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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.

[Featured image] A woman in a maroon shirt holding a cup of coffee looks over her cover letter and smiles.

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

Phone number 

Email address

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. 

Be concise.

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. 

Getting started

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 .


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How Many Words Should A Cover Letter Be? (Career Advice)

How Many Words Should A Cover Letter Be? (Career Advice)

Table of Contents

How Many Words Should A Cover Letter Be?

What is the ideal cover letter length.

When it comes to cover letters, there are a lot of opinions on what is the ideal length. There are also some schools of thought that believe the length doesn’t matter at all. However, there seems to be agreement that shorter is better.

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The majority of hiring managers and recruiters say they’d rather read a shorter letter than a longer one. The consensus seems to be that less than one page is ideal for most applications; anything more than two pages will probably just get unread or skipped over entirely by your potential employer. 

Can You Send A Cover Letter That’s Too Long?

You should always try to keep your cover letter under two pages but if you are applying for an entry-level job or a job where your experience doesn’t match up with the job description, then it is perfectly fine to write a longer letter (up to three pages).

At What Point Does A Cover Letter Become Too Long?

Instead, focus on why you’re the best candidate for the job – this means focusing more on selling rather than telling them what makes YOU special!

How To Keep Your Cover Letter Short & Sweet

Write in active voice rather than passive voice (e g., “I wrote an article” vs., “An article was written by me”). The latter make sentences longer because they need extra words like “by him/her” or “by them,” which makes them harder to read quickly as well as makes the writer seem less confident about what he/she has done! 

When It’s Okay To Go Over A Page

You have an extensive list of references with impressive credentials

How To Write A One-Page Cover Letter (Examples Included)

In conclusion, a cover letter should be between one and two pages. This is the most common length of a cover letter and will get you into the door for most jobs. If you find yourself writing more than two pages, it might be time to trim down your content or consider whether there is another position where your experience would better fit what they’re looking for.

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How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

Conrad Benz

If your cover letter is too long, you’ll put off hiring managers. And if it’s too short, you’re missing the opportunity to better market yourself. So how long should a cover letter be exactly?

how long should a cover letter be hero concept, one short cover letter and one long cover letter next to each other

A cover letter should be a half-page to one page long.

More specifically, limit your cover letter to three or four concise paragraphs, or 250-400 words in total.

This cover letter length gives you enough space to communicate your experience and convey your interest in applying while also maintaining the interest of the hiring manager. Any longer than one page, and your cover letter risks making you come across as self-absorbed or long-winded.

In fact, you can write a short cover letter of fewer than 100 words and still effectively communicate your qualifications.

How to achieve the ideal cover letter length

Follow these four tips to achieve the right cover letter length, so employers can evaluate your application as quickly as possible.

1. Keep Your cover letter 3 to 4 paragraphs long

A standard cover letter should be concise and broken into four informative paragraphs:

Paragraph 1

In your first paragraph, introduce yourself and explain why you’re applying for the job. Emphasize why you’re passionate about the role, and state how many years of experience you have in the field.

For example,

“My name is John Smith, I’m currently a Marketing Intern at ABC Corp with over a year of experience in social media management, organic SEO, and email outreach. As a long-term fan of the impressive work being done at BigCorp, I was excited to see your listing for a Marketing Assistant on LinkedIn and believe my skill set would make me an immediate asset to the team.”

Paragraph 2

Your second paragraph should focus on your relevant professional accomplishments . Showcase what you’ve achieved so far in your career, and use numbers whenever possible.

“as a marketing intern for ABC Corp I developed a new social media strategy, increasing Instagram impressions by 36% over 3 months.”

By highlighting your achievements, you show the hiring manager what you’ll bring to the company if hired.

Paragraph 3

Your third paragraph should connect your accomplishments or experience to the needs of the company.

For example, research the company’s current projects and future goals, and explain how your past accomplishments have prepared you to contribute toward those projects and goals.

If you’re not sure what the company’s specific goals are, try looking at relevant cover letter examples from other professionals to see if there are any common challenges in your industry.

Paragraph 4

The final paragraph of your cover letter should restate your interest in the position, and thank the hiring manager for taking the time to look through your application.

Provide them with your email and phone number again, so they can connect with you as soon as possible.

2. Focus only on your relevant achievements

If you have a lengthy work history, highlighting all the work experience you have on your cover letter might be tempting. Similarly, if you lack experience it can feel like the best thing to do is use your cover letter to tell employers about your life experiences.

However, hiring managers are busy, and don’t want to spend time reading a cover letter that’s unfocused. To keep your cover letter clear and concise, you should only write about your most relevant accomplishments or qualifications.

For example, imagine you’re writing a sales associate cover letter . You should highlight just one or two anecdotes about how you increased sales revenue at your previous company, rather than including four or five less relevant examples.

3. Write concisely

If you’re struggling to keep your cover letter on one page while including all the relevant information you need about your qualifications, then it’s probably time to take a look at your writing style.

The best way to write an effective cover letter is to make sure you write with concision. Here’s an example of a sentence from a cover letter that’s not written concisely:

Wordy sentence

The hectic situation at my previous job was a crucial factor in the formation of my current skill set regarding my ability to handle high-stress environments.

Although this sentence sounds professional, it takes 27 words to communicate a basic idea. By simplifying the language, you can communicate that same idea more directly, like in this example:

Concise sentence

My previous job taught me how to perform well under pressure.

If you’re struggling to make your cover letter more concise, here are a couple essential writing tips:

Replace phrases with a word

While common phrases like “due to the fact that” or “in the event that” sound fancy, they make your writing less direct.

Replace unnecessary phrases like these with fewer words. For example, “due to the fact that” can be replaced with “because”, and “in the event that” can be replaced with “if”.

Use the STAR method

The STAR method is a writing technique used to describe your experience in concrete, actionable terms.

STAR stands for Situation (the overall problem you were faced with), Task (what you were responsible for doing), Action (what you did in the situation), and Result (what you achieved).

STAR is commonly used when writing your resume experience section , but can also be applied to your cover letter to make it more concise and achievement-oriented.

Here’s an example of a cover letter section that applies the STAR method:

When our website was hit with a dip in traffic , my manager tasked me with recovering our rankings . I spearheaded a highly effective Twitter outreach campaign that increased impressions and clicks site-wide by 32% over a two-month period .

4. Adjust your formatting

Have you edited your language to be more concise but still can’t fit your cover letter on one page? Try adjusting your cover letter’s format to be more space-efficient and organized.

First, adjust your cover letter spacing and margins to fit more words on the page. Your cover letter should be single-spaced , and your margins set to 1” all around.

If you’re still having trouble making your cover letter fit, then you might need to adjust your cover letter font . Use a standard, easy-to-read font like Georgia or Arial, and your font size should be between 11 and 12 points.

Lastly, consider shrinking the header of your cover letter to save space (if necessary).

Some online cover letter templates feature large headers to help an applicant’s name stand out. If your cover letter is too long, adjust the header by cutting any unnecessary information or graphics, and shrinking font sizes.

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Conrad Benz

Written by Conrad Benz

Conrad Benz is a Digital Media Specialist & Resume Expert at Resume Genius, where he helps countless job-seekers craft standout resumes and launch their careers. His... more

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Why Include a Cover Letter

Email cover letter length, cover letter word count, use a concise subject line, how to format a cover letter.

Cover letters are an important part of the  job application process . You should  almost always send a cover letter  with a job application unless the hiring manager specifically asks you not to.

However, one thing that is less clear is how long your cover letter should be. If it is too short, employers might think you do not care much about the job. If it is too long, employers might not take the time to read your letter and may not consider you for an interview.

