Need to Keep Your Cover Letter to One Page

Nancy Anderson
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When writing your resume, it's important to keep it brief, as hiring managers have very little time to spend reading through long lists of achievements and qualifications. The same advice applies to your cover letter. If your cover letter is longer than a single page, a hiring manager might not read it at all. Use the following tips to cut your cover letter down to a single page.

1. Tailor the Cover Letter to the Job Description

The key parts of your cover letter are those that relate to the job description. For example, if the job description calls for a strong salesperson, the bulk of your cover letter should focus on your sales experience. Reduce or eliminate sections that focus too strongly on skills that aren't mentioned in the job description.

2. Don't Repeat Your Resume

Hiring managers don't need to read the same information twice. If you already listed your previous job titles when writing your resume, you don't need to repeat this information in your cover letter. Instead, use the space to describe some of the experiences you had in those roles in greater detail.

3. Trim the Opening

Some job seekers waste space at the beginning of their cover letter with bland statements, such as "I would like to work for this company because ... " Cut these banal structures, and get straight into explaining why you are the best fit for the role.

4. Eliminate Buzzwords And Cliches

Every word in your cover letter needs to work hard for you. Cut meaningless phrases, such as "I am a detail-oriented team player." Instead, focus on what makes you a unique job candidate. Anyone can claim to be hardworking, but only you can claim to have doubled your sales quota for three months in a row. Specific examples are a much better use of space in a single-page cover letter.

5. Examples Are Essential, But Don't Go Overboard

Although it is good to give specific examples of your skills in your cover letter, there simply isn't space to tell the hiring manager every little thing that has happened during your career. Therefore, you need to think about which examples are most relevant to the role for which you are applying. It's great that you won an employee of the month award in your first sales job, but is this information relevant if you applied for a senior project manager position?

By cutting irrelevant information, cliches and overly verbose openings from your cover letter, you can make it fit into a single page. Keeping your cover letter short increases the chance of a hiring manager reading it all the way through, which also improves your chance of landing an interview.

Photo courtesy of Kittikun Atsawintarangkul at


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