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How to Write a Job Application Cover Letter
Writing a cover letter is essential when applying for jobs. This is the perfect way to express how your specific skills are relevant to the open position. Wow your future employer with this simple cover letter example format.
Write a First Draft
Writing a first draft makes your letter concise and professional, states The Balance Careers. Organize your thoughts by making a list of what you’re trying to convey. Make sure you prioritize certain aspects like your previous job experience and why you would be a good fit for the position. Clearly state what position you’re interested in and why. Think about why you’re applying and what caught your eye about this specific position. Your cover letter will be easier to write after your thoughts are collected and organized.
Customize Your Salutation
When writing a salutation, make sure you know who you are writing to. Is this person the owner of the company or a Human Resources administrator? If you’re not sure, research the company to find out. Addressing your cover letter to a specific person shows initiative and attention to detail. After your salutation, start your letter with a short introduction of yourself. This gives future employers insight into who you are and the purpose of your cover letter.
Your cover letter should be no more than one page, so keep your points brief. Clearly state what position you are interested in and why. Explain why you are a good fit for the company because of your past job experience. If you have no similar job experience, let the employer know why you are changing career paths. Expand on your skills and give specific examples of how that skill set helped you at your last position. Name projects you’ve worked on and show results.
Close Your Letter
End your cover letter with a brief sentence and sign off. Thank the employer for their time and express your interest towards the job again. Let them know you’ll follow up with them if you do not hear back within a week and leave your contact information. Sign off with a professional farewell and leave room for a signature if sending a hard copy.
Edit and Proofread
As you finish writing your cover letter, make sure you take time to edit and proofread your document. Make sure it’s structured in a professional format with the company’s information, the salutation and introduction, the body of the letter, a brief closing sentence and farewell. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes to ensure a formal result. Make sure all names are spelled correctly, as well.
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How Long Should a Cover Letter Be and What Should Be Included?
If you’re applying for a new job, you want to make sure your cover letter length is appropriate and contains the right cover letter sections. Learn more about cover letter word count and organization as well as tips on crafting an effective cover letter.
A cover letter can be anything between half a page and a full-page long. Generally, you should aim for a cover letter word count of 250 to 400 words and about three to six paragraphs.
A short, concise cover letter serves as a written introduction to a prospective employer and outlines why you’re the best fit for the job. The cover letter, which you submit alongside your resume, highlights your experience and helps explain how your skills and personality will complement the company.
In addition to asking how long a cover letter should be, you might also wonder what to write. To help, we’ll provide tips on the length, offer an outline to follow, and highlight writing suggestions that can impress and inspire the hiring managers to invite you for an interview.
Cover letter length and outline
A cover letter should take up at least half or a whole page, but not longer. Shorter is better.
The length is also dependent on how you plan to send the cover letter, either in the body of an email or as a separate attachment. If you send your letter in an email, it should lean more towards a half-page. If it’s an attachment, you can go a bit longer, but not longer than a page.
Although all options are acceptable, crafting your cover letter in an email gets instant visibility as opposed to an attachment that the recipient must open after reading your email. Check for delivery directions in the job description. If there aren’t any directions, an email will be the best option for you.
What should be included in your cover letter? Here’s an outline of the cover letter sections and the information each paragraph should include:
Contact information and greeting
At the top of your cover letter, include your contact information, which should include your:
City and state
After providing these details, add the date and contact information of the recipient, although you do not need this information if you're writing your cover letter in the body of an email.
Next, write a greeting to the hiring manager. Ideally, you’ll know the name of the hiring manager and will address the letter to that person. However, if you don’t know their name, you can simply address it to the Hiring Manager.
Paragraph 1: Introduction
The first paragraph serves as an introduction. Start by introducing yourself and stating the position you’re interested in within the company. Add a fact or two about the company as you explain how you’ll complement the business.
When you research the company, examine the company's mission statement, values, and products. Review the company’s social profiles, search for news articles about the company, and run a search on the company’s owners and head executives. Use these pieces of information to write your introduction.
Paragraph 2: Relevant experience
The next paragraph should offer your specific qualifications that align with the job description. You should mention your most recent job, its daily responsibilities, and how it helps the current job opening if it applies.
Briefly highlight your skills. If you can, offer statistics that support your achievements by including a statement like, “The content marketing strategies I implemented led to a 300 percent increase in visitors, a 15 percent increase in inbound leads, and a 2 percent increase in conversions."