Read below for more advice on how long your cover letter should be, as well as additional advice on writing a strong cover letter.

Should you include a cover letter with your resume? Some employers  require cover letters , and you can find out if they do by reading the job posting. If a cover letter is required, the job advertisement will mention it.

Jobvite's Recruiter Nation Survey reports that only 27% of recruiters said that cover letters are important in their hiring decisions, up from 8% in 2017. A CareerBuilder survey reports that 40% of human resources managers responded that a cover letter would help an applicant get noticed.

Cover letter requirements vary between employers, industries, and the jobs the organization is filling. They also vary depending on whether you're sending an email cover letter, sending a printed letter attachment, or uploading your document.

Even when a cover letter isn't required, it can boost your chances of getting hired if you include one when you apply for a job.

Therefore, only leave out a cover letter when the employer specifically asks you not to send one.

How Long Should Your Cover Letter Be?

Should you keep your cover letter short, or should it be a full page or even longer? Your cover letter should be no longer than one page. If you're sending an email letter, it can be even shorter.

In fact, as far as how long your cover letter should be, shorter is better. The exception would be when an employer requests a letter that's a specific length or number of words.

Your letter should concisely highlight your most relevant qualifications for the job and what you have to offer the employer.

When sending an  email cover letter , it's even more important to be concise. The first paragraph is what readers pay attention to when reading an email. The rest of the message is typically skimmed. Two paragraphs—one that serves as an introduction, and one that explains your qualification for the job—and then a closing is sufficient.

There is no specific word count you should aim for when writing a cover letter (unless the employer gives you a specific word count). Instead of focusing on the number of words, focus on making your cover letter one page or less, with a readable font and font size, and enough white space between paragraphs and in the margins.

Your goal is to  highlight your most relevant qualifications for the job , not to repeat everything that's on your resume.

However, if you use a 12-point font, a full page letter, not including the heading or signature, would be approximately 250 to 400 words.

You might want to hand a printed out version of your cover letter to a friend or family member and ask them if the letter seems too wordy, or too difficult to read.

You can also make your email cover letter stand out with a clear, concise email  subject line . Typically, you want to include the title of the position that you are applying for and your name. For example: Editorial Assistant-John Smith (try to keep it less than 30 characters).

This is about as much as people can see on their mobile devices, which is often how people check their email.

Just as important as the length of your cover letter is the  format . You will want to choose a  font  that is simple and legible (such as Arial, Calibri, Verdana, or Times New Roman) in a readable font size (typically 12 point).

Your  letter should include the following:

Your  margins  should be 1-inch all around, with the text aligned to the left.

You also want to leave space between paragraphs in your cover letter , as well as between your salutation and the text (and between your text and the signature), so that your letter is easy to read.

A good rule of thumb is that you always want a  good amount of white space on the paper . This will prevent your letter from looking too cluttered and difficult to read.

Jobvite. " Recruiter Nation Survey ," page 19. Accessed Jan. 3, 2022.

CareerBuilder. " How to Create a Cover Letter That Gets Attention ." Accessed Jan. 3, 2022.

CareerOneStop. " Write Effective Cover Letters ." Accessed Jan. 3, 2022.

Saddleback College. " Your Resume is Your 1st Interview ." Accessed Jan. 3, 2022.

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How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

Do you intend to make a cover letter with an unlimited description of your strengths? Stop! Check out our guide to learn the appropriate length for your copy.

If you want to create a successful cover letter, it is essential to consider a modest number of factors. Your potential employer is likely to come across dozens of resumes of the same type every week, so a poorly written text with the wrong length can evoke absolutely no emotion. How to avoid this? There are a couple of tricks that a lot of job seekers are not aware of. In this article, we learn how long should a cover letter be. We also cover some tips about the appropriate content, and structure of your future email. With such an approach, you will have more chances to interest your employer.

Why Does the Specific Length of a Cover Letter Matter?

It’s not so easy to compose the perfect cover letter that will serve as a ticket for your dream job. It is important to keep in mind that it should not be too long. This length should match the mandatory structure you compiled, but yet, it is worth sticking to brevity. The letter should be read easily and naturally. Try to adhere to the formal tone, but do not forget about friendliness. Consider what type of activity interests you. If you are a police officer , do not forget about professional tone. If you are looking for a nanny job , you don’t have to act like a naval admiral. Use a positioning and soft tone when describing your strengths that will come in handy when working as a nanny. So you have a better idea of ​​the correct cover letter, consider following the structure below.

Cover Letter Structure

The letter you wrote should adhere to a certain standard of design and include the following items, which are taken in turn:

The length of these sections may vary. For example, sometimes the 4th point can be the longest one; meanwhile, in others you can write more about the 5th. It depends on the idea you want to share. The main point is that all of these sections are important and must be present in the letter. Also, try not to be too wordy put emphasis on your strengths, but yet not to make it look like boasting. We found out what structure your letter should include, but how long should it be exactly?

How Many Words Should a Cover Letter Be?

As a rule, the average length of a cover letter should not exceed the range of 200-300 words. This length allows you to provide significant information about yourself, describe your strengths. At the same time, it will be easier for the reader to focus on the information presented, and the reading will not take too much time and effort.

How to ensure the good visual acceptability of the letter? Let’s start with the font size.

It is believed that the most readable font size is from 10 to 12 points. Try to use a classic font such as Calibri, Arial, or the good old Times New Roman. It’s good practice to choose the style and size of the font so that it matches the one you used (or plan to use) for your CV.

Words to include on your cover letter:

When you describe your previous experience, it is important to stand out from the rest of the potential candidates. When writing a letter, try to use the following words:

This will create a neutral tone, the text will be easy to read and perceive.

Should the cover letter be one page?

Well, in 9 cases out of 10, it is customary to write a letter on one page, divided into 3-4 paragraphs. The average time spent reading it is 5-7 seconds. In order to save your future employers time, we recommend to make your letter as short as it possible and keep it 1 page long.

We have a special plan on how to make you look like the perfect applicant.

Is it OK if my Cover Letter is Bigger than One Page?

It depends on whether you want to expand the structure of your letter or not. If it seems to you that it will be necessary to enter details of certain projects that you worked on, then you can consider the option of a two-page letter. But yet, these two pages should be catchy, so the reader stays interested until the very end of it.

The Best Example of Ideal Cover Letter Length

The best way to understand anything is to look through a real-world example. Below, we’ll go through this sample step by step to understand how long should my cover letter be. Say, we have an engineer who wants to join some engineering company:

John Doe Engineer 75 Mitchell Street 4753-957-354 [email protected] Jane Doe

Dear Jane, I am writing to show my interest in the engineering job position. It’s necessary to point out my essential pedantry and logic approach. I think these two skills helped me to achieve my main life goals. Nevertheless, I stay flexible and adapt to different working conditions. Processing layouts and plans are my passion, which is why I chose engineering as a job. I know how to make calculations for project budgets and improve production methods. My life credo is “simplify all the processes if you can”, and I promise that this job skill will help your company to achieve a lot. I have experience in delegating and sharing tasks, because I have worked on a team. When needed, I can strike sail and carry my point. It is necessary to point out that I am a creative person, and I am ready to work hard and try new methods. I care about the quality of my product and always think how to make it more useful for the customer. It is also important for me to do all the tasks on time. Hoping for feedback. Sincerely, John.

This is a typical cover letter length. As you can see, John wrote a concise and coherent text with appropriate length. He provides his contact info at the top of it, including his name, position, address, phone number, and email. Also, note that John also mentioned the addressee. Below we can see three short paragraphs. Here John starts with the reasons why he’s excited about this position. Then, he mentions why he’ll be useful for a company, and why they can benefit with him. Finally, a few kind words and a closer. This letter is easy to read and understand because of the optimal length and structure.

