How long should my cover letter be?

Posted in Cover Letters

When it comes to writing a cover letter that is effective at standing out from a sea of potentially hundreds or thousands of cover letters, as well as impresses a hiring manager or potential employer; it is vital that an applicant know what they should and shouldn’t do as regards format, style, and content. One of the biggest issues, for example, is length. Few people know how long a substantiative and successful cover letter should be-so as not to overwhelm a hiring manager, but to give them the information that they need. In this section, we offer an answer to how long a cover letter should be to make sure you draft your cover letter for success.

How long should a cover letter be? No more than a page, and no less than 3-5 paragraphs. The thing about a cover letter that makes it such an art form to create one that gets the interview is that there is a lot of information that should be listed in a small amount of space. To make a cover letter effective, it should include the highlights of your career experience and qualifications, your career goals, why you are applying for this job and company, and also why you are the best person for the job. This said, most people either do not include all these aspects in their cover letter or, make the cover letter too long and overwhelming. Neither approach will get you the results you are looking for. In a world where most often the cover letter serves as the first determinate impression of candidacy, you must make sure that the length and content is correct.

The first mistake alluded to that people make in the delivery of a cover letter to a job is that they misinterpret the function of a cover letter-and thus, what to include. Many people consider the cover letter just a means of introducing oneself for a particular job and attaching a resume, so they either omit the cover letter or just make it a couple of sentences to this end. This is not what an employer wants when they get an application. They want a cover letter that is not so short that it doesn’t include the quick reference staples of your candidacy as referenced above. Without these, most often an employer will toss the whole application-resume and all.

The second mistake that people make when creating a cover letter is that they make it too long. Scared that they will miss something that might get them the interview, many applicants stretch out the length of their cover letter to a page or more. While information is helpful, it is much better to say the most compelling aspects of your career goals, experience, and candidacy in a concise way. This is for the simple fact that hiring managers do not have the time to read hundreds of cover letters that are longer than a few paragraphs, and therefore, will not.

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