How to write a Short Cover Letter (5 samples)

April 16, 2020

How to write a short cover letter? In this day and age, it can be easy to assume that cover letters are no longer needed. Well, we hate to break it to you, but they are still very relevant- but the traditional cover letter styles are surely taking a backseat. Shorter, new-and-improved versions are now becoming the cream of the crop and you need to know how to do it.

So, how to write a short cover letter? There are a few ways to write a short cover letter. The goal is to remove extra fluff and get right to the point. You can cut down on paragraphs, even making it as short as a single paragraph, without missing out on key points. 

If you’re tired of trying to write out your history, skills, and hopes and dreams day in and day out, then you will be happy to hear that short cover letters are the big thing right now- but there are a right way and a wrong way to go about it. We’re going to discuss how to write a top-notch short cover letter that gets you hired!

write a short cover letter

How to Write a Short Cover Letter- The Do’s and Don’ts

Cover letters can be a major pain. One can spend upwards of an hour trying to put one together. With all of the different formatting rules to follow, it can feel like a bigger challenge than the face-to-face interview.

The good news is that cover letters are getting shorter these days. In fact, many employers are now saying that the shorter a cover letter is, the better.

Think about it from the hiring manager’s point of you- he’s got 200 applicants for one job. He doesn’t want to spend all day and all night reading through page-long cover letters. If he can whiz through one or two paragraphs per applicant he can hire much quicker.

Next, let’s take a good look at how to write a short cover letter that is still personable, professional, and formatted properly. Here are some tips and tricks:

1. Get Rid of ‘Fluff’

There is a lot of fluff found on everyone’s resumes. There are likely all of these nonsense words that don’t have a place whatsoever, but you think they do.

You want it to be professional and on the longer side to impress the hiring manager, right?

Wrong!

Look at these two examples:

Fluffed-up version: My name is Richard Johnson and I am thrilled to have seen your open position for Chef. I have spent my last 3 years at the Chef’s Institute learning all aspects of cooking. I can make amazing desserts, entrees, and appetizers in a wide range of flavors, with most success in Italian fare.

Short cover letter version: My name is Richard Johnson and I’m the Italian Chef wizard. I can create mozzarella sticks that leave you drooling and a chicken parmesan entree that’s cooked to perfection. My 3 years of schooling proves that I’m dedicated and successful. 

2. Lose the ‘Common Descriptive Words’

Every single person uses the same descriptive words- they are either customer service geniuses, have great time management skills, or they’re never late for their shift.

Okay, that’s great and all, but that doesn’t set you apart from the sea of applicants now does it?

The best piece of advice anyone could ever give you- for a short or a long cover letter- is to ditch the common descriptive words and really think about what makes you stand out.

You want to ‘Wow’ the hiring manager and explain to them- in a quickfire type of way- why they need you, and why they need you now.

Common cover letter: My name is Melissa and I am the best choice because I have 5 years of customer service under my belt. I am great with the public and am always on time. I pride myself on being a people-person with the ability to get the job done, no matter what it takes. My customers have told me how much they appreciate me and enjoy working with me. 

Short cover letter: Confession: My customer service skills are out-of-this-world and your customers will thank you for hiring me- just ask the thousands of happy customers I’ve worked with through the past 5 years.

3. Make it Short and To the Point

Of course, the goal is to make your cover letter shorter without skimping on any of the juicy details.

This means that you might not be able to add in every single job you have had in the past, but that shouldn’t matter. The goal is to highlight your skills and why you’re the best pick for the job in an efficient and non-fluffy way.

Now, some people might find that they can only narrow down their cover letter to half a page comfortably. And that’s the goal here- you want to make sure that you’re comfortable and confident with your cover letter.

However, if you’re really savvy, then you can compact your cover letter into a single paragraph. 

And, if you need any extra space, you can also add a P.S. at the bottom to get their attention once more. Let’s have a look:

Dear Principal Joseph,

Fact: I’ve been a top-rated teacher in my division three years in a row. My passion for teaching started in 2007 as a tutor and I have yet to reach my full potential. Now, with 12 years under my belt, 6 Teacher of the Year Awards, and increasing grades by 20% in my classroom, I can guarantee happy students that are above average in their educational journey.

You can contact me at 555-555-5555. Give me a call anytime after 5 PM.

Thank you,

Shirley Blue

P.S. I’m also a teacher on the Board of Education and have thoroughly enjoyed my time. 

This cover letter is short, sweet, and to the point. It doesn’t go into too much detail, yet is still packed with important information that your employer actually wants to know about.

At this point, if they want or need any additional information, then they will be able to take a look at your actual resume.

The best part is- you don’t have to skip on professionalism or great formatting.

You have technically hit all the ‘must-haves’ in your cover letter, which is what the employer is truly looking at. All you have done here is shown the hiring manager why they should hire you and why they may even need you- and that’s the entire goal.

Related Questions

Why should cover letters be short?

The answer is pretty simple- the hiring manager doesn’t want to spend a week reading through 2-page long cover letters. The shorter and easier to read, the more they will pay attention. It also speeds up the overall process so you get a call back quickly.

How long is a good cover letter?

Traditionally a ‘good’ cover letter would be in-between a half page and a full page. However, we are realizing more and more that employers think ‘less is more’ when it comes to cover letters. They are still necessary, but not nearly as important as they used to be. Now, we can get away with cover letters that are just one paragraph long and employers won’t deem them unprofessional or lazy.


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