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Written by Debbie BrideDebbie Bride

How long should a cover letter be?

5 min read
How long should a cover letter be?
Artwork by:Alina Kugush
Unsure about the ideal length for a cover letter? Worried that your current cover letter might be too long or too short? Don't worry! With cvapp.nz, we can help you create a well-crafted cover letter in no time.

The best cover letters are both captivating and concise. While it's important to keep employers engaged, it's also important that your cover letter remains relatively brief (e.g., usually no more than 300-400 words!) The best cover letters provide potential employers with necessary information and encourage them to continue reading, while still being mindful of their time and attention span. Ultimately, the main goal of a cover letter is to pique the curiosity of employers and motivate them to get to know you by providing a snapshot of your professional background, experiences, motivations, traits and skills. Ready for the challenge? Let’s get started!

Wait a second – what’s the purpose of a cover letter? 

The purpose of a cover letter is to convey your professional value to potential employers. That’s it! Employers want to know who you are as a professional, and why you're the real deal. A well-crafted cover letter acts as your personal introduction and serves as an opportunity to showcase your unique qualifications, achievements, and professional aspirations. It not only highlights any relevant qualifications and accomplishments, but it also gives employers an opportunity to understand your motivations, work ethic, and passion. We already know you're awesome, but we’re here to help you showcase your skills and let employers know just how incredible you are. 

Some guidelines for creating compelling cover letters:

To create compelling cover letters, it’s always best to follow an organised structure. Cover letters can be the first impression employers have of you, so it’s important that your cover letter conveys your career background, talents and expertise effectively. 

Cover letter structure

Generally speaking, all cover letters have the following structure: 

  • Cover letter header
  • Cover letter greeting
  • Cover letter introduction
  • Cover letter body paragraphs
  • Cover letter conclusion

Cover letter header

Cover letter headers contain all the contact information employers might need to get in touch, so in this section, it’s important that you include up-to-date, accurate contact information with no spelling or grammatical errors. These contact details include your email address, your phone number, any links to professional websites and, if necessary, your mailing address. By including this information, you ensure that employers have multiple avenues to reach out to you. Did somebody say convenient?

Cover letter greeting

Starting your cover letter on the right note is essential to capturing the employer's attention. To achieve this, your cover letter greeting should be personalised, engaging and polite. For example, you can start your cover letter off with "Dear Mr. Williams" or "Dear Mrs. Muriwai." Employers feel acknowledged and respected when cover letters are addressed to them directly, so if you know the name of your employer, always use it. Though choosing a cover letter greeting is often the easiest part of creating a compelling cover letter, it’s essential that you choose the right one! 

Cover letter introduction

Your cover letter introduction is your opportunity to briefly summarise why you’re the best candidate for the job role. An effective cover letter introduction showcases your enthusiasm for the job role and allows you to elaborate on your motivations for applying for the role. Remember, your cover letter introduction establishes the tone for the rest of your letter, so be confident and use engaging language to encourage potential employers to continue reading.

Cover letter body paragraphs

Cover letter body paragraphs are the most important part of your cover letter: so it’s essential that you spend time tailoring these paragraphs to adequately reflect your skills, accomplishments and career experiences to the job role. In these paragraphs, you’ll also want to include facts, figures, percentages and numbers where possible. Remember – your cover letter is your opportunity to go beyond the bullet points of your CV, so try your best to convey your career strengths and professional value to employers in this section. If you need inspiration, we have a ton of cover letter body paragraph examples on the cvapp.nz website!

Cover letter conclusion

To conclude your cover letter, you’ll want to include a compelling call-to-action statement that encourages employers to reach out and connect with you. By including a strong call-to-action statement, you can leave a lasting impression and increase your chances of getting a response. For example: “If you are available next week, I would love to discuss this opportunity with you at your earliest convenience.” You can sign-off with a respectful, formal farewell, such as “ngā mihi,” or “yours sincerely,” and last but certainly not least, don’t forget to thank employers for reading your cover letter! 

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