How Long Should a Cover Letter Be in 2024?

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Finally, an organization posted your dream job. You crafted a flawless resume and now you’re ready to apply. You land on the cover letter section of the application and see that it is optional. Is it truly optional?

Will not submitting make me less likely to land the job? Where do I even start and how long should the cover letter be?

These are some things that might run through your head. But don’t panic, we are here to help. No matter what your career level is, your cover letter can set you apart from the other applicants. But how much do you have to write?

This can be a complicated question. Too much text? The hiring manager might glance over it. Too short? The recruiter may think that you didn’t put much thought or effort into writing the cover letter . 

Cover letters should range from a half-page to one full page. Your cover letter should never exceed one page in length.

  • Page Count: 0.5 to 1
  • Word count: 250 to 400
  • Paragraph count: 3 to 6

how long should a cover letter be

How to Keep Your Cover Letter to One Page

Tip #1: keep it concise.

While the cover letter is a great way to showcase your personality, it is also very important to be concise. Hiring managers are sifting through dozens, and maybe even hundreds, of applications.

They do not have time to read a full two-page article about your daily tasks. Instead, highlight any relevant experiences that show your qualifications for the specific job.

Demonstrate your passion for the industry and end the letter. The decision-maker will appreciate your brevity and may even reward you with an interview . 

Tip #2: Highlight Only Relevant Experiences

Unless the employer requests a specific word count, keep it short. Take only the amount of space required to show that you are an ideal candidate for the job.

Highlight your qualifications and any relevant stories. It’s important to be specific, and not regurgitate the content on your resume. 

It is very important here to showcase how your past achievements can help the company solve their current challenges and how you will use your skills if chosen for the position.

Doing so will show the recruiter or hiring manager the value you can bring to their organization. 

matching resume and cover letter

Tip #3: Break Your Cover Letter into Sections

An effective cover letter contains three to four paragraphs. It’s important to keep the sentences short so the reader can quickly navigate your cover letter.  

Paragraph #1: The Intro

The first paragraph should grab the decision-maker’s attention. This is an opportunity to show your interest in the position and knowledge of the company. Make sure you address your cover letter to the correct person or department. Always be sure to research the company and customize each cover letter to the position you are applying for. 

Example: “I am excited to submit my application for the position of [insert position name] with [insert company name]. I have watched your growth for years and really appreciate the devotion to serving your customer’s needs.” 

Paragraph #2: Your Qualifications

The second paragraph should highlight relevant stories or stats that impress your qualifications. For example, “In the previous company, I grew sales by 150% in my first year and 200% in my second year.” It is helpful if you can be specific in how you achieved success or benefited the company in some way. This highlights what you bring to the table and how you can make an impact on the hiring manager’s business. 

Paragraph #3: Your Interest in the Company

The third paragraph, if you choose to include it, can speak to what drew you to apply to the specific company. This can sway the hiring manager's decision by showing passion and loyalty to the company. 

Paragraph #4: The Closing

The final paragraph should reiterate your interest in the position. It is a great time to thank the reader for their consideration and request an in-person meeting. It’s important to have a call-to-action so the reader knows what to do next. Always include detailed contact information. 

Tip #4: Experience Level

Cover letters can vary based on your experience level. If you are applying for jobs right out of college, don’t include metrics measured in school, such as GPA, unless requested. Instead, focus on your experiences, projects and achievements that make you a strong candidate. 

If you are in the middle of your career, pick out relevant accomplishments and state your experience level. For example, “With 12 years of teaching experience, I am writing to express my interest in the open position in your Mathematics Department.” 

If you have more experience, you likely have more relevant qualifications and stories. This may entice you to make your cover letter longer. Do not fall into the trap.

Longer does not mean better . Select a few key successes and leave others for the interview process. 

cover letter one page length

Tip #5: Formatting

The format is just as important as the length of your cover letter. Pay attention to the amount of white space on the page. More white space keeps the content easier to read for the recruiter or hiring manager.

You want to make sure that you use a font that is legible (as the ones handpicked by our team together with recruiters). Keep standard margins and align your text to the left. 

Writing a cover letter can be intimidating. If you remember to keep your writing concise and highlight only your relevant experiences, you will be on your way to snagging an interview in no time.

Suggested Reading:

  • How to Write a Cover Letter in 2024
  • Resume Formats Guide: How to Pick the Best in 2024
  • Cover Letter Examples

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  • Resume and Cover Letter
  • What is the perfect cover...

What is the perfect cover letter length?

8 min read · Updated on May 08, 2023

Marsha Hebert

Finding the perfect balance between concise and complete can be a challenge

When applying for a job, the cover letter can often be the key factor that sets you apart from other candidates. A cover letter serves as an opportunity to showcase your skills, experience, and personality and can give hiring managers a glimpse into what you have to offer. 

However, one of the biggest challenges in creating a cover letter is determining the ideal length. So, what is the perfect length for your cover letter? The answer can depend on the job you're applying for, the company culture, and the expectations of the hiring manager. 

In this article, we'll provide tips on how to create a standout letter and offer guidance on determining the ideal cover letter length that will make the right impression on potential employers.

How long should a cover letter be?

While there's no set rule for how many words your cover letter should be, the length will depend on the amount of information you need to convey and the style you choose to write in. 

However, as a general guideline, it's recommended to keep your cover letter to one page, with each paragraph consisting of 3-4 sentences. This works out to between 300 and 500 words and ensures that your document is concise and easy to read - while still providing enough detail about your qualifications and experience . 

Additionally, it's important to focus on quality over quantity and make sure that each sentence is relevant and impactful to the overall message of your cover letter. On top of that, some employers may have specific guidelines for cover letter length. 

Guidelines on cover letter length

1 page or 300-500 words

One commonly accepted guideline is to keep your letter to one page, with a cover letter word count of approximately 300-500 words. This length allows you to provide enough information to highlight your skills and experience, while remaining on point.

Exceptions to the rule

How long is too long? Many people wonder if it's okay to have a two-page cover letter. There are some instances where you can exceed one page; however, they are few and very far between. If the job posting specifically requests a longer cover letter, you can consider writing a more detailed document that addresses the specific requirements of the position. In some fields, such as academia or research, a longer cover letter may be expected in order to provide a comprehensive overview of your experience and qualifications. But in normal circumstances, one page is plenty. 

Breaking down the cover letter

When determining the length of your cover letter, it can be helpful to think about the different sections of the document and how much space each one should take up. Breaking down a cover letter into its different sections and knowing what to include in each paragraph can help you to create a document that is well-organized, effective, and concise. 

What should a cover letter include, though? Here's a breakdown of what you could cover in each paragraph:

Paragraph 1: Introduction

The first paragraph of your cover letter should introduce you and explain why you're applying for the job. You can start with a sentence that grabs the reader's attention and makes it clear that you're excited about the opportunity. For example, you might say something like, "I am thrilled to apply for the [Position] at [Company Name], as I have a long-term interest in [field or industry]."

You should also summarise why you're a good fit for the position and why you're interested in working for the company. This is your chance to make a connection with the reader and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job. 

Paragraph 2: What you bring to the table

The second paragraph of your cover letter should provide more detail about your skills and experience and how they align with the requirements of the job. This is where you can explain what you bring to the table and how you can contribute to the company's success.

It's important to be specific and provide examples of your accomplishments , as well as any relevant education or training that you've completed. This is also a good place to mention any soft skills that are important for the position, such as communication, teamwork, or leadership abilities.

Paragraph 3: Career achievements and supporting information

The third paragraph of your cover letter can be formatted into bullet points, if you prefer. This is where you can demonstrate your expertise and show the reader that you have the skills and experience needed to excel in the position.

Be sure to tailor your examples to the requirements of the job posting and focus on achievements that are relevant to the company's goals and mission. This is also a good place to mention any relevant certifications, awards, or publications that you've earned.

Paragraph 4: Closing and call to action

The final paragraph of your cover letter should wrap up your document and provide a call to action. This is where you can thank the reader for considering your application and express your enthusiasm for the position once more.

