What's the cover letter length?
You may find yourself asking: just how many words should a cover letter be, or how long is a cover letter? There is no set-in-stone answer, unfortunately.
But, it is recommended that the length of a cover letter should be half a page to a full page. Your cover letter length should be divided into three of four paragraphs for easy reading, too.
Remember: a lot of important information is already on your CV. So, when writing your cover letter to its ideal length, you need to cherry-pick the best bits to showcase.
Your cover letter: what to include
Imagine yourself as a recruiter: what would you find interesting when reading a cover letter? What would you think to include in a cover letter? What information would you deem relevant? Be your own best advocate, and select the information that will give the most memorable impression.
As an applicant, you have to remember that recruiters have limited time when reviewing applications. In fact, your suitability could be determined within the first 30 seconds of them reading your cover letter.
It’s all about quality, not quantity, when thinking about what to include in a cover letter. You want to deliver something that fits the recruiter’s essential job needs whilst showcasing your own personal achievements. There's no denying that it can initially be a daunting task – after all, you have to prove yourself in only a matter of words. But it is possible, and writing cover letters gets easier with time and practice.
I don't have enough to say!
That's probably not true. It’s very likely that you have a lot of information to discuss in your cover letter. Think about what got you to the position where you can apply for this job – experience, skills and resilience. So, talk about it, and be proud of what you have achieved in your professional journey so far.
Writing a cover letter can sometimes feel overwhelming, so here are some tips to help you reach a decent length and include all the important points:
Check the job requirements and make sure to reference your experience with them, even if it is brief (you can expand on this if you get an interview)
Include your contact information
Tell your story – give the recruiter some insight into your personality and work style
Acknowledge the reader, and thank them with a call to action: this can be as simple as adding ‘thank you for taking the time to review my application, I look forward to hearing from you soon to discuss this role further’ at the end of your letter
Keep your paragraphs short, concise, and focused
Show how you can tackle specific tasks with real-world evidence and examples
Include a brief description of why you’re a good fit for the role and expand upon this
Mention one or two stories about relevant accomplishments
Use bullet points where applicable
Top tip: do some research, and impress the recruiter by opening the letter with their name instead of ‘Dear Sir/Madam’