Correct Length Cover Letter: Mistakes to Avoid

Many companies deal with dozens of resumes every day. The hiring manager should examine each candidate letter as fast as possible. Ask yourself: should a cover letter be for a job or for me? Remember that half of the managers will reject your letter if incorrectly executed. The incorrect length of it means that it is too wordy or has a lack of information, respectively. Keep it in mind and follow these simple recommendations while making your cover letter:

Do not talk only about yourself

Me, me, me, me, again and again. Imagine how “interesting” it is to read about a person who speaks only about what a delightfully incredible hero he is. Your employer, of course, wants to know about your strengths, but most of all he is interested in something else. You have a certain word limit so you have to use them wisely. Try to mention what they want to hear from you, not what you want to say: What can you provide the company? Why are you interested in this vacancy? How can your strengths benefit this organization?

Choose your words carefully

Again, you have a certain amount of words, so it is not worth mentioning how you hated your PM in a previous job. In other words, don’t spread unnecessary negative feedback about your previous job. Also, do not focus on the problems that you encountered while mastering your profession. Talk only about your experience, current plans, and the bright future. The unnecessary details about your past remain in the past, anyway.

No need to stretch the letter

There is no need to make your letter too voluminous. Laconicism will be your advantage. As we mentioned above, try not to cross the one-page length line. It will be easy and pleasant for the employer to read a short and informative text.

Sometimes candidates often send their cover letters with a few errors. It relates a certain level of stress to this. This pressure may be because you (probably) have to write several letters for different companies. In any case, you must carefully proofread each of them before sending to the employer.

Wrapping Up

In this article, we learned about the length of the professional cover letter and why it is important. Let’s remember the main points:

You can use Get Cover Letter to compose your own. This service provides the widest selection of different templates and in-depth recommendations for each existing profession. You just need to sign in and fill out a small questionnaire ! The service is designed to work conveniently, quickly and accurately.

No need to hesitate. You can make your letter right now!

We hope this article will help you create the best cover letter with the right length, which will lead you to the work of your dreams and will delight the hiring manager!

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This article was updated on July 15, 2021.

If you’ve applied for several positions, chances are you have been asked to complete a cover letter with your resume.

There are several classes and strategies to help you craft the perfect resume in the corporate world, but what exactly do employers want in a cover letter? 

This article will help you take your cover letter to the next level. Using power words, you can help your cover letter stand out from the crowd and avoid going into the shred pile.

What are power words?

Power words are specific words or phrases used to invoke a psychological or emotional response from the reader. They are used to influence the reader to continue reading or elicit a particular desired response. 

Using power words correctly, you can show the hiring manager that you are serious about the position and have qualifications and experiences that can’t be ignored. 

13 power words to always use in your cover letter

Level up your next application by strategically using these power words and phrases throughout your cover letter.

1. Achieved

Employers want to know about your previous achievements and how they relate to the position you are applying for.

Be sure to focus on your past successes to emphasize your qualifications.

2. Improved

Every workplace could be improved in one way or another.

Potential employers want to see how you have solved previous problems and improved your previous organizations through your leadership and experience.

3. Launched

Use the power word “launched” can draw a recruiter’s eyes in to entice them to see what you have implemented in past experiences.

Launching a new product, service, or initiative shows your ambition and competency. 

4. Under Budget

With our current uncertain economy, corporations are increasingly tightening their budgets—some out of necessity and others out of an abundance of caution.

Using the power words “under budget,” the hiring manager can see you are aware of the need to accomplish tasks and the need to complete them as close to budget as possible.

Being fiscally responsible is extremely important to organizations, and this can separate you from the other candidates.

Like the power word “launched,” “created” also shows initiative and the ability to put forward new ideas and programs.

Organizations are increasingly looking for creative thinkers and able to implement change rather than act as robots on an assembly line.

Do you have experience managing teams or overseeing projects?

Most employees have prior experience working as a line-level employee, but successful managers are highly sought after.

If you managed a project or team, be sure to include this power word in your cover letter.

7. Resolved

Each company experiences issues, which can involve both system or personnel problems.

Being able to resolve an issue and learn from it is a valuable experience that employers desire.

Emphasize your experience with resolving issues and how you learned from it and can utilize this experience in future situations.

8. Mentored

There are plenty of selfish people in the world, but the most successful leaders spend a majority of their time training and mentoring employees.

If you have prior experiencing mentoring employees for upcoming promotional processes or helping others navigate difficulties, your cover letter should showcase this ability.

9. Volunteered

Volunteer work is valuable because it shows the selflessness of a person and their desire to be part of something greater than themselves.

Showcasing your volunteer work will show a recruiter you are a well-rounded individual who enjoys giving back.

10. Influenced

Do you have the ability to create buy-in and move a group of people toward a common goal?

Showing your ability to influence others is a great way to catch the eye of an employer who is sifting through hundreds of cover letters. 

11. Diversity and Inclusion

With an increasing focus on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, any manager needs to understand the need for increased diversity.

Using these power words in your cover letter will show the reader your understanding of the current movement and how you plan to address it in your chain of command.

Foster is a great power word because it can be used to describe several different accomplishments.

As a leader, you can foster change, foster growth, or foster inclusion and cohesiveness in your team. Fostering shows you can implement change and influence others.

13. Orchestrate

The power word “orchestrate” is influential because it immediately shows you have experience overseeing several moving parts.

Bringing different entities together to work towards a common goal is a difficult task that experienced leaders are required to master. 

Use these power words sparingly

With power words, “less is more,” as the saying goes. Avoid stuffing them in every other sentence, or you run the risk of coming across as fake or insincere .

Be genuine in your cover letter and use these power words to bring up topics that make you the best candidate.


4 Cover Letter Examples That’ll Make Writing Yours Way Easier

Hot jobs on the muse.

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We love having examples. It’s so much easier to decorate a cake, build a model, or yes, even write a cover letter when you know what the end product could look like.

SEARCH OPEN JOBS ON THE MUSE! See who’s hiring here , and you can even filter your search by benefits, company size, remote opportunities, and more. Then, sign up for our newsletter and we’ll deliver advice on landing the job right to you.

So that’s what we’re going to give you—all the cover letter examples and tips you need to make yours shine (we’re unfortunately not experts in cake decorating or model building).

Want to get right down to business? Skip ahead to:

The traditional cover letter example

The impact cover letter example, the writing sample cover letter example, the career change cover letter example, bonus cover letter examples, the 3 basic elements of a cover letter, a few more cover letter tips, why bother with a cover letter at all.

I bet when you see a job listing that says “ cover letter optional ,” you breathe a sigh of relief, gleefully submit your resume, and move on. But you’re truly doing yourself a disservice by not including a cover letter (or by writing one that’s super generic or formulaic).

“When you’re writing a resume you’re oftentimes confined by space, by resume speak, by keywords—you’re up against a lot of technical requirements,” says Melody Godfred, a career coach and the founder of Write in Color who’s read thousands of cover letters over the course of her career. “In a cover letter you have an opportunity to craft a narrative that aligns you not only with the position you’re applying to but also the company you’re applying to.”

Whether you’re writing a cover letter for a data scientist or marketing manager position, an internship or a senior-level role, a startup or a Fortune 500 company, you’re going to want to tailor it to the role, company, and culture. A strong, customized cover letter will help you explain your value proposition and stand out from the stack of applicants. If there’s a gap in your resume , you have the opportunity to explain why it’s there. If you’re changing careers, you have the chance to describe why you’re making the switch. If your resume’s pretty dull, a cover letter helps you show some personality . And yes, cover letters still get read .

