We explain the ideal cover letter length
If you’re planning to submit a cover letter with your application, you’ve made an excellent choice.
Despite what you might hear, cover letters are still important.
A well-written cover letter can give you an edge over a similar applicant.
It’s also an additional opportunity to make the case for why you’re a great fit for the role.
In this post, we discuss:
- How long a cover letter should be
- What to write in your cover letter
- How to format and structure your cover letter (with a free template!)
How long should a cover letter be?
A cover letter should be one page long.
It should be made up of 4-5 paragraphs.
If you write a cover letter that’s any longer, recruiters will most likely skip over it.
Remember that your resume and cover letter are intended to serve as a highlight reel of your work experience and accomplishments.
You should prioritize your content to make sure that you grab the reader’s attention and provide information relevant to the decision they’re trying to make.
What should I write in the cover letter?
When thinking about what to write in your cover letter, we recommend putting yourself in a recruiter’s shoes.
People often make the common mistake of repeating information that's already on their resume without addressing their target role.
Ask yourself what questions the recruiter is trying to answer.
Simply put, they’re trying to understand:
1) What is this person’s work experience and background?
2) How does their background make them a good fit for the position I’m hiring for?
3) What will they be able to achieve for my company, given their track record?
4) Where do they rank in comparison to other applicants?
Your job is to answer these questions for them.
In other words, you need to bluntly tell them how your experience relates to the role you’re applying for.
Don’t leave them to assume.
Show them that you’ve done your research and that you’ll be able to provide exactly what they need.
To do so, reference your past experience, but always remember to tie it back to how it will help you succeed at the company.
How should I format and structure the cover letter?
Your cover letter should be divided into short paragraphs so that is easy for a reader to skim.
You can also consider incorporating bullet points into your cover letter to outline your career highlights, key performance metrics, or awards you received, for example.
Your cover letter’s format should align with that of your resume.
To make your resume and cover letter come off as a professional, cohesive package, you can copy and paste your resume’s heading onto the top of the cover letter.
Contentwise, you can structure your cover letter using the following template as a base:
Dear [hiring manager],
I am writing to apply for [position name] at [company name]. I would make a strong fit for the role based on my [work experience/skill A], [work experience/skill B], and [work experience/skill C].
2️⃣3️⃣4️⃣ BODY PARAGRAPHS
[In the first sentence of each body paragraph, explain how the work experience/skill you mentioned in the intro make you a suitable fit for the role.]
[Then, provide a specific example.]
[In the last sentence, explain how the example demonstrates your ability to succeed in the target role at the company.]
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon. If you have any questions regarding my application, please feel free to contact me.
Click here to see an example of an effective cover letter that follows this format.
About Resume Pilots
Resume Pilots is an award-winning executive resume writing, career coaching, and outplacement firm. Our previous clients include CEOs and senior executives at the world's leading companies.
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