If your previous job was in a different field or if you’re new to the job market, use this cover letter section to explain why you’re a good fit for the position.
Paragraph 3: Company details or more qualifications
The third paragraph can take two different forms. You can talk about the company and why you want to join such a business, or you can point out additional qualifications that make you a standout candidate.
Speak about the company. By researching the company’s website, social presence, news, and employee LinkedIn profiles, you can synthesize a few details about the company that you appreciate. With this data, determine why it’s the role and work environment for you and include your explanation in the letter itself.
If you’re light on company-specific details, mention more of your alluring qualifications, skills, or personality traits. However, be sure it’s fresh information and not repetitive of anything mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Paragraph 4: Closing
In the last paragraph, you should express your appreciation to the reader and offer to discuss the position more in-depth during an interview.
Every cover letter, no matter what position you apply for, includes a call to action at the end, such as asking for a meeting or an interview.
Add your contact information including your cell phone number, address, and professional sites like your LinkedIn profile or portfolio, all below your signature.
What if a job description says a cover letter isn’t required?
Experts say you should always send a cover letter as it gives you a chance to introduce yourself, showcase your skills, and stand out. You might come across a job description that indicates a cover letter isn’t required and be inclined to skip it. Send one anyway. A cover letter will allow you to highlight your relevant skills, experience, and interest in the company, presenting yourself as the ideal match for the job.
Tips for writing an effective cover letter
You want your cover letter to stand out from the other candidates who are also applying for the job. Your words should express your qualifications and show your potential for growth at the company. Follow these tips to elevate your cover letter:
Check the job description for requirements.
Before writing your cover letter, check for requirements in the job description.
In some cases, the job description may include instructions for your cover letter. It might have requirements such as: maintaining a specific length, naming the recipient, and the information they want to know about you.
Know the name of the recipient.
Include the name of the hiring manager as opposed to a more general greeting like “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Hiring Manager.” Check the job description or company website for this information, or call the company to get the name of the hiring manager assigned to you. If you exhaust these options and can’t find the answer, use the general greeting.
Tailor the letter.
You’ll notice in the outline that company-specific and job posting-specific details should be included in the cover letter. As a result, every cover letter should be uniquely written for each of the jobs you're applying for and not repurposed.
Formatting is important too.
While it’s easy to focus on word selection or questions like, “How long should a cover letter be?” formatting is a priority as well. Keep the margins standard, pick a legible and common font like Arial or Times New Roman, and font size of 11 or 12.
Use bullet points for organization. In your second or third paragraph, when you mention your qualifications, list each of your qualities as a bullet point.
Bullet points make your copy “skimmable,” so if a hiring manager is short on time, they might skip the paragraphs and simply read the bullets.
Complement your resume, don’t repeat it.
Your resume offers a snapshot of your job experience, education, and skill set. Avoid repeating information from your resume in your cover letter. It should complement your resume instead of being a copy of it. Rather than duplicating the bullet points listed on your resume under your most recent job, for example, craft sentences that build on those bullets for your cover letter.
A cover letter is a short document, so every word must count. Make your sentences concise and clear. When you’re finished writing, go back through your cover letter and remove any “fillers,” or phrases that don’t add value to your letter.
Have a clear call to action.
Include a call to action at the end of your cover letter, such as a suggestion to schedule an interview to further discuss your qualifications. It’s one of the last things mentioned in your letter to encourage the hiring manager to take quick action.
Craft your next cover letter by taking Writing Winning Resumes and Cover Letters from the University of Maryland. To further enhance your job hunt, consider courses like Successful Interviewing or Career Planning: A Path to Employment .
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.
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How Long Should a Cover Letter Be in 2023?
Finally, an organization posted your dream job. You crafted a flawless resume and now you’re ready to apply. You land on the cover letter section of the application and see that it is optional. Is it truly optional?
Will not submitting make me less likely to land the job? Where do I even start and how long should the cover letter be?
These are some things that might run through your head. But don’t panic, we are here to help. No matter what your career level is, your cover letter can set you apart from the other applicants. But how much do you have to write?
This can be a complicated question. Too much text? The hiring manager might glance over it. Too short? The recruiter may think that you didn’t put much thought or effort into writing the cover letter .
