A cover letter is a letter in which you introduce yourself, mention your skills, explain why you will be a great fit for the job position and the company you are applying to. It is a summary of the important points in your resume, all linked together to show their relevance to the job position you are applying for. A cover letter is an important document in the job application process. If the cover letter is written well, will significantly boost the chances of you qualifying for an interview. Let’s know How Long the Should A Cover Letter Be?
Ideal Length Of A Cover Letter
The length of a cover letter is important because a lengthy cover letter will bore the hiring manager and a very short cover letter will not be sufficient in impressing the hiring manager. As such, it is important to adjust the length of a cover letter to the ideal length, which is between half a page to one page. This amounts to a word count between 250 to 400 words. Anything greater than 400 words is considered too long. However, it is possible to write a good quality cover letter in less than 100 words if you have good writing skills and you can talk about yourself concisely.
Format Of A Cover Letter
The cover letter should be divided into 3 to 4 paragraphs. There are specific things you should talk about in each paragraph.
The heading is the first component of your cover letter. You need to include your contact information so that the hiring manager can contact you if he or she needs more information. You should include the following details in your heading to make it formal.
- Your Full Name
- Your Address
- Your phone number
- Your email address
- Links to your online profiles
Additionally, you should write the date and the contact information of the company.
You should use a respectful salutation. Furthermore, you should try to address the hiring manager by their name. This makes the cover letter more personalized, and this distinguishes it from other generic cover letters. If their name is not listed in the job posting, then you should try to find the hiring manager’s name by searching about the job post on recruiting sites such as LinkedIn. If even after trying this, you are unable to find the hiring manager’s name, then you should try to find it from someone you know who works in the company. As a last resort, you can call the company to find out who the hiring manager is.
In this paragraph, you should mention the job position you are applying to. You should also include detail about your educational qualifications and explain why you are interested in the job position and the field.
In this paragraph, you should elaborate on your achievements in work and the number of years of experience you have in that industry. You should be specific while describing your achievements by providing numbers wherever possible so that your achievements can be quantified.
In this paragraph, you should focus on explaining how you can achieve the goals of the company using the skills and knowledge you have. To write this paragraph well, you need to research the company’s goals as well as the current products or projects that the company is working on.
You should explain how you can add value by suggesting ideas to improve a project or solve problems in it. You can obtain information about the company online on the company’s official website and job review websites. On top of that, you can speak with anyone you know who works at the company or knows about the company to find information that is not commonly available to the public.
This shows the hiring manager that you have taken the initiative to know more about the company. This will create a good impression on you because it shows that you are hardworking and resourceful.
This is the last paragraph in your cover letter. In this paragraph, you need to mention your interest in applying for the job position again. Additionally, you should thank the hiring manager for his or her time. Lastly, you should let the hiring manager know that you will be looking forward to an interview, which is called a call to action. By providing a strong call to action, you can show your eagerness for the job and motivate the hiring manager to call you for an interview.
This is the last component of your cover letter. You should ensure that your closing is formal. You can achieve this by using formal closing salutations such as ‘Sincerely’, ‘Best Regards’, ‘Faithfully’, ‘Regards’, ‘Yours truly. Additionally, you need to include your signature right below the closing salutation. After the signature, you should state your full name.
Editing Of Cover Letter
Once you have written the first draft of your cover letter, you should actively edit it. These are the following things you should look out for while editing your cover letter.
- Length Of Cover Letter:
Adjust the length of your cover letter by reducing filler words if your cover letter is too lengthy and describing in greater detail if it is too short. If you are having problems adjusting the length, you should get someone you know to read it and help you to adjust it for you. Alternatively, you can look at examples of cover letters in your field online and get ideas from them on how to adjust the length of your cover letter. If you can spare the money, you can also look into reliable cover writing services online to write or polish your cover letter.
- Flow & Organization:
You must ensure that there is a proper flow from one paragraph to the next paragraph so that it is easy to understand. You can achieve proper flow by using connecters such as ‘but’, ‘However’ and ‘Despite’ and transition words such as ‘Additionally’, ‘Furthermore’, and ‘consequently’.
- Check For Redundancies:
Read through the entire cover letter and remove any repeated details and unnecessary filler words to increase clarity.
