How long should a cover letter be? If you are unemployed and you’re sending applications left and right, then for sure this question came to your mind. Well, that’s a great question because we all know cover letters are important. So, our next step is figuring out how long should a cover letter be.
In this article, we’ll talk about what does your cover letter need to have and how long should it be, so, keep on reading!
Covering the basics
Just so we’re all on the same page, it’s important to note the following: there are no clear rules when it comes to writing a cover letter. If there were, we’d have perfect templates that work every time, and we don’t have that. Now that’s clear, we can move on.
The basic purpose of a cover letter is to express your motivation for the role, explain what is it that you bring to the table, and why are you looking for a job in the first place.
Hence, you should write your cover letter with these three things in mind.
Sections in your cover letter & their length
To get your message across, you need to organize your thoughts in sections. Your cover letter needs to be understandable to others, not just you. Follow the same logic you applied when you were writing your CV.
Addressing the reader
Firstly, you want to address your reader. This is just common courtesy. If you don’t know the name of the person who will be reading your job application, go with the classic “To Whom It May Concern.” Yes, it is quite old-fashioned, but it’s still used so go ahead and use it as well.
How long should it be: between 2 and 5 words
Next, in your opening paragraph, try to explain in two or three sentences why you fit the role. Always refer to the job ad itself and try to connect your background and personality to it. Keep it brief and to the point, you don’t want the reader to stop reading because you’re using complex sentences at the very beginning.
For example, if the job ad says they want a candidate who’s “self-motivated, cooperative, and excellent at handling pressure”, you write those phrases in your opening paragraph. Of course, always say the truth and don’t put yourself in uncomfortable situations by stating something that’s not true about you.
How long should the opening paragraph be: try not to go over 60 words in this section. This is sufficient for three sentences. Plenty for you to hook the reader and make them want to find out more!
The following paragraph should follow the structure of your CV. If the basis of your application is education, then make sure to focus on education in your cover letter as well. Similarly, if you focused your CV on work experience, that has to be reflected in your cover letter, too.
How long should the first paragraph be: try not to go over 80 words in this section. The number of words is sufficient for four sentences. In those sentences you should be able to reflect whatever you’ve written in your CV
In your next paragraph, write about your personality and how it helped your performance. After all, it is always a good idea to add some of the “soft skills” or personality traits. That way, you will have a healthy combination of professional and personal.
How long should the second paragraph be: try not to go over 60 words in this section. In all honesty, you are connecting your traits with the job ad and you shouldn’t over do it.
This paragraph should be used to explain why you’re interested in the role. Everyone wants to know what’s your motivation. Why do you want to leave your current job? Why are you switching careers? How come you want to start working again?
It can be that you need a challenge, that you want to try something new, or maybe you want to move back home and that’s why you’re applying for that particular position
How long should the third paragraph be: 60 words should be plenty here, it’s just a brief explanation. Generally, this is discussed at length during the interview process.
The fourth paragraph should be your closing one. In it, share your excitement for the role and list your strongest points. Here is where you really emphasize why they should hire you. Of course, this is also based on the job ad so make sure you read it carefully and use the phrases in your cover letter!
How long should the final paragraph be: up to 60 words is fine. Make sure to show your gratitude and appreciation for their time.
Lastly, don’t forget to sign off your cover letter with an appropriate phrase. There are many you can use, for example “Yours sincerely” or “Regards.”
Also, make sure you signed the letter.
How long should it be: between 2 and 5 words
So, How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? Approximately 330 words.
After all, this will depend on your situation and type of the job application. Perhaps you need to write at least 500 words. Or maybe you only have space for 200. Whatever the case might be, follow the proposed structure and you should be fine. 🙂
Not to mention that for some, this will be an easy task and for others it’ll be a nightmare. If you’re in the second group, check other blog posts on Linking Lines page. However, if you feel like this is too much for you and you’d rather have a professional write your cover letter, feel free to get in touch!