You should also provide your contact information and encourage the reader to get in touch with you for further discussion or to schedule an interview. This is your chance to leave a lasting impression and show the reader that you're a qualified and keen candidate for the job.

Tips on crafting effective cover letters 

Crafting an effective cover letter within word count limits can be challenging, but it's always possible. Here are some tips that can help you to stay on track and make the most of the space you have:

Focus on the essentials: Be concise and avoid including irrelevant or redundant information

Use the active voice: This helps to convey confidence and clarity and makes your writing more engaging

Use bullet points: When appropriate, bullet points can help you to present information in a more efficient and visually appealing way

Customize your letter: Tailor your letter to the specific job and company you're applying to, highlighting the skills and experience that are most relevant to the position

Proofread: Make sure to carefully proofread your letter for errors, typos, and grammar mistakes; consider asking a friend or mentor to review your letter as well

Use a consistent format: Use a consistent format for your letter, with the same font and header that you used on your resume

Be confident and positive: Use confident, positive language to convey your enthusiasm for the position and your ability to excel in it

Example of a successful cover letter

[Your Name]

[Your Address]

[Your Email Address]

[Today's Date]

[Company Name]

[Company Address]

Dear Mr Carlson, 

Having seen the job posting for a Project Manager, I would like to offer you adaptability, leadership skills, and a willingness to take initiative in this role. As someone who has demonstrated an ability to embrace change and lead others through it, I can also bring a wealth of knowledge surrounding project management to your team. I have earned recognition for bringing innovative and creative approaches to business and for embracing technical solutions. 

I am proud to have successfully transitioned from a QA role to a Project Manager with my current employer, in response to a sudden shift in the business structure. I demonstrated strong leadership by being one of the first employees to embrace the changes and execute the transition. I encouraged and inspired other QA team members to take on the challenge and shone a positive light on making the transition.

Please also consider the following qualities that I could bring to your team:

Emerging technologies: Business and tech changes at the speed of light, or so it seems sometimes. I am adept at keeping up with those changes and assimilating new ways of doing things. I bring fresh perspectives to processes and procedures and strongly feel that transformational change and adaptation are imperative to driving innovation. 

Leadership: I truly enjoy stewarding the career progression of others and have been trusted by management on several occasions to lead projects and to motivate teams to success.

Commitment to improvement: I proactively seek opportunities to expand my skills and knowledge through professional development activities. I'm also not afraid to take on new challenges and can make autonomous decisions despite ambiguity and tight deadlines.

While my resume does go into more detail and provides additional insights into my background, please feel free to contact me on [cell phone number] if you have any questions about my candidacy.  I look forward to discussing further how my professional goals are perfectly aligned with your organization's priorities.  

Thank you for your time and kind consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Remember, the goal of your cover letter is to get your foot in the door and secure an interview, so put in the effort to make it the best it can be. Good luck with your job search!

If you need help, TopResume writers are experts at crafting compelling cover letters that highlight skills, qualifications, and achievements. We'll not only make sure you have the perfect cover letter length, we'll write it in such a way that you won't fail to impress recruiters!

Recommended reading:

What to Say in a Cover Letter: 5 Things You Should Include

Career-Specific Cover Letter Samples & Examples

How to Start a Cover Letter That Grabs Attention  

Related Articles:

Do Hiring Managers Actually Read Cover Letters?

How to Create a Resume With No Education

Why You Lose When You Lie on Your Resume: Learning From Mina Chang

See how your resume stacks up.

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Career Sidekick

If you’re wondering how long a cover letter should be, this article has everything you need to know (including exactly how many words to make your cover letter).

I’m going to share why most job seekers are making their cover letters far too long, and why you will likely get more job interviews by writing less in your cover letter.

Let’s get started…

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

Cover letters should be one page long and total 75 to 250 words. This recommendation applies to both printed and email cover letters. It’s okay if your cover letter doesn’t take up an entire page, but it should never exceed one full page.

Job seekers needing to explain gaps in employment , a recent change in career path, etc., may want to utilize more words in their cover letter than someone with a more standard background.

A job seeker who is staying within their current industry and career path (e.g. moving from Software Engineer to Senior Software Engineer) and not needing to explain a lengthy work gap should aim to be on the lower end of the recommended cover letter word count mentioned above — somewhere between 70 and 150 words.

As an example, my favorite cover letter template from Harvard Business Review has only 76 words:

How long should a cover letter be - example of ideal word count

As you customize this cover letter, the word count will likely rise a bit, but it’ll remain much shorter than what most job seekers send. And that’s a good thing!

This type of letter is going to be very different than what most job seekers are sending and what you’ve seen recommended online, and that’s often a plus.

Coming up soon, I’ll explain why a shorter cover letter may improve your odds of hearing back on a job application.

How Many Paragraphs Should a Cover Letter Include?

The typical cover letter should contain three to six paragraphs. Each paragraph should be relatively short, containing two to four sentences. This is especially important in the first paragraph of your cover letter, where you want to entice the reader and encourage them to keep reading by providing a short, punchy opening.

In general, when writing to grab someone’s attention, focus heavily on making the first paragraph compelling, because this is your first impression or “elevator pitch,” for why they should keep reading.

Now that you know how long a cover letter should be, let’s look at some specific benefits of using this length, which is shorter than some people recommend.

Reasons to Consider a Shorter Cover Letter

Now that you know how many words a cover letter should be, let’s talk about why I recommend this as the ideal length, even though some career experts recommend your cover letter be longer.

There are four things that happen when you keep your cover letter relatively short…

1. You Stand Out by Being Different

Here’s an example of a typical full-page cover letter that many job seekers are sending:

how many pages is a cover letter

If you’ve sent something like that in the past, it’s NOT your fault…

Almost every website with cover letter templates recommends this format, and it’s what you’re constantly told to send.

But that’s the beauty of limiting your cover letter to my ideal cover letter length of 75 to 250 words. It’s different than what everyone else is doing!

From the first glance, you’re showing the hiring manager that your cover letter is unique and worth reading closely . You show that you’re not going to bore them half to sleep with yet another generic letter containing info from a template or info that’s already on your resume.

Whereas, if you send a full-page cover letter like the image/example above, the hiring manager is thinking, “Okay, here’s another huge page of info to read through that’s probably based on a template.”

This happens to them over and over, all day.

That brings me to my next benefit…

2. You Get Your Cover Letter Read (Not Skimmed!)

Most job seekers send cover letters that so long-winded that nobody wants to read them. The hiring manager may read to the second or third paragraph, but they’re unlikely to through to the end.

Beyond that, job hunters send cover letters that repeat information from their resume, which doesn’t provide any value to the hiring manager or recruiter .

But because your cover letter is short, and ideally has small paragraphs, it’s inviting to read. Hiring managers open your email or letter and think, “Great, I can read this no problem.”

So they read your cover letter from start to finish without skipping a word!

This is why you should always send the hiring manager a short cover letter where each line has a purpose and message and does something to sell them on why you deserve the interview.

You don’t have to take my word for it, though. Test it! Send half of your cover letters in the standard, full-page style seen above, but with the other half, test what I’m suggesting here. Greatly reduce the word count, get right to the point, only offer info that’s not on your resume.

We’ve now looked at two reasons why the full-page cover letter is not the ideal length/approach. But I’ve got two more reasons for you…

3. You Draw Attention to Your Strongest Points/Skills

If you’re naming 20 different skills and qualifications in your cover letter, it’s hard for a recruiter or hiring manager to pick out the most important pieces.

Whereas, if you just name your three or four strongest arguments for why you’d be a great fit for their job description, those points will stand out (and get read, as mentioned above).

Sometimes less is more, and with cover letters, it’s often the case!

So this is another factor to consider when deciding how long your cover letter should be.

4. You Get Your “Call to Action” Read So You Win More Interviews

Finally, you should end each cover letter with a “Call to Action,” which I’ll explain in the next section.

This is where you ask for the interview, which is something many job seekers don’t do properly (or don’t do at all) in their cover letter.