- Grammar & Spelling:
To make your cover letter polished and professional, you must ensure that your cover letter is fully grammatically correct and that it has no spelling errors. Careless spelling errors in your cover letter can be a major put-off for hiring managers. You can do this with the help of tools such as Microsoft word editor and free online tools such as Grammarly.
Things That Should Not Be Included In A Cover Letter
- Emphasizing a lack of skill.
Mentioning a skill that you lack and describing it will come across as you are lacking confidence in yourself for the job position. It will also make you an undesirable applicant when compared to others who have not made their weaknesses or lack of skills obvious. There is no need to notify the hiring manager of a skill you don’t possess. Instead, focus on talking about the skills you have and your accomplishments.
- Writing cliche statements And Buzzwords.
If your cover letter has several cliche statements, then the hiring manager might think that you have simply used a common resume template and plugged in your details. As a result, the hiring manager might not be interested in looking at your application anymore and he or she might move on to other applications.
Additionally, using buzzwords such as ‘hardworking’, ‘proactive’, and ‘attention to detail’ is not an effective way of describing yourself as these are generic words that many applicants use. As such, you should try to explain your qualities and skills in detail such that the hiring manager can clearly understand.
- Explaining why you left your previous job or why you are thinking about leaving your current job.
Hiring managers are not interested in knowing about the reasons behind why you want to quit a job. They are interested in knowing about your skills, work experience, and your personality. As such, focus on describing those areas and leave out the details about why you have quit or want to quit a job. Additionally, do not write negative things about your previous employer or write gossip about him or her. This is because writing negative things about someone will put you in a negative light. Since bad-mouthing is an undesirable trait, the hiring manager might choose to ignore your application.
- Mentioning the amount of salary, you want.
Unless specifically mentioned in the job posting to do so, you should not talk about the salary in the cover letter. This is because talking about money will make it seem as if you only care about the salary and not the job or the company. This can be a major put-off for hiring managers. You will have the opportunity to discuss the salary during the negotiation of salary after you get a job offer. As such, leave out any discussion about salary in your cover letter.
- Excessive bragging about your skills and achievements.
If you go overboard with describing your skills and achievements and fail to explain how these will help the company, then you come across as arrogant to the hiring manager. Since arrogance is an undesirable trait, your application might be rejected.
- Providing false information and accomplishments.
It will reflect poorly on you if you get caught providing false details by the hiring manager. Your application will be rejected, and you may even be blacklisted by the company if the lie you have told is severe as no employers want to hire liars. If you realize that you are lacking some work experience or skills, work towards obtaining them instead of lying.
- Providing Too Much Information.
The danger of providing too much information is that it might overwhelm the hiring manager. As a result, your application might not be memorable among the pool of applicants. On top of that, you might come across as a jack of all trades, which is not what hiring managers want to see. They want someone with specialized skills for the job position the company is offering. As such, mention a few skills and accomplishments relevant to the job and develop them further instead of listing down every skill you have.
Cover Letter For Fresh Graduates:
Since fresh graduates do not have much work experience, they should focus on explaining details about their academics and the past internship experience they have which is relevant to the job position.
Example Of A Good Cover Letter For Fresh Graduates:
345 Compassvale Street, Mysticwood, Texas 45678
8 October 2021
West Forge Medical
267 Saint Claire Drive
River valley, CA, USA 56789
Dear Ms. Anna Morgan,
I am writing to you to express interest in the Sales Associate position at Star Recruitment as advertised on Indeed.com. I have recently graduated in First class with distinction in a bachelor’s degree in human resources. I believe that a career in sales is a great fit for me because I have an outgoing personality and I enjoy conversing with people.
I discovered my passion for sales while I was doing a 3-month sales internship at Hilda Inc, USA, which is a company that offers online education courses. During this internship, I have learned skills such as strategic selling skills, sales presentation planning, negotiation skills, and digital marketing skills. I reached out to students from different colleges about the online courses offered by Hilda and cleared their doubts. I managed to get 60 students to purchase one or more online courses each, exceeding the target of 30 sales set by Hilda Inc.
After the completion of this internship, I was eager to develop the skills I learned further. Hence, I did some online courses such as Successful Negotiation skills on Coursera and effective marketing skills on LinkedIn.