Cover letters should range from a half-page to one full page. Your cover letter should never exceed one page in length.
- Page Count: 0.5 to 1
- Word count: 250 to 400
- Paragraph count: 3 to 6
How to Keep Your Cover Letter to One Page
Tip #1: keep it concise.
While the cover letter is a great way to showcase your personality, it is also very important to be concise. Hiring managers are sifting through dozens, and maybe even hundreds, of applications.
They do not have time to read a full two-page article about your daily tasks. Instead, highlight any relevant experiences that show your qualifications for the specific job.
Demonstrate your passion for the industry and end the letter. The decision-maker will appreciate your brevity and may even reward you with an interview .
Tip #2: Highlight Only Relevant Experiences
Unless the employer requests a specific word count, keep it short. Take only the amount of space required to show that you are an ideal candidate for the job.
Highlight your qualifications and any relevant stories. It’s important to be specific, and not regurgitate the content on your resume.
It is very important here to showcase how your past achievements can help the company solve their current challenges and how you will use your skills if chosen for the position.
Doing so will show the recruiter or hiring manager the value you can bring to their organization.
Tip #3: Break Your Cover Letter into Sections
An effective cover letter contains three to four paragraphs. It’s important to keep the sentences short so the reader can quickly navigate your cover letter.
Paragraph #1: The Intro
The first paragraph should grab the decision-maker’s attention. This is an opportunity to show your interest in the position and knowledge of the company. Make sure you address your cover letter to the correct person or department. Always be sure to research the company and customize each cover letter to the position you are applying for.
Example: “I am excited to submit my application for the position of [insert position name] with [insert company name]. I have watched your growth for years and really appreciate the devotion to serving your customer’s needs.”
Paragraph #2: Your Qualifications
The second paragraph should highlight relevant stories or stats that impress your qualifications. For example, “In the previous company, I grew sales by 150% in my first year and 200% in my second year.” It is helpful if you can be specific in how you achieved success or benefited the company in some way. This highlights what you bring to the table and how you can make an impact on the hiring manager’s business.
Paragraph #3: Your Interest in the Company
The third paragraph, if you choose to include it, can speak to what drew you to apply to the specific company. This can sway the hiring manager's decision by showing passion and loyalty to the company.
Paragraph #4: The Closing
The final paragraph should reiterate your interest in the position. It is a great time to thank the reader for their consideration and request an in-person meeting. It’s important to have a call-to-action so the reader knows what to do next. Always include detailed contact information.
Tip #4: Experience Level
Cover letters can vary based on your experience level. If you are applying for jobs right out of college, don’t include metrics measured in school, such as GPA, unless requested. Instead, focus on your experiences, projects and achievements that make you a strong candidate.
If you are in the middle of your career, pick out relevant accomplishments and state your experience level. For example, “With 12 years of teaching experience, I am writing to express my interest in the open position in your Mathematics Department.”
If you have more experience, you likely have more relevant qualifications and stories. This may entice you to make your cover letter longer. Do not fall into the trap.
Longer does not mean better . Select a few key successes and leave others for the interview process.
Tip #5: Formatting
The format is just as important as the length of your cover letter. Pay attention to the amount of white space on the page. More white space keeps the content easier to read for the recruiter or hiring manager.
You want to make sure that you use a font that is legible (as the ones handpicked by our team together with recruiters). Keep standard margins and align your text to the left.
Writing a cover letter can be intimidating. If you remember to keep your writing concise and highlight only your relevant experiences, you will be on your way to snagging an interview in no time.
- How to Write a Cover Letter in 2023
- Resume Formats Guide: How to Pick the Best in 2023
- Cover Letter Examples
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How Long Should a Cover Letter Be in 2023? (+Examples)
Do you want to know what the perfect length of a cover letter is? What is the ideal number of words that a cover letter should have? And how many paragraphs should you include? If you are looking for answers to these and more cover letter questions, you are in the right place.
The quick answer is that a cover letter should never be longer than a page, 400 words, or six paragraphs.
However, if you want to dive deeper into the cover letter nuances and become a real expert, you are in the right place. So, if you want to learn in detail how to write the perfect cover letter of a perfect length, just keep reading.
For more general information about cover letters , go and have a look at the first article from our series Cover Letter Guide: What is the Cover Letter. There, you will find a definition of what a cover letter is, what makes it different from a letter of motivation, and a short guide on how to write a great cover letter.
