How long should a cover letter be? Answers.

Is it not clear how long the cover letter should be? Check the best length with top templates.
How long should a cover letter be? Answers.

Cover letters are crucial for job applications. It is always important to send them along with a job application unless you are asked by the hiring manager not to do. However, it is not clear how long the cover letter should be. With a too-short cover letter, the employer may think you are less concerned about the job. On the other hand, if your cover letter is too long, the employer may not have time to read and consider you for the job interview. In other words, how long the cover letter should be is an important factor that determines whether you’ll qualify for the interview or not. Therefore, it is something to be considered as far as a cover letter is concerned.      

What should we do, given that failure to include the cover letter is considered a significant mistake? Should it be a moderate length? But how long exactly? Use our online builder with all possible cover letter templates or keep reading…

What is a cover letter?

This is a one-page document submitted with the resume to show an authentic interest in a job opportunity. The main objective of this document is to introduce yourself to the hiring manager and provide a concise overview of your past experience, professional skills, and why you are the most suited for that role. While your resume highlights your qualifications and experiences, your cover letter elaborates on those achievements, and your personality and explains why you'll be the perfect choice for the organization. How long the cover letter should depend on the type of document you intend to write. With that in mind, let's move to the next step.

How long should a cover letter be?

Types of cover letters

You are seriously hunting for a certain job, and you know that including a cover letter in your job application increases your chance to qualify for the interview. But do you really know that we have four major types of cover letters? 

Application cover letter

An application cover letter is written for a certain job application. It is often sent to the hiring manager and the resume as an application package. In fact, the letter can be the email attached to the resume. Your cover letter describes your experience more than your resume. It should provide a captivating story about your enthusiasm.

Referral cover letter

A referral cover letter describes the person who referred you to the job. This quickly captures the attention of the hiring manager. With that, it is important to include the referral's name within the few lines of the cover letter. Referral can play a massive role in your job hunting if they're reputable and trustworthy.

Networking cover letter

Think about all individuals in your network who may help you in your job research. In this case, a networking cover letter is a basic way to ask for help, advice, and inquiring about the open position within the network. Avoid mistakes by using our professional resume templates.

Prospecting cover letter

A prospecting cover letter is sent to inquire about openings in an organization you intend to work for. It is referred to as "a prospecting cover letter" as it is used while selecting companies to fulfill your career growth.     

To use a prospecting cover letter:

  • Have a prospecting plan to choose companies that comply with your values and objectives.
  • Learn how to reach the companies on your list
  • Focus on the skills, values, and challenges they can solve in the organization.
  • Use templates

how long should be a cover letter

Photo by 2H Media on Unsplash

Industry-specific cover letter

The industry-specific cover letter provides a conditional context that focuses on your experience in the position you are applying for. Suppose your career path has been massively in one company, and it's the same company you are looking forward to advancing in. In that case, an industry-specific cover letter can be the perfect resource for you as it delivers a clear intuition into why you are the perfect candidate based on your particular experience. You will never forget to put the right content by using the templates

Cold-call cover letter

This is a letter sent to a company that has not published a job advertisement, and when you don't know if the organization is hiring or not. The writing must be sharp and polite as you didn't receive any job opportunity.  

Follow-up cover letter

As its name suggests, this letter is a writing that can be sent after sending the cover letter along with the resume, but there wasn't any reply. It is a good technique to consider while evaluating, and it shows your enthusiasm for the job.

Broadcast cover letter

This is one of the most suitable documents for a job application. You send the writing to your network and impress them, increasing the number of contacts.

And since how long the cover letter should depend on how you format it…

How to write a cover letter 

Writing a cover letter doesn't need to be a challenge. With a few simple procedures, you are done! Below are a few useful tips to help you compose a winning cover letter:

Begin with your header

It is always important to include a few personal details at the top of your cover letter. This section includes your contact details, application date, and the recipient's contact details. You can also include your name and address at the top of the page.

Greeting is important

Try and find the name of the person who will review your job application. Address your cover letter with standard business greetings such as “hello.” Don’t worry if you are not able to find the preferred gender. You can still address your cover letter with a gender-neutral greeting such as dear. 

Have an opening paragraph

In the first paragraph, mention the job title you are applying for and where you saw the position advert. Explain your enthusiasm for the role and the organization. With that, the hiring manager will assume that you've done the research and you have an authentic interest. Briefly highlight the main qualification that makes you an ideal choice.

how long should a cover letter be

Photo by Design Advertisements

Proceed with the second paragraph

The second paragraph should be an overview of your background. In this section, you can include the main achievements, skills, and specialties that make you the most suited candidate for that role. Additionally, include specific information about your success and the significant impact you made. The hiring manager not only looks at whether you'll be good for the job or not. They are also looking for who is fit for the organization's culture. In the end, employees who don't seem to fit will soon quit. This will cost the company thousands of money.

Means, that you’ll also need to convince the hiring manager that you are genuinely interested in working with them.

Focus on the keywords highlighted in the job description and include those you think to associate with your professionalism in the cover letter. You only need to include details about your recent professional experience.

End your cover letter with a closing paragraph

The last paragraph should include other key achievements or experiences relevant to the role. Rather than regurgitating details from your resume, describe specific stories that showcase your fitness for the position. Once again, expand on stories that describe skills and qualifications highlighted in the job description. It can also be the perfect opportunity to talk about transferable skills if you're changing careers.


This is the last paragraph and should summarize why you seek the position and why you'd be an ideal fit. The conclusion of your cover letter should be brief. It should also explain that you are looking forward to hearing from the hiring manager about the next steps. End your cover letter with a signature.

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 many words approximately?

Your cover letter's body should be 250 to 300 words with three to four paragraphs, which the hiring manager can read within ten seconds. This keeps your cover letter brief and informative. However, hiring managers have different requirements. Therefore, recommending a specific word count can be quite challenging. Before writing your cover letter, check if the company species a word count. While writing, focus on including important information rather than maintaining a particular word count. With that, you can write within the specified number of words.

how long should a cover letter be

Photo by Cool image collection.

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.

End your cover letter by demonstrating your passion for the organization. The hiring manager will acknowledge your conciseness, and you may qualify for the interview.

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

A perfect cover letter should have three to four paragraphs. It is crucial to keep your sentences precise for the manager to quickly read and understand your cover letter.  

  • Paragraph 1: introduction
  • Paragraph 2: qualifications
  • Paragraph 3: your interest in the organization
  • Paragraph 4: closing

Professionalism level

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.

If you’re still in the middle of your profession, choose the relevant accomplishment and briefly describe your experience level.

If you are more experienced, you will likely have more qualifications and anecdotes. With that, you may end up writing a long cover letter. Don’t fall into this trap.

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.

With all these techniques, your cover letter will only take 75% of the blank page, making it short (not too short) and informative.

The bottom line

Writing a cover letter can seem intimidating, especially if you've been sending your writings and have not yet received any reply. But you no longer need to worry. A cover letter, when perfectly done, can qualify you for the job interview. And to come up with the perfect writing, the format plays a significant role. On the other hand, the length, preferably 200 to 400 words, helps the reader understand your enthusiasm for the position. After all, nobody has time to read long and wordy documents. 

 how long is a cover letter

Title Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

Do you like this article? You may also like one of our other topics:

Nurse Resume and Cover letter Writing Examples
What is the Purpose of a Resume and Resume Categories?
Best 2 page resume examples & templates
What Is the Purpose of a Cover Letter? (with examples)
Top 8 Tips When You Pursue a Career


Posted 1 year ago