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How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

Can A Cover Letter Be 2 Pages?

Recruiters and hiring managers are inundated with resumes and cover letters for every position they post.  With recruiters giving just 6-seconds to each resume they read.  While you may be tempted to provide a cover letter more than one page, a good and well-written cover letter will be less than one page long.

Cover letters are inherently different than resumes.  Your resume is a brief overview of your previous work experience, with bulleted out points describing your responsibilities and achievements.  Typically, resumes are written in chronological order and should also adhere to the one-page rule.

Cover letters, however, are a candidate’s sales pitch to the recruiter and hiring manager.  It is a statement of who they are, what their accomplishments and skills are, and why the recruiter should proceed with them for the interview process.  A cover letter is an appeal to the recruiter on what distinguishes them from the other candidates who applied to the position.

Again, recruiters are often inundated with both resumes and cover letters for every position they post.  On-average, corporate job openings attract over 250 applications.  Assuming that half of those applicants provide a cover letter, that is 375 total pages received for every job posted (between applicants resumes and cover letters.)

Out of the 250 applicants, a mere 6 will be offered an interview, with a final individual being offered a position.  When a recruiter is looking to narrow the field between all the candidates, they will typically read through a candidate’s cover letter to help them decide.  If they see that the cover letter is over one-page in length, they will toss it to the side and continue with the remaining candidates.

Recruiters and hiring managers are not impressed with cover letters over one-page.  By having a cover letter over one-page, it shows that the candidate is unable to provide only the relevant and applicable information needed.  A candidate needs to be concise and straight to the point.

It is never okay to have a cover letter more than one-page.  You should learn how to write a stellar cover letter and ensure that all the information is included on one page.  Keeping your cover letter concise, you should begin by introducing yourself, letting the recruiter know which position you are applying for, and briefly describe how your qualifications match that of the job description.

The body of your cover letter should address directly why you are interested in the position.  Speak to your previous experiences and how the skills you’ve gained would make you a perfect fit for the role.  You should also incorporate the keywords on the job description within your cover letter.

Conclude your cover letter by providing a quick recap of your skills and qualifications and how that will make you an excellent candidate.  Speak to your wish to move forward in the interview process and thank the hiring manager for their time and the opportunity.

Keeping your cover letter concise and straight to the point is more preferred than rambling on for multiple pages.  Follow our guidelines above for keeping your cover letter within the one-page limit and be sure to customize each cover letter to the position you are applying to.

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