Does that sound a bit overwhelming? Don’t fret! We’ve got examples of four types of cover letters below: a traditional cover letter , an impact cover letter , a writing sample cover letter , and a career change cover letter . So let’s take a look at these examples, why they work, and how you can use them to craft your own.

A traditional cover letter is similar to what you’d come up with using a position-based cover letter template . It moves in reverse chronological order through your career history, highlighting parts of your past jobs that make you well suited for this position.

You might want to use this type of cover letter if:

The Job Description

Let’s say you’re applying to a paralegal job opening at a law firm. The job description might include:



The Cover Letter Example

Here’s an example of a traditional cover letter you could write for this role—keeping things strictly professional but without sounding too boring or jargon-y:

Dear Ms. Jessica Sanchez,

In my five-year career as a paralegal, I have honed my legal research and writing skills, and the attorneys I’ve worked with have complimented me on my command of case law and litigation support. Spiegel Law Firm’s 20 years in practice proves that the firm has strong values and excellent attorneys, and I’d be eager to join such a talented team.

I currently serve as a paralegal for Chandler, Chandler, and Greene, where I work closely with the partners on a number of high-priority cases. During my time here, I implemented a new calendar system that ensures timely filing of court papers. This system has prevented missed deadlines and allowed for better organization of internal and client meetings.

Previously, as a paralegal for the Neuerburg Law Firm, I received praise for my overall support of the legal team and my positive attitude. While working there, I came up with and implemented a plan for digitizing their old files while still ensuring security and privacy. This led to more efficiency when preparing for client meetings and legal proceedings.

My further qualifications include a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, a paralegal certificate, and training in LexisNexis, Westlaw, and Microsoft Office Suite.

I would love the opportunity to discuss how I can contribute to your legal team. Thank you in advance for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Chase Broadstein [email protected] (222) 222-2222

Download this example

Why This Works

This cover letter is short, sweet, and to the point. It shows the candidate has a knack for getting things done in a thorough and timely matter and a track record for helping out wherever needed. The opening lines also express a genuine interest in this specific firm. Plus, there are some important keywords in there like “calendar system,” “bachelor’s degree,” “paralegal certificate,” and “LexisNexis.”

The impact cover letter puts your accomplishments front and center rather than organizing your paragraphs by past roles. You might use a cover letter like this if:

Let’s say you’ve come across an opening for an email marketing manager . Part of the job description states:

Here’s an example of an impact cover letter where the writer’s hard skills and successes stand out:

Dear Russ Roman,

I have a problem. See, my inbox currently (and embarrassingly) hosts 1,500 unread emails—including newsletters from at least 50 different brands.

But this problem only fuels my passion for creating emails that are worth opening. Because from my perspective, as someone who can barely get through their own stack of mail, that’s a true win.

I’ve been following Vitabe for years, and can proudly say that I open every single email you send to me. I’m a sucker for a good subject line—“Take a Vitamin-ute—We’ll A-B-C You Soon” being my favorite—and the way your email content feels both fun and expert-backed really speaks to me. This is why I’m thrilled to submit my application for a role as email marketing manager at your company.

I have over four years of experience working in the email marketing space. In my current role at Westside Bank, I was able to implement new email campaigns centered around reengaging churned clients. By analyzing data around the types of clients who churn and the engagement of our current email subscribers, as well as A/B testing headlines and newsletter layouts, we were able to increase email subscribers by 15% and convert 30% of those subscribers to purchase our product, a significant increase from the previous year. I also launched a “Your Credit Matters” newsletter focused on educating our clients on how they spend and manage their credit—which became our highest performing campaign in terms of open-rates and click-through to date.

Previously, as a member of the marketing team at Dream Diary Mattresses, I collaborated with the sales and product team to understand how I could best support them in hitting their quarterly goals. One specific project involving creating personalized emails for customers drew more people to come back to our site after 30 days than direct paid ad campaigns, leading to a 112% increase in revenue from the last quarter.

I take the content I write and the calendars I manage seriously, editing and refining beyond detail-oriented and into meticulous territory, and I feel my experience and drive would greatly help Vitabe further develop their email program for success.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Lad Miller [email protected] (987) 654-3210

This sample cover letter concisely highlights the applicant’s most significant, relevant achievements. By adding context to how their projects were created, monitored, and completed, they’re able to show just how results-driven they are and how they’ve successfully leveraged some of the skills the company is looking for.

One thing worth noting: This person didn’t include keywords such as Constant Contact, Google Analytics, HTML, CSS, Photoshop, or Microsoft Excel—all of which are listed in the job description. But those skills are most likely in their resume already, and leaving them out gives them the space to discuss specific projects and tell a story not visible on other parts of their application.

For roles where written communication is key, such as PR, copywriting , or journalism jobs, your cover letter will likely be the first writing sample your future employer sees. So it’s just as important to show your skill set in action through eloquent writing.

Here’s part of a job description for a staff writer position:

Have fun with this one, but triple-check for spelling and grammar mistakes, and make sure you’re showing off your best writing:

Dear Tai Chen,

Since I could walk, I’ve been dancing. And since I could read, I’ve been glued to Arabesque Weekly . At one point, you featured one of my local heroes—a ballerina who struggled with an injury early in her career and went on to become a principal dancer at Pacific Northwest Ballet—and I plastered the article above my childhood bed. It’s still there today.

That article—and so many others you’ve published—taught me that dancing was about more than just pirouettes and arabesques and that the right kind of writer can shed light on aspects of the art that make it surprising, impactful, and universal. I can be that writer.

As an editorial assistant at TheImprovGroup.com for the past two and a half years, my main responsibility was to get all of our content ready to go live on the site. This included fact-checking, proofreading, adding in HTML where necessary, and finding photos, videos, and GIFs that would complement the content and optimize audience engagement. As I tinkered with each post, I became intimately familiar with our internal CMS. Reviewing every single article we published and following reactions and engagement helped me gain a deep understanding of what makes a piece really land with our audience.

But by far my favorite aspect of this role has been writing. Each week, I pitch and write at least one article, from 250-word news items to 900-word advice pieces to even longer profiles, features, and personal essays. I love the challenge of developing pitches that align with the trends we see in the data, reflect with the company’s brand and mission, and allow me to flex my creative muscles.

Collaborating with my team to form the best content library we can has been a dream come true. I would be so excited to use my experience to help Arabesque Weekly achieve its goals. And I hope to one day write a story that another little dance lover tapes to their wall forever.

It would be an honor to be a part of your editorial team, and I look forward to the possibility of discussing the opportunity with you.

Hoping to be your next staff writer,

Marlee Wood [email protected] (555) 666-4433

This candidate is clearly passionate about this specific publication and leads with a unique personal anecdote tied to the company’s mission that demonstrates their ability to tell stories in a compelling way. There are relevant keywords and phrases, sure, but they’re not just thrown in there. Their voice comes through in every sentence, proving this person knows how to communicate effectively and creatively.

Cover letters can play a big part in helping career changers prove their qualifications—especially when it’s unclear how their skills transfer over to this new field.

You might write a career change cover letter if:

Let’s say you’re someone who has experience supporting a sales team as an administrative assistant , and you’re now looking to become a sales representative. You come across a job posting that includes:

Here’s how you might translate your past experience over to this new (and exciting) prospect:

Dear Maria Russo,

The head of sales at Sunshine Inc. was in a bind. She needed six client meetings scheduled, 18 service transactions processed, and a summary of the team’s new lead generation campaign drafted before getting on a flight to Austin—in three hours. So she turned to her cool-headed, sales-savvy administrative assistant for help. That assistant was me. Not only did I execute everything on her to-do list, I did it all before her plane left the ground.