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What is the ideal cover letter length for 2023?
When it comes to cover letters, the longer, the better does not apply. Even if you have years of expertise and you worked extremely hard on gathering professional skills and experiences — and now you want to show it off all in detail on four pages — don’t.
Sometimes, less is more. This is the case for a good cover letter. It is crucial to highlight the experiences that are truly relevant to the advertised position. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time to talk about your skills and achievements in more detail once you get the interview.
Rather, think of a cover letter as a tasteful, comprehensive, short advertisement. You want to catch the attention of a hiring manager and make it clear that you are a highly experienced professional fit for the role. Yet, at the same time, you don’t want to bore and overwhelm the person who is making the selection in the first round of the hiring process.
It is important to realize that in large companies, the hiring manager and the HR department have a very short time to go through your application. On average, per one vacancy, there are up to 250 applicants. This means you must make your cover letter stand out from the crowd – but also be easy to read.
What follows are the tips on how to do it!
Read the instructions
Always make sure you read the employers’ instructions properly. In many vacancy announcements, there is a clear list of what is required from an applicant. Often, these also indicate the expected length and form of a cover letter.
If specific regulations are not included, don’t worry. In this case, you can go for the standardized version of a cover letter.
Junior vs Senior
If you are at the start of your career and are applying for a junior position where it is expected to have a lack of practical experience, writing around 200 words is perfectly acceptable. A cover letter for an internship can be equally long. If you don’t have prior experience, you can focus on your inner motivation, education, and extra-curricular activities.
For an experienced candidate , the word count can be doubled. However, it really shouldn’t exceed 400 words in any scenario – unless specifically requested. At the same time, a cover letter should never exceed 1 page. If you do so, you completely disobey all the rules of this genre, and it won't work to your advantage.
While this length may sound too short, and you may feel tempted to write more about many of your professional accomplishments, it may eliminate you from the selection process. Being selective and cutting straight to the point makes you a better candidate as opposed to one who writes their whole life story.
Career vs Academic cover letter
The rules listed in the previous paragraph are almost universally true when we speak of a career cover letter.
However, an academic cover letter is conventionally longer. If you are wondering how long an academic cover letter should be, know that the standard length is one page and a half . On the other hand, it is never longer than two pages.
Cover letter heading length
The same cover letter rules apply here, too. A short, simple, and catchy heading will get you far.
Do not exceed two sentences; one is advisable. Either use your full name or a catchphrase, such as: “ Why am I the best for the role of XY ”. However, do this only when you are sure that the company and the position that you are interested in aren't too formal.
How long should the first paragraph be
This paragraph is to capture the attention of the reader. It does not have to be longer than two or three sentences. State who you are, where and how you found the opportunity, and why you are interested in it. Do this in a catchy way, though! If you heard about the position from a person in common, do not hesitate to mention their name.
Remember, the first paragraph is short – do not waste words. Make yourself an attractive candidate right from the beginning, and mention your biggest assets right here – such as the length of experience or quality of your education.
How long should the second paragraph be
Arguably the most important part of your cover letter. Therefore, you should make the second paragraph the most extensive and longest part of your cover letter. Write about your accomplishments and past work experiences in detail. Explain why you are the best candidate for the role and what your skills are that no one else has.
On the other hand, remember — you still must write at least one more paragraph in the body of the cover letter, as well as the closing paragraph. Therefore, don’t go overboard with the length.
The best thing to do is to initially write freely and more. Then, you can cut the number of words down later during later stages of editing. This way, you won’t limit your creativity from the start by being too focused on the correct word count.
How many words/paragraphs should a cover letter be
- As we've already stressed, your cover letter shouldn’t be too long. Keep it under one page. However, sometimes only half a page may not be long enough. Find the right balance.
- When it comes to the number of words, never exceed 400 words. 250-300 words are the ideal length of an average cover letter.
- The perfect number of paragraphs in a cover letter ranges from three to four. The maximum number of paragraphs that are acceptable is six.
Cover letter examples by length
If you want to see the instructions applied in real life, have a look at the cover letter examples of various lengths examples below. All three of these people managed to land the job by using the kickresume cover letter template !
