How Long Should a Cover Letter Be
Everyday HR managers look through hundreds of resumes, and only a slight percent of applicants manage to pass it and get invited for the following interview. Then arises a simple question – “How to improve the resume and make it stand out among others”. Although its quality is an essential matter on its own, sometimes the problem may not relate to it. That’s why, if you already have confidence in your resume, it can be rather beneficial to attach a cover letter to it.
However, as well as with all other documents, the quality of the cover letter takes a significant value. Creating a decent one is not an easy task, and selecting the ideal cover letter length is one of the key points. In order to help you resolve such problems with ease, we created this article, which highlights the issue and provides helpful tips. At the same time, if you are not confident enough or just in need of a cover letter as fast as possible – feel free to reach out to our professional cover letter writing service.
Related: 10 Cover Letter Do’s and Don’ts
How Long Can a Cover Letter Be
As a matter of fact, your cover letter can be as long as you want, but most likely, the recruiters won’t even finish reading it to the end. During the process, many job-seekers start to have concerns about their cover letter length, and those thoughts have a solid base to appear. In case the applicant writes too much, it can seem nonprofessional, and the main idea will be pretty bleak, as it’s simply hard to grasp it among large amounts of unnecessary information. On the other hand, if there is too little information, it will be harder to highlight your candidacy, while the cover letter can seem thoughtless or lacking in effort.
The first thing you have to check is the presence of any requirements posted by your employer. If the length is specified, then everything is clear, and there is no reason to guess. When there is no information about that, it’s better to go by the following format. The average length of a cover letter is about half to one full page, with the word count ranging between 250-400 words. Though cover letters don’t always have to be one page long, there is no real need for more than that. The number of paragraphs in a cover letter can also differ, but the standard is about 4, which is more than sufficient for creating a powerful image.
Instead of increasing your cover letter’s word count, it would be much more reasonable to concentrate on refining its quality. An ideal cover letter has to briefly describe all your experiences, qualifications, and achievements cleanly, without any confusion. However, constantly thinking about your cover letter word count is not the best option because it can become a pressure that doesn’t help creativity. That’s why the best option would be to read a few of our tips, write the whole cover letter, and then edit the parts that lack quality, in your opinion.
Read More: Is It Necessary To Write A Cover Letter?
#1 Correct Formatting
First of all, an ideal cover letter has to be pleasant to read, and to achieve it – it’s necessary to write keeping to the correct format. The first thing you have to take care of is to make sure that you use an appropriate font, which is eligible for writing resumes and cover letters as well. Many of them have their specific pros and cons, so paying attention to them won’t be a useless preparation.
Besides choosing the correct font, it’s also very important to make all the text of your cover letter pleasant to the eyes of recruiters. Although the actual content of those paragraphs is much more crucial if they become a plain wall of text, the quality of your cover letter may drop significantly. In order to avoid it, you have to divide your text with white spaces between each paragraph. You can do it by leaving a blank line between them, adding a 1-inch margin on both sides. Afterward, reading the cover letter and highlighting your main statements to the HR manager will be much easier.
#2 Define Your Cover Letter Length
Pay special attention to any length requirements posted directly by the employer. Sometimes you can find your ideal cover letter length right in the announcement itself. On top of that, the employer can not only include the required word count but even provide you with particular questions to answer. Although nobody binds you to those requirements, disobeying the direct instructions definitely wouldn’t describe you as a reliable employee.
That’s why, before starting to compile the cover letter, it’s better to make sure about any of those. In case there are no particular demands, you can stick to an average length of a cover letter, which consists of 250-400 words and about four paragraphs.
#3 Don’t Kill Your Creativity
If you want your cover letter to stand out among others, killing your creativity definitely won’t bring you any good. To create a decent cover letter, you shouldn’t pressure yourself with the word limit. On the contrary, you should take advantage of the cover letter word count as a tool for keeping the text concise. Simply put, the primary aim is to preserve creativity while expressing it in the most concise form possible.
Read More: Cover Letter for an Internal Position or Promotion
#4 Be Concise And Precise
A cover letter is a perfect way for uncovering your candidature as a real professional and consequently improve your chances of being invited to the interview. However, you have to remember that HR managers look through dozens and even hundreds of applications every day. That’s why the saying “Brevity – is the soul of wits” is pretty much applicable for this situation.
Each of the four paragraphs has to be concise and carry the main sentence with a strong statement, highlighting the general idea of the whole paragraph. Then, it has to be supported by a few short sentences that continue and develop that idea. In the end, you have to finish the paragraph with a proper closing, which briefly concludes the main topic.
Choosing an ideal cover letter length is definitely significant, but the actual content is no less crucial. Usually, there are about four paragraphs that divide into four topics: the greetings, your qualifications, your interest in the company, and closing in the end. In order to show your awareness of the company and professionalism, it would be plausible to do some research in advance. That information will be very helpful, as it can help you during the majority of those topics.
First of all, you can greet the reader addressing the department or the person himself. As the main aim of the greeting is to catch the reader’s attention, this method can be quite efficient. At the same time, during the research, you will most likely find information that can help to ground your interest in the company. Among that, it’s possible to state such indicators as leadership on the market, growth rate, attitude towards clients, and every other advantage that happened to draw your attention. In the end, you can thank the reader for the consideration and even subtly request to contact you or invite you for the interview. Of course, when finishing the cover letter, you should also never forget to leave your contact information.
Read More: How to Tailor Your Cover Letter for Each Job Application
Although you may want to choose other topics, there is one that is just impossible to exclude from the list – your skills and qualifications. This paragraph can be considered the main body of the whole cover letter, and it’s critical to highlight your competence and the pros you can bring to the company. Also, this is the part where you have to share the most impactful achievements and experiences that you were responsible for in your previous job.
To describe them the best way, we recommend using the STAR method. Its essence is developing the statement from S – situation (the problem you faced with), T – task (duties you were responsible for doing), A – action (what you did in that situation), R – result (what you achieved in the end). This method will help to showcase your experience in a clear, concrete manner.
After you have written all you want to see in the cover letter, comes the time for editing. Thoroughly check the whole text and consider reading it with your relatives or friends, which can bring you a fresh look at your cover letter. In case you didn’t manage to fill all you wanted into one page, try to decrease wordy sentences and cut off all the insignificant information, leaving only the most impressive achievements. Finally, if you ever have any problems creating a cover letter – you can always apply to the professionals at ResumeEdge.