For three years, I worked in lockstep with a busy, growth-oriented sales leader to support the business development team. As the sole administrative assistant in the department, I balanced a swath of competing priorities, ranging from coordinating meetings and inputting data to contacting customers, finalizing transactions, and creating promotional materials. This role helped me develop a comprehensive understanding of the sales cycle, sales strategy, and pipeline growth.

Like many others, my career path hasn’t been entirely straightforward. After leaving Crabapple Media, I enrolled in a local coding bootcamp. Six months later, I emerged with a certificate in computer programming and a certainty that I did not want to be a coder. But education is never wasted. I’m now an aspiring sales representative with experience supporting a thriving sales team and extensive knowledge of the tech space.

Here’s a little bit more about how my experience would translate into this role:

I would, of course, love to schedule a time for us to discuss this role and my experience, and I truly want to thank you for considering me.

All the best, Olu Abiola [email protected] (123) 456-789

The opener draws you in and makes you want to learn more. It toots the person’s horn, but in a way that’s substantiated. Then, the next couple sections explain their experience in the sales space and other relevant qualifications, before eventually tying that back to why they’re applying to this specific job. Similar to the impact cover letter, the author lists some of the more important qualities they bring to the table, doing a bit of keyword inclusion and resume gap explaining along the way.

To further guide you, check out some more cover letter examples:

Let’s break down one of our example cover letters real quick

Check out this handy infographic that breaks down our impact cover letter.

infographic of impact cover letter example pointing out different elements of cover letter

Cover letters are a little like puzzles. When you put each component in its proper place (and remove any parts that don’t fit), you create a complete picture. But even though that picture is always different (as you saw above) a lot of the types of pieces are the same.

In other words, every great cover letter includes the following elements:

1. An Engaging Opener

By opener, we primarily mean your first paragraph: How you start a cover letter is everything. Your opening lines influence whether someone keeps reading—and you want them to, right?

“Starting with something that immediately connects you to the company is essential—something that tells the company that this is not a generic cover letter,” Godfred says. “You have to say something that tells the employer, ‘I wrote this just for you.’”

It can be a childhood memory tying you back to the company’s mission. It can be a story about the time you fell in love with the company’s product. It can be an anecdote from another job or experience showing how hard of a worker you are. Whatever you decide to open with, make it memorable.

2. A Clear Pitch

Use the next few paragraphs of your cover letter to “hit them with the strongest results you have that are aligned with the opportunity,” Godfred says. Ryan Kahn —Muse career coach and founder of The Hired Group —calls this your pitch. In other words, the part where you’re “selling yourself for the position and why you’re qualified for it.” Additionally, Godfred says, “If you’re someone who’s transitioning careers, and you need to explain that transition, you do it there.”

This section should have a balance of soft and hard skills , Godfred says. Talk about your experience using Salesforce or doing SEO work, but also highlight your ability to lead teams and communicate effectively. “Companies are embracing authenticity, they’re embracing humanity, they’re looking for people who are going to fit their culture. So what are your values? What do you stand for?” says Godfred. These values should be as much a part of your cover letter as the super specialized hard skills.

3. A Great Closing Line

Your closing line could include your next steps, Kahn says, such as “I welcome the opportunity to speak with you more about how I can contribute to [team],” or, “I would love to schedule a time for us to discuss this role and my experience.” But more importantly, “You want to make sure that you’re gracious and thanking them,” he says. While seemingly cliché , it never hurts to end on a simple, “Thank you for your consideration.”

Here are a few more tips to help the cover letter process:

Hopefully these cover letter examples help as you go to tackle your own. Remember: This is just one small step in the process! Take your time, but learn to move on when you’ve given it your all.

Regina Borsellino contributed writing, reporting, and/or advice to this article.

how many words should be in a cover letter

How to write a cover letter

Skip to: 

What is a cover letter and why is it important?

When do you need a cover letter, how should you structure your cover letter, what should go in your cover letter.

A cover letter is a letter that you write about yourself and submit alongside your CV when applying for a job. Within it, you explain why you’re the right candidate for that role, based on your experience and skills. 

A potential employer might use a cover letter as an introduction to you before moving on to your CV, so it’s important to make a strong impression.

Just like you would tailor your CV to the specific role you’re applying for, you should write a cover letter with a particular job in mind. The concise structure of a CV can make it hard to stand out. But the structure of a cover letter gives you more room to showcase your skills and personality. 

A job application will tell you whether you need to include a cover letter or not. Most applications do ask you to, or some may get you to fill out some online questions instead. You probably won’t need a cover letter for a part-time job as a student, for example.

If a job description doesn’t say anything about a cover letter, play it safe and include one just in case. It’s a great opportunity to demonstrate your skills and show you’ve gone the extra mile.

A cover letter should be roughly one side of A4 and broken up into short paragraphs so it’s easy to read. Just like your CV, stick to a sensible font type, size, and colour.

Ideally, you should submit it as a PDF version with a clear filename, so it always looks the same regardless of the device it’s opened on.

Contact details

You should include the same contact information at the top of your cover letter as you would for your CV, in case it gets separated.

Who to address your cover letter to

Ideally, you want to address your cover letter to the specific person who will be reading it. The job listing should say who this is. This might someone who works in HR or the person you will report to if you get the job.

If the job listing doesn’t clarify who this is, don’t be afraid to get in touch directly by phone or email. This shows initiative and is an early opportunity to make a personal connection, which can work in your favour.

If you’re struggling to find an individual to address your cover letter to, you should write ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘To whom it may concern’ instead.

Clarify the role you're applying to

Begin by stating the role you are applying for. Sometimes it can be useful to say how you heard about the role, whether it was on a particular website or through someone you know..

I am writing to apply for the Data Analyst position in your organisation, as advertised on your website.

Now you’ve clarified the role you’re applying for; you can highlight why you’re the right candidate for it.

Describe yourself and your experience

Next, say who you are – easy, right? You don’t need to tack on any bells and whistles.

If you’re a school or college student applying for a part-time job, say where you go to school, what year you’re in, and what you’re studying. You may want to drop in your future plans (if you have any).

I’m in my second year of my A-levels at St John’s College, studying English, biology, and drama. I've received a conditional offer from the University of Sussex to study English and drama in September.

If you’re a graduate applying for your first job out of uni – say where you’ve graduated from, your qualification and grade.

I’m a graduate of the University of Sussex with a first class bachelor’s degree in English and Drama.

If you've taken a gap year, include what you did and how this has made you a stronger candidate for the role.

For example

I’ve spent the last six months volunteering in Ethiopia, leading a missionary programme – a role that’s been personally fulfilling, and has equipped me with a range of skills that I’m excited to bring to a role like this, including motivating a team and problem-solving.

If you’re currently working and applying for another job, outline the field you’ve been working in, including some of your key responsibilities.

I’ve been working in digital marketing for a charity for the past three years. My main responsibilities are email marketing, social media management, and content creation.

By highlighting a few of the areas you’ve been involved with, you may be kept in mind for another role if you're unsuccessful here.

Why you’re looking for a new role

You will want to touch on why you’re applying to this role, especially if you’re currently employed. Below are some tips about tailoring this to the role you're applying to.

Demonstrate your key achievements

Now it’s time to show what you’ve done or achieved up to now, and how this makes you the perfect fit for the role in question (including any standout achievements or stats to back this up).

Don’t forget to relate these to the key skills or knowledge that have been set out in the job description and use the extra space to elaborate on these. Don’t just repeat your CV word for word.

