How Long Should a Cover Letter Be

Nilda Melissa Diaz
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, Career Advice Contributor
Contributor: Marla Figueroa
Cover Letter

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For a complete job application package, you need a cover letter. But, how long should a cover letter be? Does length matter if it’s via email? Is there a difference between the length of an executive cover letter and an internship cover letter? 

In this guide, we will:

  • Discuss the ideal length of a cover letter
  • Show you an example of a great cover letter
  • Offer tips to make the most out of your cover letter

How long should a cover letter be: By the numbers

A cover letter is a one-page document. It follows the business letter format, which means you have to consider the heading and signature to fit into this one-page document. When it comes to the content of the letter, the expectation is 250–400 words or three to four paragraphs.

Perfect Cover Letter Length

250- 400 Words
3-4 Paragraphs
One-page document

Recruiters and hiring managers go over hundreds of applications to find desirable candidates. Catch their attention quickly by using keywords from the job description and writing a concise  cover letter with the relevant information they’re looking for in a candidate. 

Remember: A job application, which includes your resume and cover letter, is a document package that presents you as a desirable candidate to hiring managers so you get an interview. You will have an opportunity to impress the hiring manager with more skills and accomplishments during the interview. 

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Cover letter example

How long should a cover letter be. Waitress cover letter example.
Need more inspiration? Our 250+ cover letter examples for all jobs and career levels will show how an effective cover letter should look.

Tips to write your perfect length cover letter

  • Tailor the cover letter to the job description. Your skills and experience provide you with a wide range of skills to offer a potential employer. Yet, their job description makes it clear exactly what they’re looking for. Use the job ad to build a cover letter with the value you bring to the position and company.
  • Don’t repeat your resume. Save space by expanding on your accomplishments and skills instead of repeating what’s already on your resume.
  • Use action verbs. These powerful verbs not only add more weight to your accomplishments and skills, it also helps shorten the used space and word count of your cover letter
  • Using the STAR method will showcase your best job-relevant examples. While most commonly used to answer interview questions, you can take note from the “Situation, Task, Action, Response” method to highlight your achievements in an comprehensible format. 
  • Bullet points help direct the reader’s eyes.There is no need for intricate storytelling. You can utilize bullet points to briefly write about job-relevant accomplishments and skills.
  • Keep it short and relevant to the job. Remember, you want to entice the employer to set up an interview, not provide your entire career history. You’ll have time for more during the interview process.
  • Use a Cover Letter Builder. If you have doubts about how to best format your cover letter or how to include relevant information, use technology. A cover letter builder will guide you in creating an effective cover letter and provide content suggestions to optimize your document.

How long should a cover letter be? FAQ

How long should a cover letter be for an internship?

Whether you’re applying for a job or an internship, the length of your cover letter remains the same. You can take advantage of the shorter cover letter length and focus on your relevant academic achievements.

How long should a cover letter be for an executive position?

Executives should also follow the rule of thumb and keep the cover letter to one page. It is important to be concise and keep the content focused to the job description, even at the executive level. You could go beyond one page, but you risk losing the interest of the reader. Instead, use bullet points to help bring attention to three important career achievements.

How long should paragraphs be in a cover letter?

There is no required word count for each paragraph. Focus on dividing your 250–400 words into the body paragraphs:

  • The first paragraph is your introduction, your strongest skill and why you’re interested in the company. 
  • Use the second paragraph (and third, if applicable) to present your accomplishments with the help of the STAR method to follow an easy-to-read structure.
  • The final paragraph will reiterate your skills and interests. Also, include a simple call to action, like I will contact you next week or Looking forward to hearing from you

How long is a cover letter sent as an email?

When sent in the body of an email, a cover letter should aim at the lower end of the 250-400 word count. Keep the most important information in the first paragraph and use bullet points for your achievements. You can skip the heading, but keep the date and addressee. Remember to take into consideration the employer’s instructions on the job posting, as they could require the cover letter be sent as an attachment instead of the email body.

How Long Should Your Cover Letter Be Key Takeaways

  • The ideal length of a cover letter is between 200–400 words, or one page, using a business letter format.
  • Always customize your cover letter to the job description. 
  • In 3–4 paragraphs, explain why you are the best candidate for the job and why you are interested in this company. 
  • Use bullet points to draw the recruiter’s attention to specific information.
  • A cover letter builder can help you simplify the process and create an impressive cover letter. 


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Contributor: Marla Figueroa