And by keeping your letter brief, this closing paragraph comes relatively quickly… sometimes as the third or fourth paragraph… so it’s much more likely to get the reader’s full attention which means you’ll get more interviews.

Recommended Cover Letter Font Size

The best font size for your cover letter is 12 points, whether you’re sending a printed or an email cover letter. Avoid fancy fonts and choose a simple, easy-to-read font like Calibri or Arial. Include plenty of white space and small, punchy paragraphs. It’s better to have multiple, concise paragraphs in your cover letter than one or two very long paragraphs. This helps with readability.

How to End Your Cover Letter: Ask for the Interview

This is one other mistake a lot of job seekers make with their cover letters, along with repeating info on the resume and just being far too long-winded. They don’t ask for the interview in their closing paragraph!

The whole point of the cover letter is to win you job interviews . So after you’ve got the specific word count you want, make sure to finish up by actually asking the hiring manager to call you and set up a time to discuss in more detail!

Here’s an example of how you could conclude an email cover letter:

I’d love to discuss the position over the phone and provide a bit more context for how I can help you in this role. Are you available for a phone call later this week or early next week? My phone number is 555-218-4987.

Or, simply use the cover letter conclusion from the first example in this article, from Harvard Business Review:

I have attached my resume for your review and would welcome the chance to speak with you sometime.

However, I prefer a slightly stronger conclusion to a cover letter that really prompts the hiring manager to reply to a direct question. That should get you more responses from your cover letter, no matter your cover letter length!

Conclusion: How Many Words Should a Cover Letter Be?

To reiterate how long a cover letter should be, I recommend sticking to 250 words or less and never exceeding one page.

It’s beneficial to keep your letter short and concise for both a printed cover letter and a cover letter sent by email.

The shorter format allows you to focus on your strongest points and grab the hiring manager’s attention without overwhelming them with too much text or info. This will help you get more interviews and separate you from other job seekers who send long, generic, cut-and-paste cover letters with their applications.

However, as mentioned earlier, the length of your cover letter will vary depending on the industry (in a very formal, traditional industry, you may want to go for a slightly longer word count).

If you have an unusual scenario to explain, then your ideal cover letter length may be longer, too.

So don’t take the advice above as a hard-and-fast rule, but just a general guideline on how long a typical cover letter should be to win more job interviews.

As a final step, make sure to proofread everything! Sending a cover letter with a typo or mistake can cost you the job interview even if you have great qualifications and writing style.

More cover letter resources:

  • Do you need to send a cover letter?
  • How to write a cover letter with no experience
  • 3 steps to writing a cover letter that stands out

Biron Clark

About the Author

Read more articles by Biron Clark

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The Future World of Work

How Long Should A Cover Letter Be? Can It Be Two Pages?

Christina J Colclough

By Christina Colclough

Last updated: April 25, 2024

Attaching a cover letter to your resume is the quickest way to draw the hiring manager’s attention. However, there has been a dispute over how long it should be. Some suggest keeping it short and simple, with only 3-4 sentences. Others pack their letters with as much detail as possible, which can stretch for pages.

How Long Should A Cover Letter Be

Where should yours fit into that spectrum? Let me share some of my tips regarding the ideal cover letter length, drawn from my own experiences as both a job seeker and a hiring manager.

In this article:

How long does a cover letter have to be .

Your cover letter should be concise and to the point, aiming for a length between half a page and a full page (translated roughly to 250-400 words ).

Less than half a page (250 words) might not provide enough information for the prospective employer to understand your qualifications and compatibility for the role. Worse, you might come across as uninspired or lacking genuine interest in the position .

A rambling letter (more than 400 words) is not a good idea, either. 

Example of a Cover Letter

We all know hiring managers and recruiters are busy people; your long letter might be skimmed or not read entirely, and the most important information will get buried in unnecessary details. The team not only misses out on all your key qualifications but also has a bad impression with the clear lack of focus in your writing style. 

Good news: there are still some exceptions. In some technical fields, your experience or qualifications might be complex and require more explanation. 

Hence, a slightly longer letter (up to 1.5 pages) could be justified if it provides crucial details relevant to the position. Ensure the extra content adds significant value, and be careful not to go longer than 2 pages; that would be excessive. 

How To Keep Your Effective Cover Letter In One Page

1. be concise with your cover letter introduction.

You should aim for 2 to 4 sentences with your opening. Start with a short yet powerful statement demonstrating your interest in the position; you can mention how you came across the opportunity or what excites you about the company.

Next, briefly mention a specific aspect of the job posting or the company that resonates with your relevant skills and experience level. If relevant, consider including a quantifiable achievement from your previous role that can back up this value proposition.

And that’s it. Now, conclude your opening and transition smoothly into the body of your letter. Do not let the introduction overstay its welcome. 

2. Cut Out What Your Resume Has Already Covered

A perfect cover letter and an amazing-looking resume are two parts of a powerful package, but they serve different purposes. The resume is a detailed list of your skills and experience level. Your cover letter, however, should focus on how those skills and experience benefit the potential employer .

Hence, do not just restate all your skills from your resume . The cover letter should connect the dots between your relevant experience (mentioned in your resume) and the specific job requirements you’re applying for. If there’s a stellar achievement mentioned in the resume that could be elaborated further with more details, do so in your cover letter. 

3. Cut Out The Fluff

A well-organized, concise cover letter should showcase your communication skills. Fluff only dilutes the impact of your message with unnecessary words or phrases and barely adds any value to your proposition.

Here are three simple yet powerful tips I have used for my own cover letters in earlier days: 

  • Never use unsubstantiated claims like “I’m a highly motivated individual with excellent skills.”
  • Replace phrases like “in order to” or “due to the fact that” with simpler alternatives like “to” or “because.”
  • Stay away from generic descriptive sentences of your skills. Instead, use specific examples to showcase them in action.

Let’s take a look at some cover letter examples:

Fluff: “I am a highly motivated individual with excellent communication and interpersonal skills during everyday tasks.”

Clearer: “My proven communication skills enabled me to…” (Demonstrates skill with an example)

Fluff: “In my previous role, I was responsible for managing social media campaigns and successfully increased brand awareness.”

Clearer: “ I spearheaded social media campaigns that increased brand awareness by 20%.” (Focuses on achievement with a quantifiable result)

3. No More Than One Adjective Or Adverb For Each Sentence

Adjectives and adverbs might add some nuance to your letter writing, but overuse makes your entire cover letter feel bloated and difficult to read. My advice is to rely less on them and gravitate more towards verbs and nouns: 

  • Use action verbs that showcase your skills and achievements in action. These verbs can convey meaning effectively on their own without additional adverbs.
  • Choose specific nouns that paint the whole picture and eliminate the need for descriptive adjectives.
  • Write in an active voice for clear and concise sentences. (e.g., “I increased sales by 15%” is stronger than “Sales were increased by 15%” ).

Some stellar cover letter templates:

Original: “I am a highly motivated and results-oriented individual with a strong work ethic.” (2 adverbs, 2 adjectives)

Revised: “I consistently achieve results through my dedication and strong work ethic.” (1 adverb, 1 adjective)

Original: “I successfully managed a team of ten very talented and creative designers in a fast-paced environment.” (3 adverbs, 2 adjectives)

Revised: “I led a ten-person design team and delivered creative projects on time despite the time pressure.” (1 adverb, 1 adjective)

4. Be Selective; No More Than Two Examples

Hiring managers prefer in-depth details about 1-2 impactful achievements than a long list of generic examples that lack depth.

You should carefully read the job description and identify the key skills and experiences they are looking for. Then, from your list of accomplishments on the resume, choose the ones that best demonstrate the skills highlighted in that description. 

Two golden strategies to keep in mind:

  • Choose examples from more recent positions that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for, as they showcase your current skills and knowledge.
  • Consider examples that demonstrate the scope and complexity of your work. The manager would be impressed with how you handled challenging tasks and contributed to the company’s vision.

Extra Tips For A Well-Written Cover Letter

Write A Cover Letter

Aligning your tone builds a bridge between you and the company culture and makes you seem like a great fit.