As editor of the university newspaper, I was responsible for overseeing the production of over 40 issues, including sourcing exciting new contributors and managing strict budgets. In that time, the paper won several awards for its investigation into X.

If you’re currently working and applying for another job, you’ll have already mentioned the general areas you have experience in, but now it’s time to highlight the impact you’ve made.

After just a few months of completing the company’s graduate scheme, I was promoted to the role of account manager for several clients across different sectors, involving planning, implementing, and reporting on all their paid display activity. While it was challenging, I’ve continued to meet key targets. My ability to manage clients’ expectations satisfactorily was pulled out as a key strength in a recent client review survey.

You might want to back this up with key statistics:

One client has seen sign-ups climb 31% in a year since I’ve led on their account, resulting in a 5% growth in annual revenue.

Or being part of a project that's been big news in your field.

I was part of the team that worked on Project X, which received critical acclaim within the X industry. I was specifically responsible for overseeing X, Y, and Z in this project. This wonderful experience early in my career was capped off by winning an X award for Y.

Why that company/organisation/field?

This is your opportunity to show you’ve taken some initiative, done your research, and are passionate about getting this role especially. You want to prove this isn’t just another application you’ve churned out. Is there something about this role that makes it stand out from similar roles elsewhere?

The chance to apply my skills and collaborate with Dr Jane Smith and her team is one I couldn’t let slip. Also, the opportunities to grow in this organisation through X, Y, and Z fill me with confidence.

Is the organisation entering a particularly significant period that you’re keen to be a part of (and most importantly, that you feel you can contribute to in a big way)?

The organisation’s expansion into South America is something I would be thrilled to be a part of. My sixth-month stint in Mexico delivering the X project gave me a whole new perspective on this market but was all too short. Returning to the continent with the experience I now have would be a fresh, exciting challenge.

Is the role or organisation involved in something you’re personally invested in?

A family member’s recent experience with X has given me a whole new appreciation of the work Y do. I have been volunteering for Z for the past six months, something that has been a great source of fulfilment. To contribute further in a professional capacity would be all the more rewarding, while I believe my distinctive perspective would benefit the work I do and the organisation as a result.

This is where it may help to mention any ambitions or goals you have for the future, although be careful not to take your eye off the role you’re applying for.

Conclusion: reiterate with impact

Finish up with a short, punchy conclusion reiterating some of the key aspects you’ve outlined above.

Do this in a way that will make an employer excited to meet you for an interview (or at least get across your enthusiasm to meet them and learn more about the role).

If you’ve addressed your cover letter to a specific individual, sign off with ‘Yours sincerely.' If you don’t know the name of the recipient, stick to ‘Yours faithfully.'

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How Long Should a Cover Letter Be in 2023? (+Examples)

Kaja Jurčišinová — Staff Writer

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.

How long should a cover letter be by Kickresume

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

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 short by Kickresume

Cover letter example 2: Medium version: Between half a page and a page

Cover Letter Example medium by Kickresume

Cover letter example 3: Long version: A page

Cover leter example long by Kickresume

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:

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:

Email cover letter length examples

Email cover letter example 1.

how many words should be in a cover letter

Email cover letter example 2

Email cover letter example 2

Email cover letter example 3

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 Jurčišinová — Staff Writer

Kaja Jurčišinová

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? (Examples)

300+ Interview Questions Answered.

300+ Interview Questions with Expert Answers.

How long should your cover letter be

If you’re wondering how long a cover letter should be, this article has everything you need to know (including exactly how many words to make your cover letter).

I’m going to share why most job seekers are making their cover letters far too long, and why you will likely get more job interviews by writing less in your cover letter.

Let’s get started…

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

Cover letters should be one page long and total 75 to 250 words. This recommendation applies to both printed and email cover letters. It’s okay if your cover letter doesn’t take up an entire page, but it should never exceed one full page.

Job seekers needing to explain gaps in employment , a recent change in career path, etc., may want to utilize more words in their cover letter than someone with a more standard background.

A job seeker who is staying within their current industry and career path (e.g. moving from Software Engineer to Senior Software Engineer) and not needing to explain a lengthy work gap should aim to be on the lower end of the recommended cover letter word count mentioned above — somewhere between 70 and 150 words.

As an example, my favorite cover letter template from Harvard Business Review has only 76 words:

How long should a cover letter be - example of ideal word count

As you customize this cover letter, the word count will likely rise a bit, but it’ll remain much shorter than what most job seekers send. And that’s a good thing!

This type of letter is going to be very different than what most job seekers are sending and what you’ve seen recommended online, and that’s often a plus.

Coming up soon, I’ll explain why a shorter cover letter may improve your odds of hearing back on a job application.

How Many Paragraphs Should a Cover Letter Include?

The typical cover letter should contain three to six paragraphs. Each paragraph should be relatively short, containing two to four sentences. This is especially important in the first paragraph of your cover letter, where you want to entice the reader and encourage them to keep reading by providing a short, punchy opening.

In general, when writing to grab someone’s attention, focus heavily on making the first paragraph compelling, because this is your first impression or “elevator pitch,” for why they should keep reading.

Now that you know how long a cover letter should be, let’s look at some specific benefits of using this length, which is shorter than some people recommend.

Reasons to Consider a Shorter Cover Letter

Now that you know how many words a cover letter should be, let’s talk about why I recommend this as the ideal length, even though some career experts recommend your cover letter be longer.

There are four things that happen when you keep your cover letter relatively short…

1. You Stand Out by Being Different

Here’s an example of a typical full-page cover letter that many job seekers are sending:

how many words should be in a cover letter

If you’ve sent something like that in the past, it’s NOT your fault…

Almost every website with cover letter templates recommends this format, and it’s what you’re constantly told to send.

But that’s the beauty of limiting your cover letter to my ideal cover letter length of 75 to 250 words. It’s different than what everyone else is doing!

From the first glance, you’re showing the hiring manager that your cover letter is unique and worth reading closely . You show that you’re not going to bore them half to sleep with yet another generic letter containing info from a template or info that’s already on your resume.

Whereas, if you send a full-page cover letter like the image/example above, the hiring manager is thinking, “Okay, here’s another huge page of info to read through that’s probably based on a template.”

This happens to them over and over, all day.

That brings me to my next benefit…

2. You Get Your Cover Letter Read (Not Skimmed!)

Most job seekers send cover letters that so long-winded that nobody wants to read them. The hiring manager may read to the second or third paragraph, but they’re unlikely to through to the end.

Beyond that, job hunters send cover letters that repeat information from their resume, which doesn’t provide any value to the hiring manager or recruiter.

But because your cover letter is short, and ideally has small paragraphs, it’s inviting to read. Hiring managers open your email or letter and think, “Great, I can read this no problem.”

So they read your cover letter from start to finish without skipping a word!

This is why you should always send the hiring manager a short cover letter where each line has a purpose and message and does something to sell them on why you deserve the interview.

You don’t have to take my word for it, though. Test it! Send half of your cover letters in the standard, full-page style seen above, but with the other half, test what I’m suggesting here. Greatly reduce the word count, get right to the point, only offer info that’s not on your resume.

We’ve now looked at two reasons why the full-page cover letter is not the ideal length/approach. But I’ve got two more reasons for you…

3. You Draw Attention to Your Strongest Points/Skills

If you’re naming 20 different skills and qualifications in your cover letter, it’s hard for a recruiter or hiring manager to pick out the most important pieces.

Whereas, if you just name your three or four strongest arguments for why you’d be a great fit for their job description, those points will stand out (and get read, as mentioned above).

Sometimes less is more, and with cover letters, it’s often the case!

So this is another factor to consider when deciding how long your cover letter should be.

