How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? The Ideal Length in 2022

This drift has changed the way employers look at resumes and cover letters. They now prefer shorter, more concise documents that get straight to the point.

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

Even before recruiters review your CV, they read your cover letter to get a sense of who you are and if you appear to be a good fit for the position. Employers spend a limited amount of time reading a cover letter, so it’s important to be concise and to list your most relevant qualifications. A well-crafted cover letter can make a potential employer excited to read your CV and learn more about you. In this article, we discuss what makes a great cover letter in terms of length and quality.

A cover letter is your thesis statement regarding why you are a perfect candidate. This means discussing qualities you possess and why they will be beneficial to the company, previous job experience that can help you excel in this new position and ideas about how you will grow within this position. Even if a cover letter is not required

Many hiring managers also rely on cover letters to gauge your personality, attention to detail and communication skills. This means ensuring that your letter has all of the necessary elements:

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

A good cover letter contains 3 to 4 concise paragraphs and no more than 400 words in total. For entry-level candidates, 200 words is the sweet spot. Ideally, your cover letter contents should take up slightly more than half a page.

Why so short?, you might ask. Think about the main purpose of a cover letter: your cover letter introduces you to the recruiter and it’s supposed to get them interested in you as a candidate. As such, it has to be brief and to-the-point—it must strike the right balance between the length and the message.

Recruiters receive dozens of job applications for each position. If instead of the information they’re looking for, they come across a story of your life, they’ll skip it without batting an eyelash.

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

So you’ve checked the job posting and they’ve requested a cover letter, but haven’t given any guidelines for how long it should be. Or maybe they’ve stated that a cover letter is optional. Should you still send one? Emphatically, yes, you should. As for how long you should make it, follow our guidelines below.

Page count. In all circumstances, your cover letter should never exceed one page. Ideally, you should shoot for between half a page and a page, always aiming for the lower end of that spectrum. About 70% of employers want a half-page cover letter or feel that the shorter the better.

Word count. Considering that preferred page count leaves us with about 200-400 words with 10 or 12-point font, single-spaced, with spaces between paragraphs.

The shorter the better approach continues here; if you can say everything you need to in a 200-word cover letter, great! Stop right there and don’t worry that you’re being lazy or not including enough information.

Paragraph count. The standard advice is to aim for between 3-6 paragraphs. Three is the absolute minimum to do the following: introduce yourself, state your qualifications, and express interest in the specific company. However, it may be a good idea to give yourself four paragraphs, so you have more time to tout your credentials.

We don’t recommend going over 4 paragraphs in most scenarios, because otherwise, each paragraph is going to look super short if you’re working with ~300 words. Additionally, it shouldn’t take multiple paragraphs to introduce yourself, express interest in the company, or thank the reader for their consideration.

6 Things NOT to do in a cover letter:

  1. Never repeat your resume in your cover letter. It’s not necessary, and it makes the document more difficult to read.
  2. Don’t use a fake name or different email address when applying for jobs than you do in real life — this is, of course, unless you’re applying for an online job with an online company!
  3. Don’t write about how great your last boss was and how much you loved the job. It’s important to know that you will be a good fit for the company, but it’s just as important to know that you’ll be a good fit with your boss.
  4. Don’t make promises on behalf of your boss. You might think you have this great idea that will save the company money, but it’s not your place to suggest this idea to them.
  5. Don’t use clichés, buzzwords or nonsense phrases like “innovative,” “hardworking” and the like.
  6. Don’t write someone else’s cover letter. If you have a friend or a colleague who wrote a similar cover letter, you can ask them for advice on how to change it to make it unique. But do not write the same cover letter twice!

Sarah Samson is a professional career advisor and resume expert. She specializes in helping recent college graduates and mid-career professionals improve their resumes and format them for the modern job market. In addition, she has also been a contributor to several online publications.

Final Word

A cover letter or pitch is your chance to shine and show potential employers why you’re the best candidate for the job. By following the tips and examples in this article, you can write a cover letter or pitch that will grab attention and land you interviews.

Cassie Riley has a passion for all things marketing and social media. She is a wife, mother, and entrepreneur. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, language, music, writing, and unicorns. Cassie is a lifetime learner, and loves to spend time attending classes, webinars, and summits.

References:

https://uk.indeed.com/career-advice/cvs-cover-letters/how-long-should-a-cover-letter-be
https://zety.com/blog/how-long-should-a-cover-letter-be
https://www.zippia.com/advice/cover-letter-length/
https://resumekraft.com/how-long-should-a-cover-letter-be/
https://rigorousthemes.com/blog/how-long-should-a-cover-letter-be/

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