By Amanda Clark
If you’ve ever applied for a job before, then you’ve probably composed a cover letter—but do you know what a cover letter is for, exactly? Basically, it’s meant to grab the attention of the recruiter or hiring manager and encourage him or her to take a look at your resume. What it’s not meant to do is serve as your memoir, your life story, or a fill-in for the resume itself.
All of this means that your cover letter should be short and to the point. How short? Well, if you go over a single page, you’ve almost surely gone too far. The question is, how can you ensure a cover letter that’s truly tight and focused?
Steps for a Shorter Cover Letter
We’d recommend that you first take some time to carefully review the job description itself, which should offer you some clues as to the top two to four skills the employer is seeking. After you determine what those skills are, think about how your own experience coincides with them. Hopefully, you can come up with a few short bullet points that don’t rehash your entire career, but do point out the ways in which you are well qualified for the role in question.
Remember that your cover letter will be accompanied by your resume—so you don’t have to include everything, and you don’t have to worry about leaving something out. All you need to do is focus in on the handful of career achievements you’ve had that overlap with that job description.
You can condense your cover letter into a few impactful points, then, without the need for tricks—tricks like tighter margins or microscopic fonts. Those gimmicks are transparent, and besides, they make your cover letter more difficult to read. Just focus on summarizing, and beyond that, let your resume speak for itself.
Finalize Your Cover Letter—Then Send!
Once you finish your succinct and powerful cover letter, proofread it a few times, double and triple check your contact information, and then you should be set—all ready to pair the cover letter with your resume, and to present yourself in the best possible light to hiring managers and recruiters.