How To Hand Write A Cover Letter

Tips for Writing Handwritten Cover Letters

Tips for Writing Handwritten Cover Letters

You might think that handwritten cover letters are a thing of the past, but that’s not always the case. 99% of the time employers want typed letters, but every once in a while they ask for a written letter.

Here are some recent job postings asking for exactly that:

  • For immediate consideration, please fax a handwritten cover letter and resume.
  • Submit resume and handwritten cover letter.
  • Please submit a resume with a handwritten cover letter. As our required documentation is very detailed, your handwriting is very important to us.
  • Please email or fax a handwritten cover letter and typed resume with Attn: Hiring Manager.

You might be asked to submit one because the job involves writing and your handwriting needs to be legible. It’s also a way to check out your spelling and grammar.

Tips for Writing Handwritten Cover Letters

As you can see from the last example if an employer is asking for something handwritten it’s important that your penmanship is perfect. Handwriting can seem like a lost art in a time when almost everything is done on a computer, so take the time to get it right.

What You Need

You can write the cover letter on computer paper, that way it will match your resume and will be easy to scan if that’s how you are going to send it. You could also opt for a higher quality stock paper to make a really good impression. Use black or blue ink and a quality pen. You may need access to a scanner and a fax machine.

Practice Your Penmanship

If your handwriting isn’t neat, practice writing by copying another document.

Remember what you learned in elementary school, and practice a few times until your writing is clear and legible. Printing your letter is fine, especially if your cursive isn’t very readable.

Compose Your Letter

Keep your letter short and focused on why you are the best candidate for the job. Relate your experience to the employer’s requirements.

The first paragraph of your letter should explain why you are writing, the second explains why you are qualified for the job, and the third thanks to the employer for considering you for the job. To be sure it's perfect, compose your letter on your computer, spell check, and grammar check it, then print it and copy it. Here are sample cover letters to review.

Format the Letter

Be sure to format your cover letter as you would a typed letter including your contact information and the contact information for the employer. Here’s the appropriate format for a letter applying for a job.

Write a Rough Draft

Write a rough draft of your letter so you can see how the spacing, paragraphs, and format look on the page.

Proofread Your Letter

The employer is evaluating more than your penmanship. They are going to be reading your letter for content and style, as well. Reread your letter one more time to make sure it flows before you write the final version.

Write the Final Version

Write the final version of your cover letter using a good quality pen. Leave room for your signature.

Sign the Letter

 Sign your letter with your full name (first name, last name) and make sure your signature is legible, not a scribble.

Even if you print your letter, your signature should be written in cursive.

Scan the Letter

With a handwritten letter, you are going to need to scan it to apply online or via email. If you have an iPad you may be able to use an app to scan your document. If you don't have a scanner or an iPad, check with office supply and shipping stores like FedEx Office Stores, UPS Stores, Staples, etc. You should be able to scan it for a nominal fee. You can save the scanned document as a PDF file on a flash drive or email it to yourself.

Mail, Fax, Email or Upload with Your Resume to Apply

 Employer requirements vary, so follow the instructions in the job posting to apply. Here's how to mail a resume and cover letter. If you’re emailing your application, here’s how to attach your applications materials to an email message.

If you don’t have a fax machine, you can use an internet fax service to send. 

When you're looking for a job, your cover letter is your chance to show off your personality and allow your future employers to see what it's not possible to convey in an impersonal resume. While most people write their cover letters using a computer, there may come a time when it's appropriate to hand-write your cover letter. In fact, some more artistically-minded employers may ask for it so they can check out your penmanship. You probably shouldn't send a hand-written cover letter unless an employer asks for it -- but if he does, make sure you're turning in something that's more sophisticated than scribbly.

Select a quality pen. While it's perfectly acceptable to use a ballpoint pen, using a fountain pen or gel pen will look more sophisticated, and demonstrate that you're willing to take care to make your correspondence look good.

Practice writing on scrap paper. If you're like many people, you use your computer and mobile phone to communicate more often than you write things down, and likely need a little refresher on good penmanship. Practice writing out the entire letter, working on spacing the words so they don't run into the margins. Become familiar with the pen so you don't leave splotches or blots on the page.

Select paper that has a slightly heavier weight than regular printer paper. This also demonstrates that you're willing to go the extra mile.

Write your letter slowly and carefully, and start over if you make a mess. Follow the standard rules for writing a cover letter; use the first paragraph to introduce yourself and state the job for which you are applying. Use the second paragraph to state why you want the job and what specific skills you possess that make you a good candidate. Then, use the third paragraph to ask the employer to contact you.

Be patient and don't spoil your hard work by not waiting for the ink to dry. If you're using a fountain, gel or other special pen, it may take some extra time for the ink to dry.


  • If you're choosing to hand-write your letter and the employer did not specifically ask for it, be sure to mention somewhere why your letter is hand-written.


About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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