How long should my cover letter be?
The ideal cover letter will be between 250 and 400 words. This might not seem like a lot, but the best and most effective cover letters are shorter and more direct. This is because the hiring managers who are ploughing through 70 or 80 applications simply don’t have the time available to read through long cover letters. Communicating effectively and succinctly helps make a good impression.
Partnered with a polished and well written CV, a good cover letter can help you get noticed and improve your chances of getting the job. While the CV is the place for outlining your qualifications, employment history and experiences, the cover letter represents an opportunity to paint a picture of who you are and what is important to you.
Often when people write cover letters, they feel they need to be comprehensive, as they want to get across as much detail as possible that they were not able to fit into the CV itself. Writing a two-page cover letter will get you nowhere, however, as the recruiter might not have enough time to read it. Similarly, if the letter is too short, they might assume you didn't put in a full effort. The perfect word count, therefore, is right between 250 and 400 words.
ProWritingAid checks your cover letter and lets you know if it's too short, too long, or just right so you can feel confident submitting your job application.
## How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter
With a word count that is limited to around 400 words, how do you make sure your cover letter is as effective as possible?
#1: Stick to a Single Page
Make sure you fit those 400 words onto one page. Once you have included your contact details and signature and divided the letter into three clear paragraphs, you should ensure that you have a sensible sized font and that you never roll onto a second page.
#2. Divide into Three Paragraphs
You should divide your cover letter into three clear paragraphs. The first paragraph is for expressing an interest in the position, your knowledge of the company and a brief introduction as to why you would be a good fit.
The second paragraph is then about telling a brief story to impress upon the hiring manager your qualifications for the job (for example, how you grew sales by 125% at your previous job ) and confirming what you would bring to their company. Some people like to use bullet points in their CV as a way of getting information across even more quickly and succinctly. The second paragraph is the place to do this.
Finally, the third paragraph should circle back to your knowledge of the company and how you understand who they are and what they are looking for and how you are looking for the same things. You should then draw things to a close by thanking the reader and inserting a call to action. Usually this would involve suggesting an in-person meeting - to move the process on.
#3. Keep It Simple
Although you want to appear professional, the cover letter does not have to be as formal as the CV. The whole point of keeping your cover letter concise is so that the hiring manager doesn’t have to put in much extra effort. Write as you speak and aim for the reader (AKA, the hiring manager) to feel as if they are having a conversation with you.