Cover letter example 1: Short version: Half a page
Cover letter example 2: Medium version: Between half a page and a page
Cover letter example 3: Long version: A page
If you liked these cover letter samples and you want your cover letter to look the same, use one of our cover letter templates! You can go for the free or the premium version. It is super easy to use, so you’re just a click away from the cover letter of your dreams!
Cover letter formatting
Not only length but also the way you format the cover letter matters. Your goal is to make it very easy to read. You will achieve this by keeping your cover letter structured, nicely designed, and well-formatted. Here are the tips on how to achieve this:
- When it comes to the font of a cover letter, try to imagine being a busy hiring manager. You want to make their job as easy as possible – so go for a font that is easy to read. At the same time, you want to create a professional impression. In other words, the best font for your cover letter would be the classic Times New Roman, Arial , or Calibri . However, if you are confident enough to experiment and you want to make your cover letter stand out from the crowd with a more eye-catching design, go for it. But forget to ensure that the text should be easy to navigate and read – that is the priority.
- The letter size matters, too. Anything between 10.5 and 12 is good. You don’t want to make the letters too small, so they would be hard to read, or too large, so you don’t exceed one page.
- The margins of a cover letter are conventionally 1.5 or 1.
- A cover letter should never be double-spaced. You want to fit all the information on one page — with double spacing, you wouldn’t be able to.
How long should an email cover letter be?
Today, unless specifically instructed to do otherwise, the cover letter is conventionally sent as an email attachment.
Just like with the cover letter itself, sending a short and precise email is better than a long and overly complicated one.
In your email you must include:
- a relevant subject: if the subject title is not included in the vacancy instructions, use the name of the position for which you are applying;
- a polite greeting: address the person by their full name/if not available, Dear Sir/Madam will do
- refer to your attached cover letter and resume;
- express hopes for the future , consider attaching a phone number where they can reach you;
- close with best regards/best wishes and your full name and surname;
Email cover letter length examples
Email cover letter example 1.
Email cover letter example 2
Email cover letter example 3
And that’s about it. There is no need to make it too elaborate – all the important information is in the attachment.
Now hit that send sign and wait for the response. After listening to all the advice, we have no doubts you will receive positive news. The Kickresume team wishes you the best of luck!
Now, when you have that cover letter in your pocket, we are sure you also want an amazing-looking resume. The good news is that you are just a click away from our Kickresume CV templates!
FAQ: How long should a cover letter be in 2023
What is the ideal word length of a cover letter.
Your cover letter should be between 250 to 400 words long.
A cover letter isn't required – should I still send it?
Yes, this is your chance to stand out from the crowd of applicants and make it clear that you’re willing to put in the effort.
Is a 1000-word cover letter too long?
Yes, it is. It's never advised to exceed 400, max. 500 words.
Is it ok to have a cover letter that is two pages long?
No, you should always limit your cover letter to only one page. Recruiters don't have time to read long essays. They also like familiarity and known formats.
Kaja Jurcisinova is a fresh graduate and a junior copywriter at Kickresume. Kaja completed her undergraduate degree in Art History at the University of St Andrews in 2018 and graduated with a Master’s in Arts and Culture from the University of Groningen in 2021. She was an intern at multiple cultural institutions across Europe, including the Dutch Museum Association in Amsterdam, the Matter of Art Biennale in Prague, and the European Cultural Centre in Venice. At the moment, she resides in Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland.
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How Long Should a Cover Letter Be in 2023? This article explores the ideal cover letter length and provides tips for creating an engaging, easy-to-read document for your next interview.
By Entrepreneur Staff • May 2, 2023
Crafting a well-written cover letter is pivotal to securing a dream job, as it offers an opportunity to make a lasting first impression on hiring managers and recruiters.
Yet, in the quest for professional success, job seekers frequently ponder, "How long should a cover letter be?" In 2023, the answer may be different than previously thought.
How to determine the ideal cover letter length
When crafting a cover letter, it is essential to balance providing sufficient information and maintaining the reader's interest.
The following factors contribute to determining the ideal length for a cover letter:
- Industry standards and expectations: Different industries may have varying expectations regarding cover letter length. Research the norms within the target industry to ensure the cover letter adheres to accepted standards.
- Clarity and conciseness: A well-written cover letter should be clear and concise, effectively conveying the applicant's suitability for the role without overwhelming the reader with excessive detail. Aim to present the most relevant information that is easy to digest.
