How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?
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.
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.
Don’t Reveal Everything
While you may have many great accomplishments that you want to showcase in your cover letter, don’t reveal them all. You’ve likely prepared a professional CV to go with your cover letter, so let the CV do some of the work.
4. Use the STAR Technique
The STAR technique– a method of writing cover letters and job application form answers – is the most effective writing method to specifically showcase your ability to achieve results.
This works when you dedicate only one paragraph to STAR. In just one paragraph, you can demonstrate how you can provide value to employers to great effect. As such, you might find that you don’t need an excessive word count to show off your capabilities.
The STAR method consists of Situation, Task, Action, Result. The idea of this methodology is simple: you start by describing a situation you faced (a problem, maybe), then you touch on the task (your role in reacting to this situation). Following this, describe the action (what you did), and then explain the result (the benefit/achievement) of your actions.
In my most recent role, I was informed by my employer that I was required to deliver a £10k cost saving within 6 months. In response to this, I decided to review our network of suppliers and consider alternatives. Following comprehensive analysis and reviews with team members, I consolidated a number of suppliers and eliminated suppliers who were unreliable. This generated a cost saving of £18k.
Notice how the example above shows the individual’s ability to deliver results and make positive impacts on organisations in just one paragraph. Use the STAR approach to ensure your cover letter makes a powerful impact without a high word count.
5. Use Spacing
Ignoring your word processor’s spacing function can make for a very poor reading experience. If you don’t add enough spacing to your cover letter, the text will look like one huge paragraph. Your cover letter should use enough space to ensure that the paragraphs are clearly identifiable as separate paragraphs.
We recommend adding 8 pt. of spacing between your paragraphs. To do this in Microsoft Word, highlight the paragraphs, click ‘Layout’, and then alter the ‘After’ option in the ‘Spacing’ section to 8 pt.
6. Change the Font Size
If you’re struggling to write enough content to fill the page, increase the font size. Although don’t exceed 12 point font size. Anything above 12 will look unprofessional. Likewise, font sizes lower than 10 will prove too difficult to read.
How long should it be?
The perfect length for a cover letter should be between a full page and a half page. A cover letter of this length is brief but contains enough information to determine whether you’ll be considered for an interview or not. There is no standard length when it comes to a cover letter. The only things to avoid are extremes – it should not be too long or too short. For example, don’t write a quarter-page or two pages. Even a full page is still too long, and such cover letters convince the manager that there might be a next page.
So, to give your cover letter the ideal length that’ll catch the hiring manager’s eye, ensure that it takes about 75% of the entire page. The rest percentage should be a blank space! This creates an eye-catching balance.
How to keep your cover letter short
Keep it brief
While the cover letter is the perfect way to unveil your personality, it is very important to keep it brief. These managers are sifting through thousands of applications. They have no time to go through a long article about your daily activities. Rather, point up relevant experience that can qualify you for the specific job.
Focus on the relevant experiences
Unless the hiring manager specifies the word count, keep it short. Use only the required space to show that you are the perfect candidate for the role. Pinpoint only the relevant experience. Always be specific rather than regurgitating the content on your resume.
Briefly showcase how your experience can help the industry sort the challenges they’re facing and how you’ll use your experience if given a chance. This will be a short paragraph but very informative. Apart from keeping your cover letter short, the hiring manager will easily understand the impact you can bring to their company.
Split your cover letter into three
Cover letters vary based on the personal experience level. If you are seeking a job out of college, it is advisable not to include metrics measured in schools like GPA unless asked to do so. Rather, you should focus on your professionalism and achievement, making you an ideal candidate.
Pick the right format.
The right format helps you write the cover letter with the right length. Focus on the amount of space on the page. Don’t limit yourself. After all, it should be a one-page cover letter.
When it comes to margin, it’s recommendable to use a 1-inch margin. Font size should be 10 to 12–points. This is the perfect font size and can keep your writing on one page. Additionally, it gives your cover letter a professional look.