While looking at online applications for job listings, there are a few that - in lieu of a upload form for the cover letter - simply have a text area in which to paste the letter. As most cover letter how-to's discuss proper formatting of the letter, this seems to just throw all of that out the window.

I don't think just including the cover letter with the resume (and then stating such on the text area) would be looked upon too kindly (based on other answers here about online applications).

But if I have to paste my letter into the text area, do the general formatting rules change? Should I skip the contact information (there are other fields for that), and would the overall length change any?

  • 1
    For pasting into a text field, treat it like a plain text e-mail. Formatting counts, but not fonts, paragraph alignment, etc.
    – Brandin
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


For this type of cover letter submission, you can typically leave off any redundant information, particularly the contact information for you and for the company. The opening and closing salutations are still a good idea, but if you accidentally left them off I don't think it would look strange. With an online submission form like this, all of your information will be stored in one place, probably in one big pdf, so you don't need to worry about your cover letter getting separated from your resume.

As for the overall length, you have a bit more flexibility than you do on a paper letter where you are trying to fit everything on one page. If you have some more information you want to share that you couldn't fit, you can definitely add it. Just don't go overboard; you don't want to go more than an extra paragraph or two. Also, keep in mind that some online entry forms have character limits which may force you to adjust your letter.

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