BlogCV WritingHow Long Should a Cover Letter Be & What Format To Use

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be & What Format To Use

how long a cover letter should be

Leaving a good first impression can be a challenge, particularly in the business world, as you only have one chance for it. With its power to set you apart from other candidates, a good cover letter is that opportunity in a job search. Yet, crafting a polished one opens many questions: how long should a cover letter be, how to start it, what should be in a cover letter, etc.

The purpose of a cover letter is to present your professional background, skills, and achievements to a hiring professional in an impressive way. However, if it’s not of adequate length, it can only make a hiring manager reject you.

In this article, we’ll resolve the dilemma of how long a cover letter should be, so let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • A cover letter should not exceed one page—the ideal word count is 250–400 words organized into three to six paragraphs.

  • To craft a stellar cover letter, you should divide it into sections and format it professionally.

  • Being concise and highlighting only the most important achievements may help you keep the letter within the word limit.

  • Keep paragraphs short and use bullet points to avoid adding unnecessary information.

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

how to write a cover letter

The perfect cover letter length is about one page, or 250–400 words split into three to six paragraphs. This might sound too short, indeed. However, keep the purpose of a cover letter in mind—it should introduce you to a prospective employer in a clear and concise manner and persuade them that you’re the right candidate for the role.

Together with your resume, a brief and succinct cover letter should underscore your expertise and accomplishments, as well as how you and your skills may complement the company. 

Whatever the case is, it should not exceed the one-page limit, as a hiring manager will never read a two-page cover letter. 

The reason for this is simple. Hiring professionals receive 250 applications per job posting on average. Even if not all candidates submit cover letters, they are left with at least 100 cover letters for a single position. Considering this, a hiring manager is highly likely to discard a two-page cover letter. So, if you don’t want this to happen to you, stick to one page only.

6 Tips on Keeping Your Cover Letter Within One Page

Given that the cover letter should have a maximum of 400 words, you might be wondering how to keep it within the word limit. Here are six tips on how to achieve it:

#1. Be Concise

Though a cover letter is a nice opportunity to show not only your expertise and skills but also your personality, you shouldn’t turn it into a two-page monologue about yourself.

Use a cover letter to elaborate on the professional work experience you listed in your resume in more detail. Don’t write about your interests in mindfulness or music, hobbies, pets, or sports awards you won at college. 

A hiring manager wants to find out more about your professional—not personal—accomplishments, so focus on the results you achieved in your previous positions.

#2. Specify Only Important Achievements

You have certainly gained many achievements throughout your career that you want to talk about. In a cover letter, however, you should focus only on those that are most relevant to the role. Choose the ones that showcase how you’d help the company overcome its current challenges or the ones that match its values and goals.  

Remember, you shouldn’t just list the accomplishments. You should also support them with facts, figures, and other important information that demonstrate what a valuable contribution you'd make to the team.

#3. Divide Your Cover Letter Into Sections  

A compelling cover letter should have three to six paragraphs divided into the opening, the body, and the closing

In the opening paragraph, you should grab the hiring manager’s attention by mentioning your experience and most impressive achievement or showing your interest in the specific niche or position. 

In the next two paragraphs, elaborate on the accomplishments you gained in previous positions and the skills most relevant to the role. Highlight how the company can benefit from them. 

Then, in the following paragraph, you can mention what attracted you to the company and why you think you’d be the best candidate for the role. Finally, you should end the cover letter by thanking the hiring manager and informing them that you’re available for an interview.

#4. Format It Professionally

It’s not just the length and organization of the cover letter that you should pay attention to; its format also matters. Pay attention to the margins, font size and type, and line spacing. Otherwise, you may end up with a cramped document that is difficult to follow.

To format your cover letter professionally, select a professional-looking font, such as Calibri, Cambria, Helvetica, Arial, Times New Roman, etc. The ideal font size for a cover letter is 10.5–12 points, so don’t go for more or less than that.

Additionally, you shouldn’t forget the spacing and margins. Set the spacing between the lines at 1–1.15 and the margins at 1–1.5 inches.

#5. Use Bullet Points

Bullet points can help you make your cover letter look more dynamic. Plus, including a bulleted list is particularly handy when you’re elaborating on vital details about your qualifications but want to keep it short.

Moreover, using bullet points is a good call because it will make your document look neat and easier to follow. Plus, this will allow a hiring manager to spot the necessary information instantly.

