Quick Guidelines on Cover-Letter Components


Here’s a quick rundown of what your cover letter should entail, says the Career Doctor, Randall S. Hansen, PhD. First, the length. Always err on the side of being brief, so no more than one page, and really about four paragraphs total. If it’s an email cover letter, it should be even shorter. Second, the content. The first paragraph must engage the reader. Make it dynamic. Make it weave the reader into the rest of the letter. Don’t waste it with some boring formulaic sentence. The second and third paragraphs give specific details that highlight your qualifications and your fit with the position and the organization; if possible, use some of the employer’s own words here. Your last paragraph should thank the reader and request an interview. You should also say you plan to follow-up the letter at a later date — you must be proactive. For the complete lowdown on cover letters, see our Cover Letter Tutorial.