Cover letters add context to your CV and allow you to sell your skills and experience to potential employers. To make the best of this opportunity discover how to write a cover letter and take a look at our examples for inspiration
A cover letter is a document sent alongside your CV when applying for jobs. It acts as a personal introduction and helps to sell your application. A cover letter is necessary as it gives you the chance to explain to an employer why you’re the best candidate for the job. You do this by highlighting relevant skills and experience; therefore you should always write your cover letter with the position you’re applying for in mind.
Not to be confused with personal statements for your CV, cover letters should complement your CV but not duplicate it. The general consensus among recruiters when it comes to the length of these documents is the shorter the better. Typically three to five short paragraphs, cover letters should not exceed one A4 page.
Problem #2: It’s Overly Formal
The problem with this stilted and unnatural language is that it’s off-putting to hiring managers: It makes you seem insincere and even robotic, not anything like the friendly, approachable, and awesome-to-work-with person that you are.
The Fix: Use Common Language and Speech Patterns
Skip the frills, and just use clear language—“I’m thrilled to be writing to apply for the [position] at [company].” You can sense that this sentence has a much more genuine and friendly tone than the first example. Here are some other complicated terms and their simpler, more natural synonyms:
There are a couple ways to spot overly formal language in your cover letter. First, try reading it out loud to see if there are areas that feel unnatural coming off the tongue, and rework them to flow better. You can also try using a program like Hemmingway App to help you identify over-complicated language in your writing.
Example of One-Page Cover Letter
Focus on your relevant skills and achievements
Job recruiters go through so many applications a day that the moment they see pieces of information that are not related to what they are searching for, your resume and cover letter are headed to the bin.
Include four or fewer paragraphs in your cover letter body
Paragraph 1 – Introduction
Start by introducing yourself and how you found out about the position, followed by what motivated you to apply for it. Use this part to showcase your knowledge about the company.
You know exactly what they are looking for and, big surprise, you’re the one that can give it all. If there are any specific things you really like about this business, now is the time to list them.
Paragraph 2 and 3 – Body
Use specific examples. “I have many years of experience working with wild cats.” is good, but it can be even more precise. “I have worked as a wild cats rehabilitator in the Oregon Zoo in Portland for 6 years.”
“By transforming business goals into measurable indicators with conversion rate optimization in mind, I can help clients gather and analyze user interactions in a visually appealing way that they can access anytime, anywhere.“
Paragraph 4 – Ending
And now it’s time for the big finale. Thank the hiring managers for their time and undivided attention, provide them with extra contact information and finish up with a call to action.
Write short and direct sentences
Leave some information to be revealed later at the interview
Use a Professional Cover Letter Format
Use a readable and plain font, for example, Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, or Calibri. The size should be no more than 13 point and no less than 11 point. Make it too small, and it’s illegible, make it too big and it looks like you’re trying to fill up space.
How to make the most of your cover letter word length and arrangement
Before you start writing, check if there are any specific requirements posted by the recruiters regarding your cover letter. Some companies will tell you exactly what they want for length and content.
Can my cover letter be 2 pages?
You’re not telling your life story, you’re simply listing all the relevant experience and skills you have so you can get invited to an interview. You will have more chances to market yourself once you get there.
How many words should a cover letter be?
Well, if you don’t have any specific instructions from the employer, keep it between 250 and 400, ideally 300. If you’re using a 12 point font and you’ve written your 3 paragraphs, that’s the usual word count at the end.
What about academic cover letter length?
It usually needs to include all sorts of important information such as teaching, research, departmental service, published papers, relevant accolades, and anything else that might be required for the position.
How long should my intern cover letter be?