#6. Keep Paragraphs Short and Focused

Each paragraph of your cover letter should have three to four sentences and follow a simple format. Here’s how to structure them:

Keep Paragraphs Short and Focused

  • Start with a topic sentence. This is the most important one, and it introduces the primary idea of the paragraph.

  • Add one or two descriptive sentences to support and expand your topic sentence. Use these sentences to add more relevant details.

  • Conclude the paragraph with one sentence that will recap the main idea of the paragraph.

One-Page Cover Letter Examples

To help you get an idea of how long a cover letter should be, we present you with two cover letter examples. Check them out.

#1. Ideal Length Cover Letter Example

Here’s what an ideal cover letter looks like. Pay attention to the structure, number, and order of paragraphs, as well as the included information.

Ideal Length Cover Letter Example

Sonya Adams Marketing Manager 1633 Aviation Way Los Angeles, CA 562-367-0127

Los Angeles, November 22, 2023

Marcus Donaldson Hiring Manager General Electric Co. 1546 Reynolds Alley Los Angeles, CA

Dear Mr. Donaldson,

I am writing to show my interest in the Marketing Manager position at General Electric Co. With 10 years of experience in marketing management, I am confident in my ability to drive growth and improve General Electric Co.'s brand presence.

In my previous role at ABC Company, I spearheaded marketing campaigns that brought about a 40% increase in customer engagement and a 30% boost in sales during the first quarter. My proficiency in digital marketing, market research, and team leadership has significantly contributed to achieving the company’s goals.

My expertise in strategic planning, data analysis, and project management qualifies me to offer a novel strategic approach to your marketing initiatives. I am confident that my ability to recognize emerging market trends and understand consumer behavior will allow me to make substantial contributions to General Electric Co.'s marketing objectives.

The General Electric Co. reputation for innovative marketing solutions is what I am seeking to advance my career. I am excited about the opportunity to use my skills to contribute to your continued success and be part of a team that values innovation and excellence. 

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to show how my skills in driving successful campaigns, market research, and team leadership align with the needs of your company in greater detail. Feel free to contact me to schedule an interview at your earliest convenience so that we can discuss the matter further.

Kind regards,  Sonya Adams

#2. Short Email Cover Letter Example

Instead of using a bland cover letter template, you can use the following example as inspiration when required to submit a letter in the body of an email:

Short Email Cover Letter Example

Dear Mr. Donaldson,

I am writing to express my strong interest in the Marketing Manager position at General Electric Co. With a proven track record of driving successful marketing campaigns and a strategic approach to brand management, I am confident in my ability to contribute to your team.

In my previous role at ABC Company, I:

  • Drove a 40% increase in brand visibility through targeted digital campaigns

  • Led successful market analysis, resulting in the implementation of innovative marketing strategies

  • Demonstrated strong team leadership skills

  • Implemented a data-driven approach for decision-making in marketing initiatives

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how my experience in driving successful campaigns and data-driven decision-making can contribute to your dynamic team.

Kind regards, Sonya Adams

Final Thoughts

Many job seekers have wondered how long a cover letter should be for an internship, a part-time position, or a full-time job. The answer is the same in all cases—one page. The length may vary depending on your level of experience, but it should never exceed 400 words.

While this might sound too restricting for everything you want to say, it is not. By focusing on the most important information and following the tips we’ve provided, you’re bound to craft a compelling cover letter of perfect length!

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be FAQ

#1. Can a cover letter be two pages long?

A two-page cover letter is usually not a good call since hiring professionals, being snowed under with hundreds of applications and cover letters to go through, will refuse to read them. This doesn’t apply to academic cover letters.

#2. Is a 500-word cover letter too long?

Yes, 500 words is too long for a cover letter. The maximum length you should go for is 400 words, organized into up to six paragraphs. Such a word count will fit perfectly on one page.

#3. How long should a cover letter for an academic position be?

The ideal length of a cover letter for an academic position is two pages. Sometimes, however, the length may vary depending on the level of experience, starting at two pages for early-career scholars and going all the way up to four pages for senior scholars.

Isabelle Dupont
Isabelle Dupont
Content Writer & Editor
Isabelle Dupont is from Portland, but she now lives and works in sunny San Diego. She is a content writer and editor for She loves casual Fridays and carefree days spent on the beach and has been writing for several years now. Whether it’s creating content or fixing it up, she’s always on point and makes sure no stone is left unturned. In her free time, Isa loves to immerse herself in fantasy novels, go on long hikes, and spend time with her friends and family.

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