How Long Should A Cover Letter Be In 2022? | Full Guide

There are many steps when it comes to landing your next dream job. It all starts with a job application. From there, most companies will ask for (or at least encourage) a cover letter. If the hiring manager is interested, they’ll call you in for a job interview

Now, most job seekers know the importance of the cover letter but simply don’t know how to put one together, even after looking through cover letter templates and cover letter examples. Not only that, but the question of how long a cover letter should be comes to mind.

If you’re struggling with your cover letter format and word count, we’re here to help. This article explains important details about how long your cover letter should be and tips and tricks to put together the best cover letter possible.

How Long Should Your Cover Letter Be?

Even though everyone seems to have their own opinion on how long a cover letter should be, the answer is simple: the length of your cover letter should be at least a half-page long, but never longer than a whole page. The ideal cover letter length is a single page. This gives you enough room to format your cover letter properly and relay enough information to be viewed as a strong candidate. 

It’s important not to exceed a single page, though. Having too much information is never a good thing. Remember — a hiring manager is likely going through ten, twenty, if not a hundred applications and cover letters. Writing a cover letter that is too long may lead to your application getting skipped over entirely.

You don’t want to write too little, either. This could indicate a lack of caring or confidence to the recruiter, which could also lead to your application being overlooked.

Tips For Building A Great Cover Letter

Writing an entire page is ideal when creating a genuine, engaging, and inclusive cover letter. But what should be included in the cover letter? How can you come up with a full page that will actually benefit your job search? If you’re unsure how to create a great cover letter, don’t panic — plenty of people are unaware of how to properly format and create a cover letter. Here are some of our top tips to get you started.

#1. Use Proper Formatting

Proper formatting is critical when creating a standout cover letter. Always use Arial 12-point font in black. Using other fonts or adding colors may seem like a great way to stand out, but it only comes off unprofessional and is challenging to read. Employers will likely skip over cover letters with these unnecessary “extras.”

If your cover letter is a bit on the long side, don’t hesitate to use bullet points for a clean-cut look. Don’t overdo it with bullet points, though. This can cause white space that makes your cover letter appear blank and less thorough.

#2. Use A Clear Subject Line

Whether you’re preparing for an in-person or phone interview, you won’t get there without a stellar cover letter. But even those with the best formatting and information can be glossed over without an appropriate subject line.

When sending your cover letter through email, always include a subject line. Otherwise, it is seen as unprofessional or may be sent to spam and overlooked entirely. When writing the subject line, be as professional and concise as possible.

For example, “HR Generalist (REQ-7872) – Amanda Sims” includes the job description, job title, and applicant’s name. If you’re referred, writing something like “Customer Service Manager Application (referred by Christopher Johnson)” is ideal.

#3. Highlight Your Qualifications & Achievements

The hiring manager doesn’t know you (yet). They don’t know your work experience, accomplishments, skills, training, etc. That’s why it is so essential to create a cover letter. This is your opportunity to stand out from the flood of other applicants. That said, don’t hesitate to pump yourself up. There is no such thing as being “too cocky” in a cover letter. Feel free to highlight your qualifications, achievements, and relevant experience they will want to know about.

#4. Split Up Your Cover Letter Into Sections

 There are essentially six key sections to include in every cover letter:

  1. Date and Contact Information: This should be listed at the top of the cover letter. It should include your full name, phone number, and email. Include the date so the company can keep track of when you applied.
  2. Greeting: If you know the hiring manager’s name, it’s okay to write Dear Mrs. Ross, Dear Dr. Faulkin, etc. If you do not have a name, opt for something professional such as Dear Hiring Manager or To Whom It May Concern.
  3. Opening Paragraph: The first paragraph is considered your first impression. It is here where you aim to catch the recruiter’s attention. Explain which job you’re applying for and why the job description excites you. Explain why you’re the best person for the job.
  4. Middle Paragraph: The second paragraph is specifically designed to explain your experience in detail. Include any relevant knowledge, skills, and awards you have accomplished that will “wow” the hiring manager.
  5. Final Paragraph: The closing paragraph (third paragraph) should thank the company for its time. Here, you can also explain specific details, such as why you have a gap in your employment history.
  6. Salutation: End your cover letter by saying something like, Sincerely, Respectively, or Thank you for your consideration, followed by your name.

You also have the option of adding a “call to action” at the very bottom of your page. Here, this will encourage the recruiter to follow up.

#5. Proofread Your Cover Letter More Than Once

Nothing screams “unprofessional” like typos, so make sure you don’t have any in your cover letter. This is especially true if you’re applying for a job where precision is critical, such as accounting or nursing. Proofread your cover letter once, twice, and three times to ensure nothing has been missed. Ask a friend or family member to read it over, too. Having an extra eye looking over your work can sometimes help point out things unseen.  

The Bottom Line

Replying to a job posting with a thorough and professional cover letter is an excellent way to stand out to the human resources hiring department. While there is no specific word count to achieve, ensure that the cover letter is at least a half-page long but no longer than a whole page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a 500-word cover letter too long?

As mentioned previously, there is no “specific word count” for cover letters. They should be a half to a full page. That said, a 500-word cover letter is likely too long as it would make your cover letter longer than a whole page. Don’t try to make it fit the page by changing your cover letter writing to less than 12-point font, either. This will make the cover letter too small to read and thus looked over.

Is a 1.5-page cover letter too long?

Yes. It does not matter if you’re applying for a job on LinkedIn or social media. Cover letters should never exceed a single page.

Is a 1000-word cover letter too long?

Again, it all comes down to how long the cover letter is. A 1,000-word cover letter will extend beyond the one-page rule, making it much too long for a cover letter.

What is the average length of a cover letter?

The unspoken rule is that cover letters should generally be around 250 to 300 words. This allows for enough information to be relayed without being too long or short.