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How long should a cover letter be?

In writing a cover letter, how long should it be? It seems like for the most part, a cover letter should be no longer than one page.. are there exceptions? #job-search #interviews #cover-letters #mobile-applications

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Simeon’s Answer

Correct. A cover letter should be much less than a page in length. Usually, your cover letter is supposed to be brief and mostly explain your interest in the opening and in the company itself. Try to keep your cover letter to five sentences or less. Also, try not to be super dramatic about how much you'd love the position and how it'll fulfill your wildest ambitions. Instead, keep it pretty contained and professional. The cover letter is more of a warm-up/opener to the resume and isn't supposed to be the focal point of your application.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Sharon,

What's the Ideal Length for a Cover Letter?

When it comes to the perfect length for a cover letter, brevity and precision are key. Most professionals suggest keeping it to a single page. However, depending on the specifics of the job application, there might be exceptions to this rule.

Key Factors Determining Cover Letter Length:

Job Position and Sector: The length of your cover letter could change based on the rank of the job you're aiming for. A shorter cover letter might be enough for entry-level roles, while higher positions might need a more comprehensive outline of your skills and experience.

Company Ethos: Some businesses might favor short and impactful cover letters, while others might value a more in-depth look at your abilities and experiences. A bit of research into the company's ethos will guide you on the length of your cover letter.

Particular Instructions: Sometimes, job advertisements might specify the required length for the cover letter. It's crucial to follow any guidelines given by the employer about the length of your application documents.

Relevance of Content: The content of your cover letter should always be more important than its length. Even if it slightly surpasses the one-page suggestion, it's important to include pertinent information that highlights your qualifications and matches the job requirements.

Format and Clarity: No matter the length, your cover letter should be well-organized, easy to comprehend, and devoid of unnecessary details or repetitions.

When It's Okay to Exceed One Page:

While it's generally best to keep things brief, there are instances where a longer cover letter might be acceptable:

Significant Experience: If you have substantial relevant experience that needs to be emphasized, a longer cover letter might be necessary to effectively present your qualifications.

Career Shifts or Special Circumstances: Those transitioning between industries or addressing unique career challenges might need more space to explain their motivations and suitability for the job.

Research-Centric Roles: For jobs that require strong research skills or detailed project descriptions, a longer cover letter might be needed to thoroughly showcase your abilities.

In summary, while a one-page cover letter is often seen as ideal, it's crucial to focus on providing quality content that effectively communicates your qualifications and passion for the job.

Top 3 Trusted Sources Used for this Response:

Harvard Business Review: Offers valuable information on successful job application strategies and how to create compelling cover letters.

The Muse: Provides practical guidance on crafting impactful cover letters for various job search situations.

Indeed Career Guide: Features resources on enhancing job applications, including advice on creating succinct yet informative cover letters for different industries and roles.

May God bless you, Sharon!
JC.
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deepak’s Answer

How long should your cover letter be?


How long should your cover letter be? A simple question, right? But if you ask different people, you might get a different answer each time.


While there are exceptions, in general, a page is fine. Of course, there is a lot to cover in a page. Alison Green of Ask A Manager has some great advice on how to ensure your cover letter stands out without being too long:


The litmus test is this: Does your letter make a compelling case for why you’d be awesome at the job, without repeating your work history?


If your letter does that but it’s longer than a page, look for ways to edit it down without losing its essence. If it’s half a page or less, you should just be damn sure that it’s truly passing that litmus test. It’s hard to meet that test if you’re writing very short. Not impossible, but a lot harder.


Read the rest of her advice here.


Determining how long your cover letter will be is just one aspect of crafting an application. You have to figure out what will be in it. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:


Follow any and all directions: Sometimes employers will ask you to answer questions in your cover letter. Regardless of how long your cover letter is, if you don’t follow directions, you risk not getting a chance at an interview.
Demonstrate a genuine interest in the mission: Hiring managers value commitment to the cause and experience. Showcase both in your cover letter without simply repeating your resume. This also requires that you craft a unique cover letter for each position.
Show some understanding of the role and organization: Demonstrate how and why you’re a great fit for both the job and the organization.

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Shehram’s Answer

As answered above, It shouldnt be longer than 1 page. In fact, depending on your work/internship experiences it should be 3 paragraphs. First para you introduce yourself and talk about yourself. Second para, you can express your interest in the position while throwing light on your past experiences and education history. Lastly, you should emphasize on what value would you add to the organization and why you are the right candidate to be invited for an interview.
I have seen more success when i've followed that path instead of writing a generic cover letter.


Good Luck !

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Genevieve’s Answer

Cover letters are generally one page. I personally don't know of any exceptions for a cover letter needing to be longer than one page.

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Vivian’s Answer

Hi Sharon,


Cover letters are generally one page. Since most hiring managers or human resources are going through tons of resumes and cover letters everyday, you want the doc to be short and sweet. Since, resumes are straight forward and direct, containing most facts, you have to chance in the cover letter to let your personality shine. Hope that helps.


-Vivian

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