Cover Letter Length

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One integral but overlooked part of the application process is the cover letter. A cover letter must always accompany your job application unless you are required to not do so.

An ambiguity remains among the applicants about the length of a cover letter. If your cover letter is long employees may not give time to read it and not consider you for their interview, on the other hand, if it is short then they might think that you are not interested in the job.

Your employer will only spend a little amount of time reading your cover letter. You must respect their time. Your cover letter should only include a very description of your experience and relevant qualifications. Never repeat yourself in a cover letter.

Why include a cover letter.

Is the inclusion of a cover letter with your resume mandatory? Some employers do not prefer a cover letter you can know about this by reading the job posting

According to a study report by Job Seeker Nation, only 26% of recruiters considered cover letters integral for making hiring decisions. Whereas a survey by CareerBuilder reported that over 40% of human resource managers regarded cover letters important as to gain traction over others and get noticed.

just to be on the safe side you should always carry a cover letter with your resume unless you are specifically asked not to do so.

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How long should your cover letter be?

Should your cover letter be longer than a page, a page or shorter? 
It should not be of more than one page. In fact, if you are sending it by email it should be shorter

As far as your cover letter is concerned it should be shorter the better unless of course, your employer wants to be of a specific length specific number of words.A survey by saddleback college found that 70% of employers appreciated a cover letter of less than a page while 25% wanted the shortest version possible.

Basically, your cover letter should be very conscious about your most relevant qualification and also what you can offer to the job.

Cover letter word count

There is nothing like a word count while writing a cover letter unless your employer specifies one. Do not focus on the number of words, but rather on making your cover letter to less than a page, of course with a legible font and font size. 

Make sure that there are enough white spaces between paragraphs and disciplined margins. It should only highlight your most relevant qualifications, rather than a duplicate CV.


Just to give you an idea, if a 12 point font is used on a full-page letter without the heading of signature, you could complete your cover letter within 250 to 300 words.

Email cover letter length

While writing an email cover letter, it is imperative to be concise. There must be an introductory paragraph which also explains your qualifications and then a closing paragraph is enough. This is because readers will only pay attention to two paragraphs while the rest of it will only be briefly scanned.

Use a concise subject line.

Make your cover letter be highlighted by using a precise subject line. It is best to use the title of the position and your name. For example Data Scientist- Pragya Tiwari (Try to limit your subject line to 30 characters, this will make your subject line look on size on a mobile device very mails are typically checked nowadays.)

Write relevant stories

The motive of the cover letter is to briefly explain your qualifications which deem fit for the job. For this you must use relevant examples from your work history. One important point to note here is that you must always match your document to the job description

It is important to understand the needs of the job and then decide your story. For this you must revisit the job description thoroughly.


STAR is an abbreviation for 
Situation - the context,
Task - your role in the previous organisation, 
Action - your contribution in the situation
Result - what the outcome of your efforts was

Use this method to create a well structured impactful story, this format gives clarity to you as well as your employer.

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Keep them guessing

The purpose of your cover letter is to land you in an interview, obviously in the most honest way. One little trick is not to mention everything in detail. Just mention your strongest achievements, just to grab your hiring manager's attention and to generate curiosity within him, So that he goes through your resume and eventually you get an interview call

How to format a cover letter.

Choose a simple and legible font which is easily readable typically upto 12 points. Arial, Verdana or Times New Roman can be used to make your document look professional.

Your heading must include

  • Heading
  • Salutation
  • Introductory paragraph
  • Your qualifications
  • Conclusion
  • Signature
  • Contact information, while sending via email.

Margins must be 1 inch from each side with left aligned text.

Make sure to leave spaces between each heading to make the document aesthetic overall.

Sparing a good amount of white space on your letter makes it easy to read and look organised.

Take help trimming.

When you find difficulty to fit your amazing qualifications and experiences in a page, seek help from friends, colleagues or professionals to cut out details and lengthy language. Cut out the day to day jobs and responsibilities, instead focus on your strongest of achievements and you will be good to go. It is imperative for the cover letter to be of less than one page, for freshers and seasoned candidates.

Written By :
Utkarsh Gupta
Career Expert at CV Owl

Your CV or resume is your first impression for any company. With the help of CV Owl, you can get a well-structured CV and your time will be saved. Everything on your CV should be written in a formal manner and in a precise way. You have only 20 seconds to impress your recruiter with your CV, make the best out of it. Visit our series “The HR Talk” where we help you know everything about your job interview from the recruiters.

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