How Long Should My Cover Letter Be?

As you send out your resume during your job search efforts, you should be including a cover letter that will accompany both printed and electronic versions of your resume. The cover letter is written according to the position, so it is important for you to take the time to write a separate cover letter for each job. The appropriate length of a cover letter depends on the needs of the employer.

The Content of a Cover Letter

A cover letter gives you the opportunity to tell the hiring manager why you want to work for the company. You have the ability to point out your strengths that relate specifically to the job for which you are applying, and you get to assert your desire to be interviewed for the position by actually asking to schedule an interview during the closing of your letter.

The cover letter also allows you to expand on how the details of your resume have helped to prepare you for the position. Cover letters are essentially explanatory letters that have more of a personal tone to them as compared with your resume.

Appropriate Cover Letter Length

Now that you understand what your cover letter should cover, it is time to determine the appropriate length of this letter. Most employers prefer cover letters that are under one page in length. Since this limits your opportunity to explain why you are a good fit for the position, you will have to choose the most important points to cover before you land the interview. When you are actually being interviewed, you have the opportunity to go into more detail.

While most employers want you to stay under one page for the cover letter, hiring managers prefer cover letters to be even shorter. Keep in mind that hiring managers may be reading through dozens of cover letters and resumes for one position. For this reason, it is a good idea to aim for one-half of a page.

Cover Letter Formats

The size of your cover letter may vary according to the format. If you are printing out the cover letter, it is easy to ensure that you stick with one-half of a page. If you are sending a cover letter through email, paragraph count may be the easiest way to assess length. In this case, try to keep your cover letter contained to two paragraphs that each have between four and five sentences.