From my experience, a company website is your goldmine. The “About Us” section typically outlines the company’s mission, values, and what it stands for. It would help if you also looked for employee testimonials or “Company Culture” pages to get a closer look at the team dynamics . 

Social media is another option, especially popular platforms like Instagram or LinkedIn.

Most importantly, observe the writing style of the posts: 

  • Suppose the company culture leans formal; mirror that in your own writing. Use complete sentences with proper grammar and avoid slang or informal language.
  • For a more casual company culture, you can inject a bit more personality into your letter without losing professionalism. However, overly casual language is still out of the question.

Do You Need A Cover Letter If The Job Description Says It’s Not Required? 

In most cases, submitting a cover letter is still a good idea, even if the job description says it’s not required. 

A compelling cover letter can set you apart from the rest of the candidate pool (especially if many choose not to submit one), allowing you to showcase your communication skills and genuine interest in the job. 

Plus, as I said earlier, the paper cover letter acts like a bridge that connects the dots between your basic qualifications (mentioned in the resume) and the company’s needs.

You might also like: 7 Powerful Ways To Close A Cover Letter How To Start A Cover Letter Greeting? Who To Address Cover Letter To To Whom It May Concern Alternatives

Keep your professional cover letter to one page, maybe stretching to one and a half at most (the letter word count: 250 to over 400). Going over two pages might hurt your chances rather than increase them! Write to me if you need more advice on the contents of the cover letter.

Christina J. Colclough

Dr Christina J. Colclough is an expert on The Future World of Work and the politics of digital technology advocating globally for the importance of the workers’ voice. She has extensive regional and global labour movement experience, is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach, and strategist advising progressive governments and worker organisations.

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Understanding the ideal structure and length of a cover letter is crucial for job seekers aiming to make a strong impression on potential employers. A well-structured cover letter complements a resume and allows candidates to introduce themselves, showcase their skills, and demonstrate their enthusiasm for the position and company. In this article, we will answer the question "how many paragraphs should a cover letter have" by providing guidance on the ideal structure and length of a cover letter. Expect expert advice, practical tips, and examples to help you craft an effective cover letter that stands out from the competition.

The Purpose of a Cover Letter

A cover letter serves as a personalized introduction to the employer, highlighting relevant skills, experiences, and enthusiasm for the job and company. It plays a vital role in the job application process, helping candidates stand out from the competition . It is important to tailor the cover letter to the specific job and company, showcasing why you are the ideal candidate for the position. Generic, uninspired cover letters can be detrimental to your application, as they may not capture the reader's interest or demonstrate your suitability for the role.

Ideal Structure and Length

An effective cover letter should have 3 to 6 paragraphs, including an introduction, relevant experience, company details or more qualifications, and a closing. The ideal length for a cover letter is 250-400 words , with concise, focused writing being key to making a strong impression. While there is a suggested structure for an effective cover letter, it is essential to tailor the letter to the job and company. Deviations from the suggested structure may be necessary to best showcase your skills and experiences.

Example of a Well-Structured Cover Letter: Introduction: A compelling opening sentence mentioning the position being applied for and a brief overview of the candidate's suitability for the role. Relevant Experience: A paragraph showcasing the candidate's skills and accomplishments that align with the job requirements. Company Details or Additional Qualifications: A paragraph demonstrating the candidate's knowledge of the company and its values or discussing further qualifications that strengthen their suitability for the position. Closing: A paragraph reiterating the candidate's interest in the position, providing a clear call to action, and expressing gratitude for the opportunity to apply.

Crafting the Introduction

The introduction paragraph should grab the reader's attention, mention the position being applied for, and provide a brief overview of the candidate's suitability for the role. A strong opening sentence is crucial, as it sets the tone for the rest of the cover letter. Personalizing the introduction and incorporating a compelling hook can capture the reader's interest . Additionally, it is important to connect the introduction to the specific job and company, demonstrating your enthusiasm and understanding of the role.

Example of an Effective Introduction Paragraph: "As a marketing professional with five years of experience driving successful campaigns for well-known brands, I was thrilled to see the opening for a Marketing Manager at XYZ Company. Your commitment to innovation and customer-centric approach aligns with my passion for creating impactful marketing strategies that foster long-lasting relationships with consumers."

Showcasing Relevant Experience

The body of the cover letter should focus on relevant experience, demonstrating how the candidate's skills and accomplishments align with the job requirements. It is important to be selective when discussing experiences and accomplishments, as too much information can dilute the overall impact of your cover letter. Highlighting transferable skills can be especially valuable for candidates transitioning to a new industry or role. Storytelling techniques can be employed to effectively showcase your relevant experience, making it relatable and engaging for the reader. Remember to connect your experiences to the job and company, demonstrating your understanding of the position and its requirements.

Example of an Effective Paragraph Focused on Relevant Experience: "In my previous role as a Marketing Coordinator at ABC Agency, I successfully managed a variety of digital marketing campaigns for clients in the retail and hospitality sectors. Through data-driven strategies and creative content development, I increased website traffic by an average of 30% and boosted social media engagement by 25% across all client accounts. My ability to analyze market trends and adapt campaigns accordingly allowed me to deliver consistent results that exceeded client expectations. I am confident that my experience and skills in digital marketing would make me a valuable asset to XYZ Company's marketing team."

Delving into Company Details or Additional Qualifications

Additional paragraphs can be used to discuss company-specific details or further qualifications that strengthen the candidate's suitability for the position. Showing knowledge about the company and its values demonstrates your genuine interest in the role and organization. When discussing additional qualifications, such as certifications or awards, ensure that they are relevant and add value to your application. Addressing company-specific challenges or goals in your cover letter can help you stand out and show your problem-solving abilities. Maintain a strong connection between these paragraphs and the job and company to keep the focus on your suitability for the role.

Example of an Effective Paragraph Focused on Company Details or Additional Qualifications: "I recently completed a certification in data analytics, which has equipped me with the skills to analyze and interpret large datasets to drive marketing decisions. I understand that XYZ Company values data-driven strategies and continuously seeks to optimize its marketing efforts. My certification, combined with my experience in digital marketing, would enable me to contribute significantly to your team's goal of increasing customer acquisition and retention rates."

Crafting the Closing

The closing paragraph should reiterate the candidate's interest in the position, provide a clear call to action, and express gratitude for the opportunity to apply. A strong closing leaves a lasting impression and reinforces your enthusiasm for the role and company. Offer tips for expressing enthusiasm and interest in the role and company, such as mentioning specific aspects of the job or organization that excite you. A clear call to action guides the reader's next steps, such as scheduling an interview or reviewing your resume. Maintain a professional and courteous tone in the closing, showing respect for the reader's time and consideration.

Example of an Effective Closing Paragraph: "I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to XYZ Company's ongoing marketing success and believe that my skills and experiences align with the requirements of the Marketing Manager role. I would be grateful for the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further in an interview. Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to the possibility of working with the XYZ team."

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Job seekers should be aware of common mistakes when crafting a cover letter, such as excessive length, lack of personalization, and focusing too much on personal interests. These mistakes can negatively impact the effectiveness of your cover letter and may lead to your application being overlooked. To avoid these pitfalls, keep your cover letter concise and tailored to the job and company. Use specific examples to showcase your skills and experiences, and ensure that your cover letter complements your resume rather than rehashing its content. Proofreading and editing your cover letter is crucial, as errors can leave a negative impression on potential employers. Seek feedback from trusted sources, such as mentors or career advisors, to further refine your cover letter and increase your chances of success.

Final Thoughts

By understanding the ideal structure, length, and content for an effective cover letter, job seekers can make a strong impression on potential employers and increase their chances of landing an interview. Remember to tailor your cover letter to the specific job and company, ensuring that you demonstrate your understanding of the position and its requirements. Apply the advice and tips provided in this article to craft a compelling cover letter that highlights your unique skills, experiences, and enthusiasm for the role. For further guidance and assistance in crafting an effective cover letter, consider exploring additional cover letter resources and seeking feedback from trusted sources. We wish you the best of luck in your job search and future career endeavors.