Although I am a recent college graduate, my effective communication and negotiation skills, my ability to work well with others, and my passion for sales will make me an asset to Star Recruitment. I look forward to putting my knowledge and skills to use as a productive member of your sales department and learning from the best in the industry. In an interview, I would love to discuss my career goals and how they align with Star recruitment’s vision. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Cover Letter For Working professionals With Work Experience:
Since working professionals have several years of work experience, they should put more emphasis on describing their work experience and the skills they have gained. They should focus lesser describing their educational qualifications.
Example Of A Good Cover Letter For Working Professionals With Work Experience:
345 Compassvale Street, Mysticwood, Texas 45678
8 October 2021
West Forge Medical
267 Saint Claire Drive
River valley, CA, USA 56789
Dear Ms. Anna Morgan,
The manager at Allstar Inc. was very stressed. He required five meetings with customers to be scheduled, 20 business transactions to be processed, and a summary of the team’s new sales strategy drafted before he goes onboard a flight to New York for an important board meeting. So, he turned to his sales-savvy administrative assistant, who can work well under stress, for help. That assistant was me. Not only did I manage to complete all the tasks on his plate for the day, but I also completed them before he boarded the plane.
For the past four years, I worked alongside a highly efficient and goal-oriented sales leader to support the business development team. As the only administrative assistant in the department, I held a variety of responsibilities, ranging from data entry and interacting with customers, processing transactions, and coming up with good promotional materials. This job enabled me to get a thorough understanding of various sales strategies and the complete sales cycle.
Like many others, my career path hasn’t been entirely straightforward. After leaving Melody Media, I signed up for a data science boot camp. After three months, I obtained a certificate in it but I also realized that I did not like the field of data science. However, my knowledge of data science is not wasted because I am now an aspiring sales executive and I have extensive knowledge of data science which would be useful for my job.
Here are how my experience would translate into this role:
At Melody Media, I worked with the sales team to organize five new sales strategies, each increasing sales, with the most effective sales strategy increasing sales by 40%.
At Allstar Inc., I assisted my team members in client acquisition and processed about 100 sales transactions every month.
I thrive in a fast-paced work environment that challenges me and allows me to think critically. Supporting a team of 20 and a busy executive helped me to learn and develop these skills.
I would love to schedule a time for us to discuss my experience and my career goals. Thank you for your time and consideration.
In a nutshell, a cover letter is a crucial part of your job application process, and you should spend sufficient time on it to write it properly and polish it so that you can impress the hiring manager. Additionally, you should ensure that the cover letter is tailored to the job position and the company you are applying to. A good quality cover letter would go a long way in enhancing your application and increasing your chances of getting the job.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Should I write a cover letter in the email or attach it as a separate document?
If it is not required of you to write your cover letter in the email itself, it is better to attach the cover letter as a separate document. This allows you to create a well-formatted cover letter instead of just typing the cover letter in the email, which may not look professional. If you are attaching your cover letter as a document, then you can keep your email short and simple.
- What are the benefits of a cover letter?
A cover letter is not always required by the hiring manager, and it is indicated as an optional document sometimes. However, it is a good practice to submit a cover letter with every job application due to the benefits of the cover letter. Some of these benefits are listed below.
- Sending a cover letter is an excellent way to show how interested you are in the job position.
- A cover letter will help to distinguish your application from others, which gives you an advantage over the other applicants for the job.
- Hiring managers will be able to assess your professional writing skills by looking at your cover letter. As such, a well-written cover letter will surely create a great impression of you in the hiring manager’s mind.
- A cover letter helps to make your application more personalized. This is because, in a cover letter, you get the opportunity to address the hiring manager personally and talk about your work experience with a personal touch.
- Hiring managers will be able to see how much research you have done about the company and the job position. This shows loyalty, a trait that recruiters love because it shows that a candidate is invested in building a career rather than just a job from which he or she would move on to other jobs quickly.
- Based on your writing style, hiring managers will be able to get insights into your personality. This is difficult to accomplish with just your resume.
- There is no room for you to explain potential concerns the hiring manager may have such as any gaps in your education or work and deficiency in a skill in your resume. However, you can do this in your cover letter. Addressing potential concerns in your cover letter will help you come across as proactive, which is a desirable trait in any employee.