Applying for the highest paid job in your life? Wondering what it takes to stand out of all the candidates? Take a look at your cover letter since it can dramatically change the impression of your application form.
No doubt the experience and certifications on your resume are vital. Yet, there is another piece that accompanies these documents and is often taken for granted. So, how long should the cover letter be to make an unforgettable impression and win your place under the sun?
Who needs a cover letter?
By looking into the hiring process one can see how a hiring manager or recruiter screens candidates and selects the best ones to have an interview with the prospective employer.
Every candidate sends in a package of documents that represent their experience and create their professional image. While a couple of candidates may have similar qualifications, the cover letter will for sure vary. So, what information are you covering in a letter? Basically, it is the summary of your work experience and other related activities you participated in. The letter length can be one page and more.
The target reader of this paper is a hiring manager and your future boss. You aim to persuade them that this job/internship is the opportunity for you to develop and become a better specialist.
Cover letter components
You might have noticed that every cover letter example has a different set of components. It is up to you to pick the sections of your cover letter. The standard set includes:
- Sender and receiver names
- Contact information (email address, phone number, etc.)
- Main body (as many paragraphs are you decide)
- Closing sentence
The cover letter length is optional. Stick to the rule that the text should serve the purpose and its purpose is to present you as a competent and qualified for the position specialist. It makes the first impression and decides how far your job application will go. Focus on filling the main body with the information that describes your career achievements, and your compatibility with the position as well as the company in general.
What part of the cover letter matters most?
Mind that the way you format and present the letter makes an impression. However, the employer is interested in the main body mostly. To create the perfect main body of the letter you need to study the job description carefully. Write down the list of your traits (personal and professional) and prioritize them according to the job posting. For example, if the employer is looking for a marketing specialist with lots of experience in communications, you need to highlight all the related skills. It can be participation in debates, work with social media, or your blog.
Why does a covering letter length matter?
To know how long the cover letter should be you need to assess the job posting. Look at how many skills are required and which ones are emphasized. If you only have a couple of points to mention, do not waste the precious time of the target reader and be precise.
What do you do then if you want to get an internship opportunity and you are a student? Make sure to include motivation.
If the employer does not give you a specific word count, try to stick to the one-page size. Unless you have a five-page long list of skills related to the job. Format the paper in a way that makes it easy to understand. Add the sections and headings if needed. Express gratitude for the time the reader spent on studying the letter.
The last but not least point is proofreading. Take spelling seriously and include only valid contact information. It applies to the full package of documents you send to the employer (CV, resume, etc.). Try to get help with editing and proofreading your text.
Formatting Your cover letter
Treat your cover letter as the most important document of your job application process. This is the very first document the hiring manager will see so it must be compelling enough to convince the reader to review your Resume.
Use a basic block style format that is easy to follow and always looks professional. Once you’ve got the basics, you need to include an explanation (why are you writing it), who are you and why they should look at your Resume. How long should your cover letter be? No more than 1 page in length and should be targeted to the job application.
Use a basic block style format that is easy to follow. Don’t use fancy fonts or excessive highlighting, bolding or underlining. Arial, Calibri, and Times New Roman are classics for a reason.
Don’t Make Them Guess
This advice probably seems obvious to some of you, but you would be surprised! Hiring managers see hundreds, possibly thousands of cover letters and resumes.
Don’t make the person guess which job you would like to be considered for when you apply.
If you are responding to a job posting, use the exact job title in your response to the hiring manager to match your cover letter and Resume to the correct position.
Some companies use computer software to sort cover letters and resumes. If you don’t use the right keywords, it can be overlooked.
Summarize your qualifications in your cover letter, don’t rewrite your Resume. Tell the reader why you would be a stellar candidate for the position, without rehashing the contents of your Resume. The cover letter is meant to encourage the hiring manager to invite you to a meeting. Take this opportunity to convince him or her why getting face to face with you would be a good idea.
Double, Triple Check
Do you want to ensure that you will not be interviewed for a job? Submit a cover letter and Resume with spelling and grammar errors. Straight into the bin. Go over these documents yourself, use a spelling and grammar checking program like Grammarly, and have a few friends and family members check them for good measure.
It can be hard to spot your own mistakes because you’ve read the documents over and over. Those mistakes will jump out at a first-time reader though. If your documents have these types of errors, it won’t matter how sterling the contents are.
This is your chance to make a good impression. It won’t matter whether you have excellent skills or the right educational background if there are grammatical or spelling errors you Resume will not be considered.
Forgetting to include your contact information is another detail that you may overlook. If you are emailing it or applying via a website, make sure you put your name at the bottom of your correspondence along with your cell phone number and email address. If you are mailing the letter, put pen to paper and sign it.
Your cover letter can be one page or five pages long. Its success depends on the combination of balanced word count and relevant content. If you write a full-page cover letter with white space after every paragraph the chances are high that the employer will treat it as a joke. So, make sure to research the rules of how to write a professional cover letter. As an option, you can use the help of writing services to get the letter that corresponds to the updated rules of formatting.