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Academic Cover Letters

What is this handout about.

The long list of application materials required for many academic teaching jobs can be daunting. This handout will help you tackle one of the most important components: the cover letter or letter of interest. Here you will learn about writing and revising cover letters for academic teaching jobs in the United States of America.

What is an academic cover letter?

An academic cover letter describes your experiences and interest as a candidate for a specific position. It introduces you to the hiring committee and demonstrates how your academic background fits with the description of the position.

What do cover letters for academic teaching jobs typically contain?

At their most basic level, academic cover letters accomplish three things: one, they express your interest in the job; two, they provide a brief synopsis of your research and teaching; and three, they summarize your past experiences and achievements to illustrate your competence for the job. For early-career scholars, cover letters are typically no more than two pages (up to four pages for senior scholars). Occasionally, a third page may make sense for an early-career scholar if the application does not require a separate teaching statement and/or research statement. Digital versions of cover letters often contain hyperlinks to your CV or portfolio page. For some fields, cover letters may also include examples of your work, including music, popular articles, and other multimedia related to your research, service, or teaching available online. Typically, letters appear on departmental or university letterhead and include your signature. Above all, a strong cover letter presents your accomplishments and your familiarity with the institution and with the position.

How should I prepare to write my academic cover letter?

Like all writing, composing a cover letter is a process. The process may be as short as a few hours or as long as several weeks, but at the end the letter should present you as a strong candidate for the job. The following section has tips and questions for thinking through each stage of this writing process. You don’t need to answer all of these questions to write the letter; they are meant to help you brainstorm ideas.

Before you begin writing your cover letter, consider researching the institution, the department, and the student population. Incorporating all three aspects in your letter will help convey your interest in the position.

Get to know the institution. When crafting your cover letter, be aware of the type of institution to which you are applying. Knowing how the institution presents itself can help you tailor your letter and make it more specific.

  • Where is the institution located?
  • Is it on a quarter-system or semester-system?
  • What type of institution is it? Is it an R1? Is it an R2? Is it a liberal arts college? Is it an HBCU? Is it a community college? A private high school?
  • What is the institution’s culture? Is it teaching-focused or research-focused? Does it privilege experiential learning? Does it value faculty involvement outside the classroom? Is it affiliated with a specific religious tradition?
  • Does it have any specific institutional commitments?
  • How does the institution advocate for involvement in its local community?
  • What are the professional development opportunities for new and junior faculty?

Learn about the department. Knowing the specific culture and needs of the department can help you reach your audience: the department members who will be reading your documents and vetting you as a candidate.

  • Who is on the search committee? Who is the search committee chair?
  • What is the official name of the department?
  • Which different subfields make up the department?
  • Is it a dual appointment or a position in a dual department?
  • How does the department participate in specific types of student outreach?
  • Does the department have graduate students? Does it offer a terminal Master’s degree, Ph.D., or both? How large are the cohorts? How are they funded?
  • Does the department encourage or engage in interdisciplinary work?
  • Does the majority of the department favor certain theoretical or methodological approaches?
  • Does the department have partnerships with local institutions? If so, which ones?
  • Is the department attempting to fill a specific vacancy, or is it an entirely new position?
  • What are the typical course offerings in the department? Which courses might you be expected to teach? What courses might you be able to provide that are not currently available?

Consider the students. The search committee will often consider how you approach instructing and mentoring the student body. Sometimes committees will even reserve a position for a student or solicit student feedback on a candidate:

  • What populations constitute the majority of the undergraduate population?
  • Have there been any shifts in the student population recently?
  • Do students largely come from in-state or out-of-state?
  • Is there an international student population? If so, from which countries?
  • Is the university recruiting students from traditionally underrepresented populations?
  • Are students particularly active on campus? If so, how?

Many answers to these questions can be found both in the job description and on the institution’s website. If possible, consider contacting someone you know at the institution to ask about the culture directly. You can also use the institution’s course catalog, recruitment materials, alumni magazine, and other materials to get answers to these questions. The key is to understand the sort of institution to which you are applying, its immediate needs, and its future trajectory.

Remember, there is a resource that can help you with all three aspects—people. Reach out to your advisor, committee members, faculty mentors, and other contacts for insight into the prospective department’s culture and faculty. They might even help you revise your letter based on their expertise. Think of your job search as an opportunity to cultivate these relationships.

After you have done some initial research, think about how your experiences have prepared you for the job and identify the ones that seem the most relevant. Consider your previous research, internships, graduate teaching, and summer experiences. Here are some topics and questions to get you started thinking about what you might include.

Research Experiences. Consider how your research has prepared you for an academic career. Since the letter is a relatively short document, select examples of your research that really highlight who you are as a scholar, the direction you see your work going, and how your scholarship will contribute to the institution’s research community.

  • What are your current research interests?
  • What topics would you like to examine in the future?
  • How have you pursued those research interests?
  • Have you traveled for your research?
  • Have you published any of your research? Have you presented it at a conference, symposium, or elsewhere?
  • Have you worked or collaborated with scholars at different institutions on projects? If so, what did these collaborations produce?
  • Have you made your research accessible to your local community?
  • Have you received funding or merit-based fellowships for your research?
  • What other research contributions have you made? This may include opinion articles, book chapters, or participating as a journal reviewer.
  • How do your research interests relate to those of other faculty in the department or fill a gap?

Teaching Experience. Think about any teaching experience you may have. Perhaps you led recitations as a teaching assistant, taught your own course, or guest lectured. Pick a few experiences to discuss in your letter that demonstrate something about your teaching style or your interest in teaching.

  • What courses are you interested in teaching for the department? What courses have you taught that discussed similar topics or themes?
  • What new courses can you imagine offering the department that align with their aim and mission?
  • Have you used specific strategies that were helpful in your instruction?
  • What sort of resources do you typically use in the classroom?
  • Do you have anecdotes that demonstrate your teaching style?
  • What is your teaching philosophy?
  • When have you successfully navigated a difficult concept or topic in the classroom, and what did you learn?
  • What other opportunities could you provide to students?

Internships/Summer/Other Experiences. Brainstorm a list of any conferences, colloquiums, and workshops you have attended, as well as any ways you have served your department, university, or local community. This section will highlight how you participate in your university and scholarly community. Here are some examples of things you might discuss:

  • Professional development opportunities you may have pursued over the summer or during your studies
  • International travel for research or presentations
  • Any research you’ve done in a non-academic setting
  • Presentations at conferences
  • Participation in symposia, reading groups, working groups, etc.
  • Internships in which you may have implemented your research or practical skills related to your discipline
  • Participation in community engagement projects
  • Participation in or leadership of any scholarly and/or university organizations

In answering these questions, create a list of the experiences that you think best reflect you as a scholar and teacher. In choosing which experiences to highlight, consider your audience and what they would find valuable or relevant. Taking the time to really think about your reader will help you present yourself as an applicant well-qualified for the position.

Writing a draft

Remember that the job letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself and your accomplishments and to communicate why you would be a good fit for the position. Typically, search committees will want to know whether you are a capable job candidate, familiar with the institution, and a great future addition to the department’s faculty. As such, be aware of how the letter’s structure and content reflect your preparedness for the position.

The structure of your cover letter should reflect the typical standards for letter writing in the country in which the position is located (the list below reflects the standards for US letter writing). This usually includes a salutation, body, and closing, as well as proper contact information. If you are affiliated with a department, institution, or organization, the letter should be on letterhead.

  • Use a simple, readable font in a standard size, such as 10-12pt. Some examples of fonts that may be conventional in your field include Arial, Garamond, Times New Roman, and Verdana, among other similar fonts.
  • Do not indent paragraphs.
  • Separate all paragraphs by a line and justify them to the left.
  • Make sure that any included hyperlinks work.
  • Include your signature in the closing.

Before you send in your letter, make sure you proofread and look for formatting mistakes. You’ll read more about proofreading and revising later in this handout!

