How Long Should a Cover Letter Be - Live Assets

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

November 20, 2022 -


How to Write a Cover Letter


So you’ve decided it’s time to hunt for a new job. You’ve narrowed down the top companies you want to work for, and customized your resume for each position, but wait, you still have to write your cover letters.

Cover letters are a great way to express your enthusiasm for the job and set you apart from your competitors. Some postings say it’s optional, while others don’t, but you decide to write them all anyway (a wise choice). But as you open your Word document, you feel stuck.

Where do I even begin? What information should I include, and how long should this letter even be?

These can be complicated questions, especially if the job description doesn’t indicate much. You might worry about writing too little or too much, but before you panic, we are here to help!


Ideally, your cover letter should fit within the following parameters:

  • Less than one page
  • Three to 4 paragraphs
  • 250 to 400 words


Break it up into sections

You only get one page, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be one text block. Similar to your classic middle school hamburger essay, you need an introduction, some body paragraphs and a concluding paragraph.

Feel free to play around with your structure, but your basic layout should look like the following:


  • Introduction paragraph: Your opening needs to be attention-grabbing. You only have a page to make an impression, so be creative and original. Your opening should also include a statement about your enthusiasm, interest in the position, and connection to the company. You can also address if you are making a career change or have had a long employment gap.


  • Body paragraphs: This is the meat and potatoes of your cover letter. Here you want to focus on what you can offer to the company. Refer to your skills and experience and use concise examples to support your claims.


  • Concluding paragraph: Your final paragraph doesn’t need to be over the top. In this section, thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration and emphasize your interest in the position. End with a call to action, and your cover letter is complete!


Keep it relevant to your audience

You might have a ton of experience under your belt, but that doesn’t mean you need to include a point about every job you’ve ever worked. You want to write about what matters most to the employer.

As you start writing your letter, read the job posting carefully and look for recurring themes. Remember to be specific and don’t just rehash your resume. Once you know what your potential employer is looking for, you can match your own experiences and qualifications.

The STAR interview method is a great way to structure your examples and pique the reader’s interest. As you share your experiences, think about how they impacted your last employer.


Bullet points

400 words doesn’t seem like a ton to prove why you’re right for the job. And you’re right; it’s not. For the sake of staying concise and conserving space consider using bullet points. This doesn’t mean you can copy and paste from your resume. Instead, utilize these bullet points to bring up new information.


Use standard formatting

Don’t think you can rely on those old high school tricks to hit your ideal length. You know what we mean—making your font slightly larger or widening your margins. You want to make your cover letter as easy to read as possible so stick to simple formatting.


This should look like:

  • Standard fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman or Helvetica.
  • Keeping font size between 10 and 12 points.
  • 1-inch margins all around
  • Using single space or 1.15 for lines


Follow instructions

Ultimately everything we’ve covered in this article is just guidelines. While most employers recognize and accept them, it’s still not always a given. The best way to figure out what an employer is looking for is to go right to the source – the employer.

When applying for jobs, carefully check if the job posting indicates specific instructions for your cover letter and application. Be sure to follow these instructions to a T. While all of the above are standard expectations, always default to the job posting.



IT Recruitment Agency in Toronto | About Live Assets | IT Staffing Solutions

Live Assets is a boutique IT Staffing/Recruiting firm specializing exclusively in building IT teams of excellence for the Information Technology sector.

We are a small, but productive team that works closely together and has had a 96% success rate for the past number of years!

We have a diverse number of clients and industries and focus on both full-time and contract I.T. opportunities.

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