that, you can include a call to action, such as an invitation to speak further about the role and the skills you can bring to it. Sign off with a closing salutation followed by your full name. Don’t forget to indicate any enclosures or attachments, such as your resume.

Proofread and edit

One of the perks of using Google Docs is that it can help you proofread and edit your cover letter before you submit it.

The platform has a spelling and grammar check tool that’s accessible from the “Tools” drop-down menu. You can also check the “Show spelling suggestions” and “Show grammar suggestions” options to have the document highlight words and phrases that may need correction.

Save your document

If the company you’re applying to accepts Google Docs links, you can share your document directly with the hiring manager using the options in the “File” drop-down menu.

You can either add people you want to have direct access to the document or get a link you can send to others. You can also email the document to your intended recipient directly from Google Docs. If you want to download the document, select that option from the drop-down menu, then pick your preferred file type.

Expert Tip:

Check to see whether the job description or applicant tracking platform has requirements for specific file types before you download your document from Google Docs. You don’t want to send in a Word document when the hiring manager prefers a PDF.

Dos and don’ts

Keep the following tips in mind when you sit down to write your next cover letter in Google Docs:

  • Do spend time learning how to make a Google Docs resume and cover letter before you write and share anything with a hiring manager, as this will help you avoid technological mishaps
  • Don’t forget to use formal language throughout your letter; even though Google Docs can feel like a casual platform, you’re still writing a professional document
  • Do check the formatting standards in your industry and adjust your settings accordingly
  • Don’t hesitate to use resume examples and cover letter templates to start off on the right foot and maintain professionalism as you write
  • Do avoid using password protection or requiring third parties to request access if you’re sharing your Google Doc with a link, as this may cause frustration for hiring personnel

Adhering to these best practices will ensure that your Google Docs cover letter is professional and well-received by the hiring manager.

When it comes to writing a cover letter, Google Docs just makes sense

While it’s not the only option for writing a cover letter, Google Docs is certainly one of the best. While the security settings may take some time to understand, the platform is free and easy to use and allows you to download your files in various formats to suit employer preferences.

When using Google Docs to write your cover letter, make sure you follow all of the conventions and best practices described in most cover letter articles. Show your enthusiasm, provide context for your skills and experience, and be bold about asking for an interview.

If you’re looking for an easy way to get started, consider using cover letter or resume templates. If necessary, you can paste these into Google Docs and tweak them to write a compelling cover letter that will wow any hiring manager.

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