The second most important aspect of your letter is its content. Since the letter is the first chance to provide an in-depth introduction, it should expand on who you are as a scholar and possible faculty member. Below are some elements to consider including when composing your letter.

Identify the position you are applying to and introduce yourself. Traditionally, the first sentence of a job letter includes the full name of the position and where you discovered the job posting. This is also the place to introduce yourself and describe why you are applying for this position. Since the goal of a job letter is to persuade the search committee to include you on the list of candidates for further review, you may want to include an initial claim as to why you are a strong candidate for the position. Some questions you might consider:

  • What is your current status (ABD, assistant professor, post-doc, etc.)?
  • If you are ABD, have you defended your dissertation? If not, when will you defend?
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • Why are you a strong candidate for this position?

Describe your research experience and interests. For research-centered positions, such as positions at R1 or other types of research-centered universities, include information about your research experience and current work early in the letter. For many applicants, current work will be the dissertation project. If this is the case, some suggest calling your “dissertation research” your “current project” or “work,” as this may help you present yourself as an emerging scholar rather than a graduate student. Some questions about your research that you might consider:

  • What research experiences have you had?
  • What does your current project investigate?
  • What are some of the important methods you applied?
  • Have you collaborated with others in your research?
  • Have you acquired specific skills that will be useful for the future?
  • Have you received special funding? If so, what kind?
  • Has your research received any accolades or rewards?
  • What does your current project contribute to the field?
  • Where have you presented your research?
  • Have you published your research? If so, where? Or are you working on publishing your work?
  • How does your current project fit the job description?

Present your plans for future research. This section presents your research agenda and usually includes a description of your plans for future projects and research publications. Detailing your future research demonstrates to the search committee that you’ve thought about a research trajectory and can work independently. If you are applying to a teaching-intensive position, you may want to minimize this section and/or consider including a sentence or two on how this research connects to undergraduate and/or graduate research opportunities. Some questions to get you started:

  • What is your next research project/s?
  • How does this connect to your current and past work?
  • What major theories/methods will you use?
  • How will this project contribute to the field?
  • Where do you see your specialty area or subfield going in the next ten years and how does your research contribute to or reflect this?
  • Will you be collaborating with anyone? If so, with whom?
  • How will this future project encourage academic discourse?
  • Do you already have funding? If so, from whom? If not, what plans do you have for obtaining funding?
  • How does your future research expand upon the department’s strengths while simultaneously diversifying the university’s research portfolio? (For example, does your future research involve emerging research fields, state-of-the-art technologies, or novel applications?)

Describe your teaching experience and highlight teaching strategies. This section allows you to describe your teaching philosophy and how you apply this philosophy in your classroom. Start by briefly addressing your teaching goals and values. Here, you can provide specific examples of your teaching methods by describing activities and projects you assign students. Try to link your teaching and research together. For example, if you research the rise of feminism in the 19th century, consider how you bring either the methodology or the content of your research into the classroom. For a teaching-centered institution, such as a small liberal arts college or community college, you may want to emphasize your teaching more than your research. If you do not have any teaching experience, you could describe a training, mentoring, or coaching situation that was similar to teaching and how you would apply what you learned in a classroom.

  • What is your teaching philosophy? How is your philosophy a good fit for the department in which you are applying to work?
  • What sort of teaching strategies do you use in the classroom?
  • What is your teaching style? Do you lecture? Do you emphasize discussion? Do you use specific forms of interactive learning?
  • What courses have you taught?
  • What departmental courses are you prepared to teach?
  • Will you be able to fill in any gaps in the departmental course offerings?
  • What important teaching and/or mentoring experiences have you had?
  • How would you describe yourself in the classroom?
  • What type of feedback have you gotten from students?
  • Have you received any awards or recognition for your teaching?

Talk about your service work. Service is often an important component of an academic job description. This can include things like serving on committees or funding panels, providing reviews, and doing community outreach. The cover letter gives you an opportunity to explain how you have involved yourself in university life outside the classroom. For instance, you could include descriptions of volunteer work, participation in initiatives, or your role in professional organizations. This section should demonstrate ways in which you have served your department, university, and/or scholarly community. Here are some additional examples you could discuss:

  • Participating in graduate student or junior faculty governance
  • Sitting on committees, departmental or university-wide
  • Partnerships with other university offices or departments
  • Participating in community-partnerships
  • Participating in public scholarship initiatives
  • Founding or participating in any university initiatives or programs
  • Creating extra-curricular resources or presentations

Present yourself as a future faculty member. This section demonstrates who you will be as a colleague. It gives you the opportunity to explain how you will collaborate with faculty members with similar interests; take part in departmental and/or institution wide initiatives or centers; and participate in departmental service. This shows your familiarity with the role of faculty outside the classroom and your ability to add to the departmental and/or institutional strengths or fill in any gaps.

  • What excites you about this job?
  • What faculty would you like to collaborate with and why? (This answer may be slightly tricky. See the section on name dropping below.)
  • Are there any partnerships in the university or outside of it that you wish to participate in?
  • Are there any centers associated with the university or in the community that you want to be involved in?
  • Are there faculty initiatives that you are passionate about?
  • Do you have experience collaborating across various departments or within your own department?
  • In what areas will you be able to contribute?
  • Why would you make an excellent addition to the faculty at this institution?

Compose a strong closing. This short section should acknowledge that you have sent in all other application documents and include a brief thank you for the reader’s time and/or consideration. It should also state your willingness to forward additional materials and indicate what you would like to see as next steps (e.g., a statement that you look forward to speaking with the search committee). End with a professional closing such as “Sincerely” or “Kind Regards” followed by your full name.

If you are finding it difficult to write the different sections of your cover letter, consider composing the other academic job application documents (the research statement, teaching philosophy, and diversity statement) first and then summarizing them in your job letter.

Different kinds of letters may be required for different types of jobs. For example, some jobs may focus on research. In this case, emphasize your research experiences and current project/s. Other jobs may be more focused on teaching. In this case, highlight your teaching background and skills. Below are two models for how you could change your letter’s organization based on the job description and the institution. The models offer a guide for you to consider how changing the order of information and the amount of space dedicated to a particular topic changes the emphasis of the letter.

Research-Based Position Job Letter Example:

Teaching-based position job letter example:.

Remember your first draft does not have to be your last. Try to get feedback from different readers, especially if it is one of your first applications. It is not uncommon to go through several stages of revisions. Check out the Writing Center’s handout on editing and proofreading and video on proofreading to help with this last stage of writing.

Potential pitfalls

Using the word dissertation. Some search committee members may see the word “dissertation” as a red flag that an applicant is too focused on their role as a graduate student rather than as a prospective faculty member. It may be advantageous, then, to describe your dissertation as current research, a current research project, current work, or some other phrase that demonstrates you are aware that your dissertation is the beginning of a larger scholarly career.

Too much jargon. While you may be writing to a specific department, people on the search committee might be unfamiliar with the details of your subfield. In fact, many committees have at least one member from outside their department. Use terminology that can easily be understood by non-experts. If you want to use a specific term that is crucial to your research, then you should define it. Aim for clarity for your reader, which may mean simplification in lieu of complete precision.

Overselling yourself. While your job letter should sell you as a great candidate, saying so (e.g., “I’m the ideal candidate”) in your letter may come off to some search committee members as presumptuous. Remember that although you have an idea about the type of colleague a department is searching for, ultimately you do not know exactly what they want. Try to avoid phrases or sentences where you state you are the ideal or the only candidate right for the position.

Paying too much attention to the job description. Job descriptions are the result of a lot of debate and compromise. If you have skills or research interests outside the job description, consider including them in your letter. It may be that your extra research interests; your outside skills; and/or your extracurricular involvements make you an attractive candidate. For example, if you are a Latin Americanist who also happens to be well-versed in the Spanish Revolution, it could be worth mentioning the expanse of your research interests because a department might find you could fill in other gaps in the curriculum or add an additional or complementary perspective to the department.

Improper sendoff. The closing of your letter is just as important as the beginning. The end of the letter should reflect the professionalism of the document. There should be a thank-you and the word sincerely or a formal equivalent. Remember, it is the very last place in your letter where you present yourself as a capable future colleague.

