In writing my cover letters I've done something like this:

  1. Paragraph saying why I want to work for the company and the main reason I'll be a good fit
  2. List of my skills, ticking off what the advert is asking for
  3. A few very short paragraphs substantiating my skills and relevant examples of experience they've asked for

It seems to take about half a page of a word document. Is this typical?

Specific details: I'm applying for web development jobs with 1-2 years experience in London. No CEO positions.

  • 4
    It's possible that this varies by type of job, both function and level of seniority. A cover letter for a CTO candidate might be of a different length than one for a first-level restaurant manager. Or might not, but just in case, could you add something about the type of job? And also location (country or region, whatever's meaningful in your area)? Thanks. Commented Sep 17, 2014 at 20:14
  • Irrelevant outburst: Sorry, but the phrasing makes me think of the question of how long a dress should be... and I'm imagining a cover letter that is "above the ankle but below the knee". Outside of that, I agree with Monica: It Depends. Remember that the purpose of the cover letter is just to get them interested enough that they read the resume, and to convey your enthusiasm at the idea of working in this position/for this company... so the first paragraph you mention is really the important one.
    – keshlam
    Commented Sep 18, 2014 at 6:04
  • workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/17745/… Does this provide you with any useful guidance? Commented Sep 18, 2014 at 14:25

3 Answers 3


As someone doing a lot of interviews recently I can safely say that anything going to a 2nd page will mostly likely ignored unless something already attracted me to the resume to begin with.

Since the cover letter is something to make your resume stick out, keep it as brief as possible and as specific as possible about why you really are interested in THIS company and THIS position rather than any of the other positions that you qualify for at other companies. Half a page seems about right as long as its not a dense block of text.


From my experience, your cover letter should be a page long. Not even a full page either. It is an introduction and a reason as to why they should open your resume.

Try combining points 2 & 3. Instead of giving a laundry list of why you're awesome, just pick the key points and highlight the skills you have in them.

In my opinion, it should be short, sweet, and personalized to the company you are applying to. It should make them want to look at your resume for more detail, not give the whole story.


Write one powerful paragraph - short and unique. Attach a brief "synopsis of resume" of confident highlights of your work, schooling, projects, hobbies, thinking. Forget the two-page letter and the two-page resume. HR can tell in 2 sentences if you are a good fit. You can't hide. A bullet list of good stuff will make them smile and will often get you an interview just so they can see who the hell you are.

  • this doesn't even attempt to answer the question asked, "How long should a cover letter be?" See How to Answer
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 18, 2014 at 12:20

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