- Word count and formatting: While there is no one-size-fits-all rule for cover letter length, a general guideline is to keep it between half a page and one full page. This range typically equates to approximately 250 to 400 words. In addition, use formatting tools such as bullet points, headings and white space to break up large blocks of text and enhance readability.
By considering these factors, job seekers can craft a cover letter that effectively communicates their qualifications while maintaining an appropriate length.
What are some examples of recommended cover letter lengths across different industries?
While providing specific numbers on expected cover letter length across various significant industries is difficult, we can offer some general guidelines as many factors can influence the expectations. Usually, a one-page cover letter is considered standard across various industries.
However, specific fields may have unique expectations. Below are some examples:
- Finance and Business: A one-page cover letter is typically preferred in the finance and business sectors. According to Robert Half, a leading recruitment agency , a concise and well-structured cover letter is essential for these industries.
- Academia and Research: A longer cover letter of 1-2 pages may be expected in academic and research positions, as candidates often need to detail their research, publications and teaching experience. The University of California, Berkeley provides guidelines for academic cover letters, suggesting a length of 1-2 pages.
- Creative Industries (e.g., Graphic Design, Advertising): In creative industries, the focus is often on the quality and originality of work rather than the length of the cover letter. A shorter, more visually engaging cover letter of around one page or less might be expected. AIGA, the professional association for design, provides insights into crafting a creative cover letter.
Ultimately, it's crucial to research the specific industry and company you're applying to tailor your cover letter to their expectations.
How do you properly research the industry norms for cover letter length?
To find reliable information about recommended cover letter length for specific industries and positions, consider the following resources:
- Industry Associations and Professional Organizations: Many industries have professional associations that provide valuable resources and guidelines for job seekers, including cover letter advice. Examples include the American Marketing Association (AMA), the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
- University Career Centers: Many universities offer comprehensive resources and advice for crafting cover letters, often tailored to specific industries or fields. Examples include Harvard University's Office of Career Services and the University of California, Berkeley's Career Center .
- Online Job Search Platforms: Websites like LinkedIn , Indeed and Glassdoor often provide job search tips, including guidance on crafting effective cover letters. Some platforms even offer industry-specific advice, giving you insights into the expectations of employers in your target field.
- Recruitment Agencies and Career Coaches: Professional recruitment agencies and career coaches often provide advice and resources on their websites or blogs. Examples include Robert The Muse and Workopolis .
- Networking: Contact professionals within your target industry for advice and insights. They may be able to share their experiences and recommendations regarding cover letter expectations for their field. Utilize platforms like LinkedIn to connect with people in your industry and engage in relevant discussions.
While these resources can offer valuable guidance, tailoring your cover letter to the specific company and position you are applying for is essential. When crafting your cover letter, always research the organization's culture and values.
Which is better: Full-page or half-page cover letters?
Some hiring managers and recruiters may prefer a full-page cover letter, while others appreciate the brevity of a half-page document. To determine the appropriate length for a specific application, consider the industry norms, the complexity of the role and the amount of relevant information to be included.
For example, if applying for a senior management position in a highly technical field, a full-page cover letter might be necessary to convey the depth of experience and expertise. Conversely, a concise half-page cover letter highlighting key skills and accomplishments may be more suitable for an entry-level position in the creative industry.
What are the specific word count and page count recommendations?
While there is no universal rule for cover letter length, a general guideline is to keep it between half a page and one full page, which typically equates to approximately 250-400 words.
However, it is essential to prioritize the quality of the content over strictly adhering to a specific word count.
For instance, a well-crafted 350-word cover letter that effectively demonstrates the applicant's fit for the role and addresses key requirements from the job description will likely be more impactful than a 250-word cover letter that fails to provide sufficient detail or context.
What factors can influence the length of your cover letter?
Various factors can influence the ideal length of a cover letter, including the job seeker's experience, the job requirements and the company's expectations. Consider these elements when crafting the cover letter and adjust the length accordingly.
For example, if a job posting emphasizes the need for a highly experienced candidate with a wide range of skills, a longer cover letter may be appropriate to showcase the breadth of relevant qualifications.
On the other hand, if a company is known for its fast-paced, results-oriented culture, a concise and focused cover letter that quickly highlights the most relevant skills and achievements might be more appealing to the hiring manager.
Why is concise, engaging writing best for cover letters?