Small oversights. Make sure to proofread your letter not just for grammar but also for content. For example, if you use material from another letter, make sure you do not include the names of another school, department, or unassociated faculty! Or, if the school is in Chicago, make sure you do not accidentally reference it as located in the Twin Cities.

Name dropping. You rarely know the internal politics of the department or institution to which you are applying. So be cautious about the names you insert in your cover letters. You do not want to unintentionally insert yourself into a departmental squabble or add fire to an interdepartmental conflict. Instead, focus on the actions you will undertake and the initiatives you are passionate about.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Ball, Cheryl E. 2013. “Understanding Cover Letters.” Inside Higher Ed , November 3, 2013. https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2013/11/04/essay-cover-letter-academic-jobs .

Borchardt, John. 2014. “Writing a Winning Cover Letter.” Science Magazine , August 6, 2014. https://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2014/08/writing-winning-cover-letter# .

Helmreich, William. 2013. “Your First Academic Job.” Inside Higher Ed , June 17, 2013. https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2013/06/17/essay-how-land-first-academic-job .

Kelsky, Karen. 2013. “How To Write a Journal Article Submission Cover Letter.” The Professor Is In (blog), April 26, 2013. https://theprofessorisin.com/2013/04/26/how-to-write-a-journal-article-submission-cover-letter/ .

Tomaska, Lubomir, and Josef Nosek. 2008. “Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Cover Letter to Accompany a Job Application for an Academic Position.” PLoS Computational Biology 14(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006132 .

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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How Many Pages Can A Cover Letter Be? (Career Advice)

Here at Unleashcash , we get a lot of questions about what the best length for a cover letter is. We decided to write this post to answer all your questions and give you some tips on how to make your cover letter as short and effective as possible.

Table of Contents

How Many Pages Can A Cover Letter Be?

The answer is, that it depends on the job and your qualifications. In general, you’ll want to keep your cover letter to a single page. 

However, if you have an extensive portfolio or other documentation that supports your application and show why you’re qualified for the position (over and above what is contained in the body of your resume), then by all means include this information.

However long a cover letter needs to be will vary from one position to another. When writing a cover letter for an academic position at a university where many applicants have similar qualifications as yours, 

It’s important not only that your cover letter communicates clearly how well-suited you are for the position but also that it stands out from all of the other applications they receive. 

The best way to do this is by being concise but thorough with information about yourself such as experience working in academia or specific projects related directly back to skills required for this position within academia such as teaching ability etcetera.

The length of a cover letter can make or break your chances of getting hired. As our guide on the appropriate length of cover letters explains, keeping your cover letter concise and to the point is key to impressing hiring managers.

Should My Cover Letter Be The Same Length As My Resume?

It’s not uncommon for cover letters to run longer than resumes, but they should still be one page. If your cover letter is longer than a page, likely, you haven’t focused on the most important aspects of your application. 

If you find yourself struggling with how to shorten it or if you have a lot more about yourself and your experience that would be useful for an employer to know, then perhaps you could consider including some additional information via an appendix or even in another document altogether (like a PDF).

How Many Words Should A Cover Letter Be?

Now we’re going to answer the question: how many words should a cover letter be? There is no set word or page length, but here are some general guidelines that can help you decide what length works best for your circumstances.

A one-page cover letter is best when applying for an entry-level position or if you have limited experience. A two-page cover letter will work well if you’re applying for an executive-level job or have a lot of experience to share with the hiring manager.

Which Is Better For Applying To Jobs; A One-Page Or Two-Page Resume?

The first thing you should know is that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. If you’re applying for a small job and the cover letter is just going to be scanned, then it probably doesn’t matter how long your resume is. But if the company has a lot of applicants and reads every single one carefully, then those extra pages might help your chances of getting noticed.

A two-page resume doesn’t necessarily mean that you have more skills or experience than someone who only uses one page, but it does mean that an employer will get an idea of what kind of person they’re dealing with by reading through all that information and maybe even learn something new about themselves along the way!

When deciding between these two options, think about what would work best in terms of communicating why YOU are right for this particular job opportunity. For example:

A two-page resume shows more commitment, A shorter resume better shows exactly what an employer needs to see from each applicant (for example: “this person understands how important punctuality is”).

Word count is an important factor to consider when writing a cover letter. As our guide on the appropriate word count for cover letters explains, it’s important to strike a balance between being detailed and being succinct.

How Many Pages A Resume Should Have

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the length of your resume. First, one page is enough. If you can’t fit all your work experience and skills on one page, then perhaps you’re not as qualified as you think. At the same time, two pages is a perfectly acceptable length for a resume as long as you’ve got something worthwhile in there!

But once the number of pages starts creeping upward past five or six (or eight), things start getting unwieldy and downright unprofessional. Resumes that are more than seven pages long tend to get tossed out immediately by recruiters and hiring managers alike so don’t go overboard with it!

Is A Three-Page Resume Too Long?

If you’re applying for a job that requires a lot of skills and experience, then a three-page resume may be a good choice. A longer resume gives the hiring manager more information about how many years of experience you have and what kinds of projects or tasks you’ve worked on in the past.

If your work history is less extensive or if you don’t have as much to include in your cover letter, we recommend keeping it to one page. You don’t want to send potential employers an overwhelming amount of information that will make them feel like they are reading through an entire novel!

What Is The Best Font For A Cover Letter?

You want to use a simple font. You want something easy to read. You also want something easy to read from a distance, on computer screens and mobile devices. This makes your cover letter more accessible for people who are older or less tech-savvy (or both).

You should also consider the style of your resume and the look of your business cards before choosing a font. If they’re all different styles then they won’t match up as well when put together in one stack of papers – which is how employers will see them!

If you want to stand out in the job market, you need a strong resume and cover letter. Our guide on how a resume and cover letter help you get the job explains how these two documents work together to impress potential employers

What Should The Font Size Be On A Cover Letter?

The font size should be 14. As the size of a font goes up, its readability goes down. A larger font will look more impressive but may not be as legible for the reader. Some fonts are more readable than others, so choose one that works well and is familiar to you.

The best way to ensure that your cover letter is easy to read is by using a serif or sans-serif fonts (with “serifs” being small lines at the ends of letters), such as Times New Roman or Arial, consistently with both your resume and any job posting you may have seen from the company hiring for this position in particular. 

This will help make sure that everything looks consistent when it comes time for someone in HR to review all of your materials together!

When it comes down to it though: just remember whatever style/size combination feels most like home; this shows confidence while also making sure content stays sharp enough so people won’t miss any important points along the way.”

Are you new to cover letters? Our guide on all you need to know about cover letters is a great place to start. From formatting to content, we cover everything you need to know to create a strong cover letter.

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The first thing you need to decide is how long your cover letter should be. Most people just write a few paragraphs, but there are some situations where you may want to go longer. 

For example: If you’re applying for a job that requires a lot of experience or training (such as becoming a doctor or lawyer), then it may be appropriate for your cover letter to be longer than usual because the hiring manager will want more information about why they should hire you over other candidates.

A great cover letter can set you apart from the competition when applying for a job. As our guide on how cover letters work explains, a well-written cover letter should complement your resume and provide specific examples of your qualifications.

It’s a good idea to keep your resume and cover letter as short as possible. You don’t want them to be so long that they lose the reader’s attention. While it might seem like there are no limits on how many pages you can make these documents, there are! 

While hiring managers may not notice if your cover letter is too long or short, they will notice grammatical errors and typos if it goes over one page. If possible, stick with one page only so you can make sure everything looks perfect before sending out applications!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you write the perfect cover letter:

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? : This article provides guidance on the appropriate length of cover letters and offers tips on how to keep them concise and effective.

What’s the Ideal Cover Letter Length? : This article discusses the ideal length of a cover letter, as well as some best practices for crafting an effective one.

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? : This article provides guidance on the appropriate length of a cover letter, as well as some tips for making sure your letter is concise and impactful.

How long should a cover letter be?

