How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? The Ultimate Guide
The above picture is that of 2 pieces of paper (a job application) and a pen.
How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? The Ultimate Guide
Are you trying to write the best possible cover letter? The ability to write a good cover letter is crucial if you want to land your dream job. While it shouldn't be important, it's often considered more valuable than a good resume.
Do you know how to write a cover letter that's sure to impress your future employers?
We want to help you out. We have answers to all of your cover letter questions, like "what goes on a cover letter anyway?" and "how long should a cover letter be?"
Don't settle for the standard fill-in-the-blank templates that you can find online. Use this guide full of cover letter help to create a letter that's unique to you.
What Goes Into a Cover Letter?
Before you can understand the ideal length, we need to discuss the components of a good cover letter. While there will be some variability depending on the field that you're trying to get into (as well as the career level), there's a standard formula that you can follow.
While you should always start with your name and contact information in the header (consider making your name large and centered), the actual writing aspect often confuses people.
Here are a few things that should go into your cover letter.
The Position That You Want
The first thing that you need to do is mention what position you're applying for. It's possible that this employer has several open positions, and while your application should make things clear, it's best to cover your ideal position in the cover letter as well.
Putting it front and center in the introduction makes it easy for the employer to see.
Be specific. You can mention the position title as well as the company or you can make things more casual. For example, both of these are acceptable:
- "I'm writing to apply for the position of the digital marketing specialist at [company name]"
- "I'm writing because I want to be your new digital marketing specialist"
The second one has more character and confidence, but it may not be appropriate for all situations. Showing personality is good for positions where you'll be interacting with and trying to engage customers (like sales or marketing).
Why You Want the Job
This is where you can insert some flattery. Some jobs don't require this. If you're looking for a position at a fast-food company or big-box store, for example, the hiring manager may not be interested in why you chose them.
On the other hand, if you're looking for a job at a small business or independent company, a little bit of flattery goes a long way.
Talk about why you've chosen this business and this position specifically. Why are they interesting to you? You can embellish a bit here, but don't go overboard. For example, if you want to work for a nonprofit:
- "I've been impressed with the work that you do with underprivileged communities. I know that as a digital marketing specialist, I'll attract more people to help with your vision and get involved in their own communities as a result."
Your Value as an Employee
So why should this employer choose you? Regardless of your experience, you know that you're a great choice for the job. Don't be afraid to sell yourself.
This is where you talk about your experience in any area that's relevant to the position. If you're not experienced in the workforce, talk about other ways that you've gained experience that can make you valuable to the employer.
This can include internships, college classes, publications, volunteer work, and even other jobs that may not seem relevant (as long as you know how to sell them). For example:
- "While in school, I volunteered with my local "Food Not Bombs" group to serve underprivileged groups in the community and manage their social media. As a result of that, I'm used to working with this demographic and getting new people involved."
- "Through my recent sales position, I learned how to get people excited about the company. This taught me valuable skills that can feed into an ability to engage with and encourage potential helpers through digital marketing."
The Next Steps
The last thing that you should include is a "call to action" of sorts. This goes right before your sign-off.
This should express confidence. While you can use the standard "If you think I'd be a good fit I'd love to hear from you. Contact me at [email address or phone number]," but you can go further.
Instead, try something like "Thank you for your time. I'd love to chat further about how I can use my skills to be a valuable member of your workplace."
How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?
So this seems like a lot of information, right? You might think that this means that your cover letter needs to be long, but this isn't true. You want to be concise while still getting all the necessary information on the page.
If your letter goes on too long, you risk the potential employer not reading the entire thing. Your goal is to grab their attention and fit your information in the letter in a bite-sized package.
Aim for no more than a paragraph per piece of information (better yet, combine the first two).
Each paragraph should be no more than 4 lines on a standard-sized piece of paper. This might mean that you have to choose your words carefully, especially if you feel that you have a lot of skills and experience to offer.
Concision is a skill. When you use effective language and a confident tone, your employers won't gloss over all of the small details that make you a great choice.
Are You Ready to Write Your Cover Letter?
Making sure that you're ready to write just the information that you need with nothing extra is a great way to prepare yourself for the letter editing process. You're a great potential employee and you can prove that in your letter regardless of how long it is.
So how long should a cover letter be? Long enough to cover all of the necessary components with no extra fluff.
Are you looking for your dream career in a disability-friendly workplace? Check out our job board so you can find the next great place to send your cover letter.