4. You Get Your “Call to Action” Read So You Win More Interviews

Finally, you should end each cover letter with a “Call to Action,” which I’ll explain in the next section.

This is where you ask for the interview, which is something many job seekers don’t do properly (or don’t do at all) in their cover letter.

And by keeping your letter brief, this closing paragraph comes relatively quickly… sometimes as the third or fourth paragraph… so it’s much more likely to get the reader’s full attention which means you’ll get more interviews.

Recommended Cover Letter Font Size

The best font size for your cover letter is 12 points, whether you’re sending a printed or an email cover letter. Avoid fancy fonts and choose a simple, easy-to-read font like Calibri or Arial. Include plenty of white space and small, punchy paragraphs. It’s better to have multiple, concise paragraphs in your cover letter than one or two very long paragraphs. This helps with readability.

How to End Your Cover Letter: Ask for the Interview

This is one other mistake a lot of job seekers make with their cover letters, along with repeating info on the resume and just being far too long-winded. They don’t ask for the interview in their closing paragraph!

The whole point of the cover letter is to win you job interviews . So after you’ve got the specific word count you want, make sure to finish up by actually asking the hiring manager to call you and set up a time to discuss in more detail!

Here’s an example of how you could conclude an email cover letter:

I’d love to discuss the position over the phone and provide a bit more context for how I can help you in this role. Are you available for a phone call later this week or early next week? My phone number is 555-218-4987.

Or, simply use the cover letter conclusion from the first example in this article, from Harvard Business Review:

I have attached my resume for your review and would welcome the chance to speak with you sometime.

However, I prefer a slightly stronger conclusion to a cover letter that really prompts the hiring manager to reply to a direct question. That should get you more responses from your cover letter, no matter your cover letter length!

Conclusion: How Many Words Should a Cover Letter Be?

To reiterate how long a cover letter should be, I recommend sticking to 250 words or less and never exceeding one page.

It’s beneficial to keep your letter short and concise for both a printed cover letter and a cover letter sent by email.

The shorter format allows you to focus on your strongest points and grab the hiring manager’s attention without overwhelming them with too much text or info. This will help you get more interviews and separate you from other job seekers who send long, generic, cut-and-paste cover letters with their applications.

However, as mentioned earlier, the length of your cover letter will vary depending on the industry (in a very formal, traditional industry, you may want to go for a slightly longer word count).

If you have an unusual scenario to explain, then your ideal cover letter length may be longer, too.

So don’t take the advice above as a hard-and-fast rule, but just a general guideline on how long a typical cover letter should be to win more job interviews.

As a final step, make sure to proofread everything! Sending a cover letter with a typo or mistake can cost you the job interview even if you have great qualifications and writing style.

More cover letter resources:

Popular Interview Questions

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4 Examples of How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” in Interviews.

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Best Answers to "Why Should We Hire You?" (4 Samples).

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Biron Clark

Biron Clark

Biron Clark is a former executive recruiter who has worked individually with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.

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Home Cover Letter Help How Long Should a Cover Letter Be

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be in 2020?

Lauren McAdams

Cover letters are an essential part of the job hunting and application process.

If you’re applying for a job, you should almost always include a cover letter that you’ve tailored specifically for the position, along with your resume.

However, it can be difficult to know how for sure to format it, which font to use, and particularly, how long it should be.

If your cover letter is too long, it may be overlooked or ignored, as many hiring managers don’t want to waste time reading long-winded self-introductions. If it’s too short, they may think you don’t care too much about the job and that you simply phoned it in.

Luckily, the Resume Companion team knows exactly how long your cover letter should be – down to the word count – no matter if it’s printed, email, or otherwise.

How Long Should Your Cover Letter Be?

Email cover letter length, keep it short, additional resources.

Your cover letter should be one page long, or shorter, depending on your relevant qualifications and what kind of experience you can offer the employer. Email cover letters can be even shorter, as employers expect email correspondence to be brief and to the point.

As a general rule, your cover letter should be as short as possible, while ensuring that you’re still including all of the necessary information and sticking to good cover letter format.

In fact, studies have shown that the vast majority of hiring managers tend to prefer cover letters to be between a half page and one page in length.

A job applicant writing a one-page cover letter

How Many Words Should a Cover Letter Be?

Unless the employer specifies an exact word count for your cover letter (which is rare!), there is no specific word count you should try to hit.

Instead, focus on making your cover letter between a half page and one page long, while ensuring that you make yourself look like the best fit possible.

If you follow good cover letter format guidelines – keeping your margins around one inch and your font around 12-point size – a one page cover letter should be around 300 words. However, this will vary depending on your particular font, size, and margins, as well as the words you use.

If your cover letter is fewer than 300 words, it’s not a problem unless you didn’t adequately emphasize how your skills and experience could benefit the company.

But if it’s more than 300 words, you may want to think about trimming it down a bit – unless it still fits on one page and you’re certain that every piece of information is necessary.

Cover Letter Paragraphs

A good cover letter should include four separate paragraphs:

While this is the foundation of a great cover letter, feel free to add or remove a paragraph (or even try bullet points!) if the above format doesn’t adequately express your skills and experience.

Cover letters sent directly by email (that is, typed into the email body, not added as an attachment) should be much shorter than those made in a separate document.

Nearly everyone receives dozens of emails every day, and most of them either go unread or are quickly dismissed to an endless list of Read emails or to the trash bin. Thus, it’s extremely important that your email cover letter is concise and to the point.

For starters, you can omit the cover letter heading (which includes your name and contact information) and date, as these things will be included in the email automatically.

You can also omit the hiring manager’s name, address, and phone number, and these pieces of information are made somewhat redundant by email.

Finally, the intro paragraph of your email cover letter should be brief and compelling. Due to the nature of email, many hiring managers probably won’t read past the first couple lines before dismissing, so you need to grab their attention immediately.

A hiring manager looking through email cover letters on his phone

Try to skip the niceties and get right to the point – who you are, your level of experience, and the job you’re applying for.

Your cover letter is supposed to complement your resume and fill in the details that aren’t and can’t be included in the resume.

That being said, it is by no means a place to tell your life story.

Do the hiring manager a favor and keep it short – one page or less.

Not only will your cover letter look more professional, it will be more likely to hold the employer’s attention and give you the best shot at landing the job you want.

If you’re having trouble writing a great cover letter, let our fast and easy cover letter builder make you the perfect cover letter in minutes.

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Cover Letters

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How Long Should a Cover Letter Be [Ideal Cover Letter Length]

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be [Ideal Cover Letter Length]

How long should a cover letter be is one of life’s mysteries. Until you read this guide. Discover the best cover letter length, no matter what job you’re applying for.

Jacques Buffett, CPRW

Picture it, you’ve crafted the perfect cover letter for that job application. Your writing skills would put Jane Austen to shame. But—

If it’s too short, you’ve undersold yourself. Too long and time-poor recruiters won’t even read it.

All that hard work will end up in the bin next to the remains of the chicken and avocado wrap they just had for lunch.

But what if you could discover the Goldilocks zone with a cover letter length that’s just right?

Interested? Then let’s dive right in.

Want to write your cover letter fast? Use our cover letter builder. Choose from  20+ professional cover letter templates  that match your CV. See actionable examples and get expert tips along the way.

Create your cover letter now

sample resume and cover letter set

Sample Cover Letter for a CV— See more cover letter templates and create your cover letter here .

And when you've finished looking at how long a cover letter should be, take a look at our other guides:

Ideal Cover Letter Length in a Nutshell

A cover letter should be between half a page and one page long. Divide the page into 3–4 short paragraphs and by word count, your covering letter should be 250–300 words, depending on your experience.