The appropriate length of a cover letter varies depending on the industry and position you are applying for. In general, cover letters should be no longer than one page and should be concise and to the point.

What should be included in a cover letter?

A cover letter should introduce yourself, explain why you are interested in the position, highlight your qualifications, and express your enthusiasm for the job. It should be customized to the specific job you are applying for.

Should I include my work experience in my cover letter?

Yes, your cover letter is a great place to highlight your work experience and explain how it makes you qualified for the position you are applying for.

How can I make my cover letter stand out?

To make your cover letter stand out, you should customize it to the specific job you are applying for, highlight your qualifications and achievements, and express your enthusiasm for the position.

Is it necessary to write a cover letter?

While not all employers require a cover letter, it is always a good idea to include one. A well-written cover letter can help you stand out from the competition and make a strong case for why you are the best candidate for the job.

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Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.

how many pages is a cover letter

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  1. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be in 2024?

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  2. Cover Letter Format: How to Format Your Cover Letter in 2023 (2023)

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  3. Cover Letter Format: Proper Examples & Guide

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  4. Cover Letter Format: How to Format Your Cover Letter (Correctly

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  5. How to Format a Cover Letter (With Tips and Examples)

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  6. Write the Perfect Cover Letter With This Template

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  6. Can a cover letter be 3 pages long?

COMMENTS

  1. Q&A: What's the Ideal Cover Letter Length?

    Break up your text by adding a blank line between paragraphs, setting 1-inch margins on each side. With lots of white space, your cover letter will look like an enjoyable read rather than a wall of text. 4. Limit your cover letter to four paragraphs. Generally, your cover letter should be between half a page and one full page in length.

  2. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? Length & Word Count

    November 29, 2023. As featured in *. Typically, a cover letter should be 250-400 words or three to four concise paragraphs. The ideal cover letter length is a half-page to one page long. This cover letter length gives you enough space to communicate your experience and convey your interest in applying while also respecting the hiring manager ...

  3. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? Ideal Length in 2024

    Let's start with frequently asked questions about the cover letter length. Can a cover letter be 2 pages? A cover letter should never be 2 pages. A 2-page cover letter violates the cover letter definition. Namely, a cover letter is a brief description of why you fit the job. In rare cases, a resume can be two pages if you've got enough experience.

  4. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be in 2022?

    You don't need pages and pages to do that. In a survey of 205 HR professionals, ResumeLab found that 42% of respondents preferred cover letters between half and one page and 40% preferred cover letters that were less than half a page. Only 18% said they preferred cover letters longer than one page. Muse coach Steven Davis, a technical ...

  5. Can a Cover Letter Be Two Pages? An Overview

    A two-page cover letter is a communication that introduces your qualifications for a position in two sheets and supports additional documents in a job application, such as the resume. Essentially, this communication should inspire the hiring manager to read your supporting documents. While a one-page letter is the norm in most industries, there ...

  6. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be and What Should Be Included?

    A cover letter can be anything between half a page and a full-page long. Generally, you should aim for a cover letter word count of 250 to 400 words and about three to six paragraphs. A short, concise cover letter serves as a written introduction to a prospective employer and outlines why you're the best fit for the job.

  7. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? (With Tips)

    The ideal cover letter should typically be between 250 and 400 words. This way, you can keep the letter brief and informative at the same time. However, employers have different requirements, so it's difficult to recommend a standard word count for cover letters. Before you write your cover letter, check to see if the company in question ...

  8. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be in 2024?

    Cover letters should range from a half-page to one full page. Your cover letter should never exceed one page in length. Perfect Cover Letter Length Characteristics. Page Count: 0.5 to 1. Word count: 250 to 400. Paragraph count: 3 to 6.

  9. How Long Should A Cover Letter Be? The Best Length in 2024

    The general rule of thumb for cover letter length is 250-400 words. But don't sweat too much if your cover letter ends up being just 200 words long—this is perfectly normal, especially if you're writing an entry-level cover letter or a cover letter with no work experience at all. Rate my article: how long. 5 ( 6 votes)

  10. What is the perfect cover letter length?

    1 page or 300-500 words. One commonly accepted guideline is to keep your letter to one page, with a cover letter word count of approximately 300-500 words. This length allows you to provide enough information to highlight your skills and experience, while remaining on point.

  11. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? (Examples)

    Cover letters should be one page long and total 75 to 250 words. This recommendation applies to both printed and email cover letters. It's okay if your cover letter doesn't take up an entire page, but it should never exceed one full page.

  12. How Long Should A Cover Letter Be? Can It Be Two Pages?

    Keep your professional cover letter to one page, maybe stretching to one and a half at most (the letter word count: 250 to over 400). Going over two pages might hurt your chances rather than increase them! Write to me if you need more advice on the contents of the cover letter. Christina J. Colclough.

  13. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

    Cover letters should be a page in length and no more than four paragraphs. Here are 7 tips that can help you organize your thoughts and reach the perfect cover letter length: Check the requirements. Include your contact information. Briefly acknowledge the reader. Keep paragraphs short and focused. Mention one or two relevant stories about your ...

  14. Q&A: What's the Ideal Cover Letter Length in 2024?

    4. Limit your cover letter to four paragraphs. Generally, your cover letter should be between half a page and one full page in length. Divide your cover letter into three or four short paragraphs that can be read in around 10 seconds or less. In these paragraphs, include a strong topic sentence and write just enough to prove that you're ...

  15. How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job in 2024

    Respectfully, Kind regards, Best regards, Yours truly, Then, make two spaces below the salutation, and type your full name. For some professional (but optional) flair, sign your cover letter either with a scan of your signature or by using software like DocuSign. 8. Check your cover letter's content and formatting.

  16. How To Write a Cover Letter (With Examples and Tips)

    2. Include a greeting. In your research, try to find the name of the person reviewing applications for the job. Address your letter to this person with a common business greeting, such as "Dear [first and last name]" or "Dear [position title]." Avoid using "To whom it may concern."

  17. The Do's of Writing a Spectacular Cover Letter

    Always proofread and, when possible, have a friend proofread it as well. The goal of the cover letter is to grab the reader's attention by convincing them you are a great candidate, make them want to read your resume and profile, and, of course, call you in for an interview so you can brilliantly sell yourself in person just like you did on paper.

  18. Can a Cover Letter Be Two Pages?

    No, a cover letter can't be two pages. A two page cover letter is too long, and is likely to lose the hiring manager's attention. Additionally, keeping your cover letter to one page ensures you focus on your key accomplishments. A focused one page cover letter is more likely to impress employers than one which includes irrelevant ...

  19. How Many Paragraphs Should a Cover Letter Have [4 Examples]

    Ideal Structure and Length. An effective cover letter should have 3 to 6 paragraphs, including an introduction, relevant experience, company details or more qualifications, and a closing. The ideal length for a cover letter is 250-400 words, with concise, focused writing being key to making a strong impression.

  20. Academic Cover Letters

    At their most basic level, academic cover letters accomplish three things: one, they express your interest in the job; two, they provide a brief synopsis of your research and teaching; and three, they summarize your past experiences and achievements to illustrate your competence for the job. For early-career scholars, cover letters are ...

  21. What should the length of a resume or cover letter really be?

    The answer most recruiters would give you is: your resume should be as long as it takes to articulate your experience and background very well. In other words, you could fill 3 pages with 'fluff', and it would be crap. You could also try to shoehorn 20 years of experience onto one page, and it would also be crap.

  22. How Many Pages Can A Cover Letter Be? (Career Advice)

    Takeaways. The appropriate length of a cover letter varies depending on the industry and position you are applying for. In general, cover letters should be no longer than one page and should be concise and to the point. A cover letter should introduce yourself, explain why you are interested in the position, highlight your qualifications, and ...

  23. Are cover letters worth the effort? : r/cscareerquestions

    My recommendation is - do not send cover letters unless you want to invest more time in some specific application. I would do it for max 10-15% of the applications. Cover letters can be effective (I've seen them working in the past), but the investment/effect ratio is low, improving your resume is way more effective.