Concise and engaging writing can significantly impact hiring managers and recruiters, demonstrating an applicant's ability to communicate effectively and respect the reader's time.
In addition, by presenting the most relevant information clearly and concisely, job seekers can create a lasting impression and increase their chances of success.
Related: These Resume and Cover Letter Templates Can Help Your Job Hunt
What are the core objectives of a cover letter?
As the perfect cover letter takes shape, it is essential to understand its underlying purpose. This understanding will provide a solid foundation for the writing process and facilitate crafting a document that effectively serves its intended function.
Connecting job seekers and hiring managers
One of the primary purposes of a cover letter is to act as a bridge between job seekers and hiring managers.
It allows candidates to present themselves in a way that goes beyond the confines of a resume by:
- Showcasing personality and communication skills.
- Demonstrating passion and motivation for the position.
- Providing context for career transitions or gaps in employment.
By doing so, job seekers can create a more comprehensive and compelling narrative, which helps hiring managers better understand the applicant's fit for the position.
Showcasing relevant experience and work history
A cover letter serves as an opportunity to highlight and expand on relevant experience, skills and accomplishments.
By carefully selecting and emphasizing the most pertinent aspects of their work history, job seekers can demonstrate to hiring managers how they have effectively applied their abilities in previous roles and plan to contribute to the prospective organization.
Tailors your experience to the role
A well-crafted cover letter should never be a one-size-fits-all document. Instead, it must be tailored to the specific job description and company culture. This customization demonstrates a genuine interest in the position and showcases an applicant's understanding of the company's needs and values.
In addition, by aligning the cover letter's content with the job description, job seekers can effectively illustrate how their unique skillset and experience make them the ideal candidate for the role.
Related: The 6 Musts of a Cover Letter
What are the critical components of an effective cover letter?
When creating a cover letter, it is crucial to include specific elements that convey professionalism and suitability for the role. The following sections highlight the vital components of a compelling cover letter and guide how to present them.
Contact information and salutation
Begin the cover letter by including contact information, such as name, address, phone number and email address. This information should be displayed at the top of the document. Next, address the hiring manager or recruiter by name, if possible.
Researching the recipient's name demonstrates initiative and a genuine interest in the position. If the name is unavailable, opt for a general yet professional greeting, such as "Dear Hiring Manager."
Engaging body paragraphs
An effective cover letter should consist of well-structured paragraphs that flow seamlessly, each serving a specific purpose:
- First paragraph: Capture the reader's attention by mentioning the job posting and expressing enthusiasm for the role. Briefly introduce relevant qualifications or experiences that make the candidate a strong fit.
- Second paragraph: Delve deeper into the applicant's background by highlighting specific accomplishments and relevant experiences. Draw connections between these achievements and the job description, illustrating how the candidate's skillset aligns with the company's requirements.
- Third paragraph: Showcase the applicant's understanding of the company's goals and values. Explain how their experiences and skills will contribute to the organization's success, further solidifying their suitability for the role.
Related: How to Write an Amazing Cover Letter
What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a cover letter?
It is essential to avoid some common pitfalls to maximize the effectiveness of a cover letter. These mistakes can undermine the applicant's credibility and hinder their chances of success.
Using a generic cover letter for multiple job applications is a critical error. Instead, take the time to customize each cover letter to the specific job description and company culture, demonstrating genuine interest and understanding of the company's needs.
Neglecting to research the company
Failing to research the company website and the manager's name can signal a lack of initiative and genuine interest in the role. Make an effort to gather and incorporate this information into the cover letter to create a more personalized and compelling narrative.
Underestimating the importance of your resume
A well-crafted cover letter should complement and enhance the information presented in the resume. Neglecting either document can weaken the overall application.
Instead, take the time to create a cohesive and comprehensive narrative that effectively showcases qualifications, experience and fit for the role.
Related: How to Write a Cover Letter That Gets You an Interview
The power of writing an excellent cover letter
Crafting an effective cover letter is vital to the job application process.
By understanding its purpose, incorporating key components and determining the ideal length, job seekers can create a compelling and professional document that captures the attention of hiring managers and recruiters.
Moreover, avoiding common mistakes and ensuring the cover letter complements the resume will further increase the chances of success in securing the desired position.
Consider exploring Entrepreneur's comprehensive articles to enhance your knowledge and skills in cover letter writing and other essential aspects of career development.
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