Bear in mind what a cover letter is for. It introduces you as a candidate and needs to grab the recruiter’s attention, showing them how the company will benefit from hiring you.

Also, consider that recruiters get 75 applications for every vacancy . They just don’t have the time to read more. So you need to strike a balancing act between cover letter length and making sure you’ve included enough information to ensure their interest is piqued. A survey carried out by Saddleback College revealed 70% of employers preferred a half-page cover letter or took “the shorter the better” approach.

Here are those numbers again for reference.

Best Cover Letter Length

And here’s an example of a cover letter with the ideal page, paragraph and word count.

Example of a Cover Letter With the Perfect Length

how long should a cover letter be

Your CV needs to be the right length too. Read more: How Long Should a CV Be? Best Page Length

Now for some tips on how to achieve that.

How to Keep Your Cover Letter Short and Sweet

Think of your knowledge and experience as a big pot of tasty chicken soup. A good cover letter boils that down to a super-concentrated stock cube. Here’s how to do it.

Don’t Stress About Word Count

How many words should a cover letter be? Typically, the cover letter word count is 250-300. Do yourself a favour and don’t count every word. Let your cover letter formatting do that for you. 

Follow these cover letter layout rules.

With those settings, 250 words will fill roughly half a page. No need to count each and every one.

One exception to this rule. If the job advert clearly states a word limit then double-check that you’ve met it. Failing to follow instructions in a job application is a one-way road to rejection.

Do Stick to 3–4 Paragraphs

You’ll find it much easier to craft that nugget of job-winning brilliance if you stick to a clear structure. Here’s how.

Use that framework and you’ll have a cover letter that proves good things come in small packages.

Be PAR For The Course

When writing about your achievements stick to the PAR formula . Problem, Action, Result. Here’s an example.

Overhauled an underperforming sales team  (Problem)  by introducing new employee incentives, improving motivation  (Action) , resulting in a 30 percent increase in sales within one quarter.  (Result)

With the right structure, you can pack everything into as small a space as possible.

Stay on Target

Keep your cover letter length down by choosing your content carefully and target it to the job you’re applying for. Before you start writing, read the job advert mindfully and note the most important skills and duties for the role.

Then cherry-pick the achievements in your CV that’ll be most applicable and expand on those. With a little preparation, you’ll ensure you keep your cover letter relevant and concise

Now that you know how long a cover letter should be you can write it in our builder. Here’s a sample.

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your CV will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here.  Here's what it may look like:

matching set of cv and cover letter

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

Get your cover letter format right too. Read more here: How to Format a Cover Letter [Examples & Step-by-Step Guide]

Key Takeaway

Here’s how long a cover letter should be:

And remember to use that space wisely. Show why you’re the best candidate for this company and this job.

Still struggling to slim down your cover letter? Got any tips to share? Any questions at all, give us a shout in the comments section. We’re happy to help.

Jacques Buffett, CPRW

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    Cover Letter Don'ts. Mistake #1: Don't Overuse "I" Your cover letter is not your autobiography. The focus should be on how you meet an employer's needs, not on your life story. Avoid the perception of being self-centered by minimizing your use of the word "I," especially at the beginning of your sentences. Mistake #2: Don't Use a Weak Opening ...

  6. 70+ Words to Use in a Cover Letter

    70+ Words to Use in a Cover Letter November 26, 2021 | By Eva Chan, CPRW | Reviewed by Geoffrey Scott, CPRW A well-written cover letter makes a recruiter interested in you by instantly grabbing their attention and communicating why you're the right person for the job.

  7. How Many Words Should A Cover Letter Be? (Career Advice)

    How Many Words Should A Cover Letter Be? The short answer: Not too many. You want to keep your cover letter as short as possible, while still including all the necessary information. The ideal length for your cover letter should be about one page long, or 500-600 words. This way you can get right to the point in under a minute!

  8. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

    More specifically, limit your cover letter to three or four concise paragraphs, or 250-400 words in total. This cover letter length gives you enough space to communicate your experience and convey your interest in applying while also maintaining the interest of the hiring manager.

  9. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

    However, if you use a 12-point font, a full page letter, not including the heading or signature, would be approximately 250 to 400 words. Note You might want to hand a printed out version of your cover letter to a friend or family member and ask them if the letter seems too wordy, or too difficult to read. Use a Concise Subject Line

  10. 15 Words and Phrases to Never Include in a Cover Letter

    Here are 15 words and phrases that are simply dragging your cover letter down. Cut 'em! Take the expert advice below to craft the best cover letter possible and let your personality, not robotic prose, shine through. 1. "To Whom It May Concern" Generic salutations, while professional, can be a bit sterile.

  11. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? [Ideal Word Length & Best Tips]

    How Many Words Should a Cover Letter Be? As a rule, the average length of a cover letter should not exceed the range of 200-300 words. This length allows you to provide significant information about yourself, describe your strengths. At the same time, it will be easier for the reader to focus on the information presented, and the reading will ...

  12. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? Length and Word Count

    How long a cover letter should be in a nutshell: Stick to these limits: 0.5 or 1 page, 200-400 words, and 3-4 paragraphs. You'll have enough chance to speak about your strength and convince recruiters they're what they've been looking for. Format your letter to give yourself an advantage.

  13. 13 power words you should always include in a cover letter

    13 power words to always use in your cover letter Level up your next application by strategically using these power words and phrases throughout your cover letter. 1. Achieved Employers...

  14. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? The Ideal Length in 2023

    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. Here are the numbers to benchmark your cover letter against: Why so short?, you might ask.

  15. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? (With Tips)

    The ideal cover letter should typically be between 250 and 400 words. This way, you can keep the letter brief and informative at the same time. However, employers have different requirements, so it's difficult to recommend a standard word count for cover letters.

  16. The Best Cover Letter Examples for Any Job Seeker

    The Cover Letter Example. Here's an example of an impact cover letter where the writer's hard skills and successes stand out: Dear Russ Roman, I have a problem. See, my inbox currently (and embarrassingly) hosts 1,500 unread emails—including newsletters from at least 50 different brands.

  17. How to Write a Cover Letter

    A cover letter should be roughly one side of A4 and broken up into short paragraphs so it's easy to read. Just like your CV, stick to a sensible font type, size, and colour. Ideally, you should submit it as a PDF version with a clear filename, so it always looks the same regardless of the device it's opened on. What should go in your cover letter?

  18. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be in 2023? (+Examples)

    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.

  19. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

    Cover letters should be short and direct. In order to do so, think about the highlights of your career, and only include one or two. Add a particular project that you led or a good record of sales or customer interactions. Use numbers when you can. Numbers help hiring managers put your career into perspective.

  20. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? (Examples)

    Cover letters should be one page long and total 75 to 250 words. This recommendation applies to both printed and email cover letters. It's okay if your cover letter doesn't take up an entire page, but it should never exceed one full page.

  21. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

    Cover letters should be a page in length and no more than four paragraphs. Here are 7 tips that can help you organize your thoughts and reach the perfect cover letter length: Check the requirements Include your contact information Briefly acknowledge the reader Keep paragraphs short and focused

  22. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be in 2020?

    Instead, focus on making your cover letter between a half page and one page long, while ensuring that you make yourself look like the best fit possible. If you follow good cover letter format guidelines - keeping your margins around one inch and your font around 12-point size - a one page cover letter should be around 300 words.

  23. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be [Ideal Cover Letter Length]

    Ideal Cover Letter Length in a Nutshell A cover letter should be between half a page and one page long. Divide the page into 3-4 short paragraphs and by word count, your covering letter should be 250-300 words, depending on your experience. Bear in mind what a cover letter is for.